2012 McLAREN MP4-12C
(ABOVE) Unlike the McLaren
F1 road car that used a BMW
engine, the MP4-12C’s unit
is McLaren’s own design.
(ABOVE) This is the first production
road car equipped with a racecar-inspired carbon composite passenger
protection cell, the MonoCell.
(Figures supplied by Autocar magazine)
Top speed 205mph
Fuel economy 18mpg (combined city/highway)
Base price $229,000 (MSRP)
Total suggested retail price $267,780*
*includes optional equipment on car used for RACER test
doesn’t hesitate to declare that this is a
car that truly mirrors its racing heritage.
“It’s reflected in the handling,” he says.
“I find it shocking from the moment you
get in. And the power is overwhelming.
It just keeps coming and coming, which
makes the handling even more
impressive, because it can deal with
that much power with no problem.”
The engine is a 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V8
of McLaren’s design, sitting behind the
driver and producing 592hp. (The 2013
model sees this figure boosted to 616hp
– and 2011/’ 12 car owners can get theirs
upgraded for free.) The handling is courtesy
of ProActive Chassis Control, which uses
hydraulically interconnected dampers to
provide greater roll stiffness without
sacrificing comfort. Based on a double-
wishbone suspension with coil springs, it
replaces traditional anti-roll bars, instead
allowing the hydraulics to do the work.
It’s a clever system, with the compression
chamber of one front or rear shock
connected with the rebound chamber of
molded chassis that weighs only 165lbs
and makes the MP4-12C remarkably stiff
for a road car. Carbon fiber chassis
construction has come a long way since
McLaren pioneered it in F1 in 1981 and
even since the McLaren F1 road car. The
carbon chassis in that car took 3,000
hours to construct; now it takes around
four hours to produce a MonoCell.
“It’s the embodiment of everything
that [McLaren boss ] Ron Dennis
strives for…Everything’s perfect!”
the shock on the opposite side. As a result,
the MP4-12C appears to not roll in the
corners. The system is of course
adjustable, with three modes available to
the driver – Normal, Sport and Track.
The engine and suspension are
connected to a chassis that McLaren refers
to as a Carbon MonoCell, a one-piece