MP4-12C is the first high performance sports car from McLaren Automotiv. The 12C, and future models within the range, will challenge the world's best sports cars.Edward Green ▼ Monday March 22, 2010 6:01PM ET
McLaren on the road near you
Twenty years of sports car design combined with inspirational success in Formula 1 have driven Ron Dennis, McLaren Automotive Chairman, to announce his plans for the ultimate technology-led and customer-focused performance car for the 21st century.
McLaren's automotive division has already built the world's most critically acclaimed supercar, the McLaren F1 and the luxury supercar, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. The MP4-12C is pure McLaren, featuring no carryover parts from any other car, and will be produced by McLaren in the UK. It goes on sale in early 2011.
The name of the new McLaren sports car is MP4-12C. What does this signify? "MP4" has been the chassis designation for all McLaren Formula 1 cars since 1981. The "12" refers to McLaren's internal Vehicle Performance Index through which it rates key performance criteria. The "C' refers to Carbon, highlighting the application of carbon fibre technology to the future range of McLaren sports cars.
Light weight and performance are defining philosophies at McLaren. Fundamentally, it is critical to keep weight as low as possible. Increased customer demands for safety and advanced features all mean that shaving weight is difficult. At the heart of the McLaren MP4-12C is a carbon fibre composite chassis called the Carbon MonoCell.
Through its one-piece moulding manufacturing technique, this structure presents a unique structure that allows greater freedom for innovative packaging and interior design. The whole focus is on making the 12C cockpit spacious and functional.
The innovative information centre provides all normal telematics functions such as audio, navigation and telephony, while providing some new features never before seen in a car. Meridian, the renowned producer of state-of-the-art sound systems, is developing its first ever in car system for the 12C.
The MP4-12C design follows similar principles to the legendary McLaren F1. Packaging was fundamental: Externally, the car had to be compact, yet internally it had to offer a driver and passenger environment where comfort and driving enjoyment were not compromised.
The low windscreen allows a clear view of the front of the car. The view of the top of the front wings also facilitates perfect placement of the 12C in a corner as the highest point of the wing lies directly above the centre of the wheel. Rear vision is excellent too making the 12C the most useable and enjoyable high performance sports car in its segment. ■