It would be a disservice to the Mara to say it's just a Herc II with the speed and maneuverability of the Perseus. But that's the Mara in a nutshell.
Easily one of the best fighters, if not the best. A simple joy to fly. Only weak point is the 4 gun mounts, but even then the other stats are so ridiculous you can wreak havoc.
The one disadvantage of the Mara is the fairly large target profile it presents to the enemy, but its combination of maneouverability, firepower and durability easily makes up for this.
In the briefing for Into the Lion's Den, Snipes claims that the Terran Mara is superior to the original Mara. He is right; a comparison of its statistics in the tables versus the original Mara shows that the Terran Mara is clearly superior with regards to hull and shield integrity as well as maximum afterburner velocity.
As odd as it sounds, Into the Lion's Den is actually somewhat unkind to the Terran Mara, as you spend most of your time scrambling between widely spaced targets and don't really get the chance to stop and dogfight it much. Still, as can be seen from the above commentary, even a tiny taste of the SF Mara (Terrans) capabilities is enough to make most people fall in love.
The Mara is a dream come true for any GTVA pilot. Not only is it very agile, it has a large afterburner capacity and cavernous missile banks. This, coupled with a massive reactor core that generates and recharges enough power to fire Kaysers like Subachs, makes the Mara superior to any other GTVA fighter in almost every, if not every, respect. To get an idea of how big the Mara's banks are, here are some statistics: It can hold 42 Harpoons in each of its two missile banks. That equates to 84 Tornados, or 13 Trebuchets, per bank. Not even the GVF Tauret can compare to that. As a base point of comparison, the Tauret has a missile capacity of 200. The Terran Mara has 210. The heavy bombers have 240. But, the Mara is fastest of all high-missile capacity craft, and able to swiftly deal a lot of damage with 4 UD-8 Kaysers.
The Mara's biggest weakness is that it is only compatible with the following the Subach HL-7 and the Kayser. Nevertheless, this being the most serious weakness for this fighter, it doesn't really do much to it, since the Kayser is widely considered to be the best weapon in the game. Plus, even if you can't carry the Maxim to disarm capships from afar, the heavy shielding and hull of the Terran Mara can allow you to get up close to turrets in order to knock them out and not take a lot of damage to yourself while doing it (though using Trebuchets is a better idea, since there isn't as much risk involved). Needless to say, this is the ship that trades in Primary weapon compatibility for high energy capacity/recharge rate, even a higher secondary payload, higher shielding and hull than the original Mara, while retaining its well-known maneuverability. Even though in the Main Campaign you fly it only once, it's a treat.