McLaren announces new supercar, the MP4-12C, that will make 600 horsepower

(Septembr 9, 2009) After years of speculation, McLaren Automotive has unveiled its latest supercar, the MP4-12C.

McLaren says the new model follows a tradition that has made McLaren one of the world's premier builder of supercars. The MP4-12C follows arguably the world’s most critically acclaimed supercar, the McLaren F1 (1993-1998), and the world’s best-selling luxury supercar, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (2003-2009).

McLaren officials say the MP4-12C will be the first of a new lineup of revolutionary sports cars.

“It is a long-held dream of mine to launch a range of high performance sports cars that set new standards in the industry,” said Ron Dennis, McLaren Automotive chairman.

“We began designing and building cars for aficionados of thoroughbred sports cars almost 20 years ago. Incorporating the leading edge technologies that the McLaren Group has built up within its various companies, I believe we are now perfectly placed to open up this new chapter in McLaren’s history as well as play a part in the regeneration of high-tech manufacturing in the UK and global automotive environment,” he said.

The company says the new car follows the McLaren philosophy of keeping things simple, with everything on the car having a specific purpose. At its heart, the new car features a one-piece molded carbon fiber chassis structure, which McLaren calls the Carbon MonoCell. The 12C is powered by an in-house built 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 developed specifically for this car. The engine produces around 600 horsepower (final figures have not been released), driving through a McLaren seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. All of the 12C's parts are made for this car, from the engine to the tailor-made switches and buttons — nothing has come from another manufacturer's parts bin.

Weight savings was a big priority. The goal was to have the car, which is slightly shorter, narrower and lower than a Ferrari F430, come in at less than 3,000 pounds. The MonoCell not only reduces weight but also allows for the use of much lighter weight body panels. McLaren also saved weight by closely positioning the driver and passenger for a narrower body; brakes with forged aluminum hubs saved weight and are lighter than optional carbon ceramic brakes; lightweight exhaust pipes exit straight out the rear of the car, minimizing length and weight; even the radiators were mounted in the rear of the car as close to the engine as possible, to minimize the cooling pipes, the fluids contained in them, and therefore weight.

The two-seat mid-engine car should cost around $230,000, in line with the Lamborghini Gallardo and Ferrari F430. McLaren will build the car at its Woking, United Kingdom, facility.

The car will go on sale in early 2011 with annual worldwide sales expected at about 1,000 the first year and moving to 4,000 in succeeding years.
There are about 20 dealers in the United States.