McLaren planning to tweak the MP4-12C to boost its emotional appeal

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 19, 2011

The new £168,500 supercar, the McLaren MP4-12C, will start delivery this week. It boasts of changes that are meant to boost its “emotional appeal.” When the car was launched before the press, McLaren received some criticism. Nearly all of the major automotive press groups like Autocar ranked the MP4-12C below the Ferrari 458 Italia after they made their tests.

Most of the comments were that the MP4-12C didn’t have the aural drama and sense of occasion to go with its pace and dynamic ability.

The most significant changes fitted on the new model include a better throttle response and an exhaust note that’s “fruitier.” According to a McLaren spokesman, these changes were already part of the plans but what the press response had done was to quicken the development pace. Of course, McLaren’s “Formula 1 mentality” was also a factor in this move. The spokesman explained that the carmaker wants the drivers to “enjoy the car a bit more.”

While the performance isn’t improved due to these changes, they offer an “emotional increase” during driving. These changes only become evident when the MP4-12C is placed in Track mode. Several modifications were made to the Intake Sound Generator, which manages the noise level that originates from the engine bay into the cabin.

From the engine’s plenum chamber is a tube with a butterfly valve that goes to the cabin. But now, this valve opens wider in Track mode. The spokesman explained that the model was “too sensible” and that with this new one, the changes will be obvious when the driver pushes the car and starts to have fun.

Everyday driving clearly attained a whole new level of comfort and functionality. McLaren’s MP4-12C delivers a new racecar engineering solution with its advanced Carbon MonoCell technology. Considered to be a strong yet lightweight structure, this carbon fibre chassis is also the first one in its segment.

This new concept has led to the introduction of new standards in sport car manufacturing. The most significant of which are improved economy, safety, practicality as well as better performance standards in terms of riding and handling.

McLaren’s Racing Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh stressed the importance of the 12C in road car and motorsport performance. He also pointed out how McLaren has delivered a wide range of racecar and road technologies over the years. In fact, the 12C project was highly motivated by the very same elements imagined in every high performing racecar of the future. Undoubtedly, the new 12C including all its potential variants will always be inspired by the Formula1 spirit.

Under the new company, the McLaren MP4-12C is the first mid-engine vehicle designed for high performance driving. The 2-seater sports car is believed to have a price range from £125000 to £175000. True to its core principle, the 12C does not come with any surplus parts from other vehicle. Likewise, only McLaren will manufacture all 12C units, which will all come from the UK. Beginning early 2011, the 12C will be out in the market and will be available at selected retailers worldwide.

McLaren’s Automotive Managing Director Anthony Sheriff rationalized the fact of how the company has grown to have a better understanding about racecars in general. After all, they have designed a handful of racecars for the Formula 1. In return, they wanted to build more cars that exemplify the company philosophy in terms of technology and performance.

As soon as they began the 12C Project, they already had something different in mind. This includes changing the rules in designing a sports car among many other things. As a result of this, the 12C surpassed the quality of other racecar brand in the market and also proved to be more affordable.

Sheriff pointed out the extraordinary quality of a McLaren and why it should not be compared to other sports car manufacturers. In fact, in order not to compromise McLaren’s quality standards, their team basically started everything from scratch.

Meanwhile, the Carbon MonoCell technology is derived from McLaren’s 1981 Formula 1 iconic MP4/1 model. The structure basically uses carbon composite materials in constructing the chassis. Since then, many Formula 1 teams followed the trend.

Back in 1993, McLaren launched the SLR series as the first carbon-fibre-equipped road vehicle. As a matter of fact, the same McLaren 1993 F1 model inspired the company to produce a great number of carbon-fibre chassis bearing the same standards.

Fast-forward to today, the same carbon chassis technology is one of the most expensive elements found in almost all exotic cars designed for the chosen elite. Whereas, the 12C is something else. This new technology introduces the benefits of carbon composite with longer lasting quality, high torsional rigidity and superior strength while also being lightweight and more affordable. Undeniably, there is something about the 12C’s advanced engineering philosophy that does not compromise McLaren’s standard of quality.

A notable characteristic on McLaren MP4 is the narrower chassis shape, which makes the vehicle more compact and easier to take anywhere. Likewise, the 12C carbon cell technology offers highly impressive specific power output and also equally amazing power -and -torque -to -weight ratios.

The cutting-edge Proactive Control system contributes to the overall exceptional handling and riding experience offered in every 12C vehicle. Compared to the other brands, the Carbon MonoCell on the 12C not only delivers an ample amount of advantage but also provides all the necessary engineering design techniques that truly make a car extraordinary.

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