EPA says that the McLaren MP4-12C avoids the gas-guzzler tax

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 11, 2011

Supercars are not typically known for being environmentally friendly, which is why the 592hp 2012 McLaren MP4-12C is all the more impressive. The EPA said that the car was able to avoid the punitive federal gas-guzzler tax. However, the launch of the MP4-12C was put off until early January in the U.S. just so it could resolve some minor issues with quality.

According to the EPA, the 2012 McLaren MP4-12C offers a fuel economy rating of 15 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway. This means that it is exempted from the gas-guzzler tax. In comparison, the 2012 Aston Martin Rapide returns 13 mpg in city driving and 19 mpg on the highway.

Another rival, the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador, returns 11 mpg in city driving and 17 mpg on the highway. The EPA clarified that with these figures, these two cars would have to pay the federal gas-guzzler tax. Tony Joseph, director of McLaren's North American Operation, told Inside Line that this is a “big achievement" and that gas prices are not a buying consideration but it does allow the company to claim that it’s an innovative firm.

The MP4-12C is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8. Joseph confirmed that the MP4-12C was delayed by several months and will start selling in the U.S. in January. The initial plan was for the car to go on sale in late summer. He stated that the issues on the car are “mostly electrical.”

When the car was launched in the UK and in Europe, the first batch of cars had problems with quality. The car is sold out until next year. About 500 of these units were bought by American fans. Joseph said that most of its customers are male sports-car enthusiasts. Jay Leno would be among the first in the U.S. to receive a MP4-12C.

Essentially, the core of the new 12C is the Carbon MonoCell which has roots that could be traced to the 1981 Formula 1 MP4/1 model. This model marked McLaren’s pioneering use of carbon composite construction, a trend that soon had all teams in Formula One followed.

More than a decade later, McLaren showed that this technology could be used in road cars by launching the 1993 McLaren F1. The carmaker furthered this experience by providing the SLR with a carbon fiber chassis and body, employing the same exacting standards, although in higher volumes.

The 12C is set to break the perception that a car made from carbon composite – although it is lightweight, rigid and durable -- is only accessible by the super rich. After all, designing and building a car made from carbon composite is not only very complex, but also takes a lot of money. However, the McLaren breaks the barrier by employing revolutionary engineering, creating the 12 as a one-piece carbon composite molding.

Aside from its dynamic attributes, the monocell of the 12C also provides essential engineering opportunities that have come to shape its distinct character. McLaren designed the monocell to be able to accommodate a narrower structure for a more compact car that is more rewarding to drive and is easier to position on the road. Aside from offering carbon technology, the 12C also boasts of class-leading specific power output and remarkable extraordinary power- and torque-to-weight ratios.

It also comes with the Proactive Chassis Control system that allows for terrific handling and ride comfort. McLaren also made sure that the 12C is able to provide whole new levels of comfort and everyday usability, thanks to added focus on occupant packaging.

Antony Sheriff remarked that the McLaren 12C redefines the relationship of performance with practicality and with efficiency. He added that McLaren designed the 12 from the inside out, building 'everything for a reason'.

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