McLaren MP4-12C breaks cover

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

Not only has McLaren launched its own separate automotive division, it has also released a new supercar named the MP4-12C. The British race engineering firm developed the car entirely in-house and has incorporated its latest advances in automotive technology as seen from the Formula1 circuit.

McLaren's engineers used an extremely light and rigid carbon fiber tub but they didn't use the heavier multi-piece tubs used by its competitors and predecessors. Instead, they used a single piece, weighing only 176 pounds. Compared to rivals, the MP4-12C is lighter in weight but is more expensive than either the new Ferrari 458 Italia or the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4.

The MP4-12C is expected to have a £160,000 ($265k) price tag, due partly to its body panels, which are all carbon fiber and composites. McLaren claims that the MP4-12C offers the highest horsepower to CO2 ratio of any internal combustion engine on the market gasoline, diesel or even hybrid. It comes as a result of a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine producing around 600 horsepower and 433 lb-ft of torque.

The fact that the supercar is entirely developed in house debunks speculations that Mercedes would continue furnishing at least McLaren's engine blocks while producing its own SLS supercar and furnishing Pagani as well. The bespoke mill features a flat-plane crank, dry sump and can rev up to 8,500 rpm, though 80% of the torque is said to be available from as low as 2,000 rpm.

It's expected to accelerate with a 0-60 time in the low threes and a top speed that exceeds 200mph. While you might have expected carbon ceramic brakes to keep all that power and speed in check, McLaren says its conventional discs actually weigh less. It has the benefit of a Brake Steer system that brakes the inside rear wheel to combat understeer.

McLaren says that the real trick system is in the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, where Pre-Cog lets the driver load up the next gear by half-squeezing the paddle and then engaging with gunshot speed.

It's apparent that McLaren is anticipating that the economy will improve very soon as it's planning to build 1,000 units in 2011 -- a quarter of which will go each to the domestic UK market and to the United States. The C designation implies a roadster version is in the works to join the coupe.

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