The McLaren MP4-12C was the first in a new range of high performance sports
cars from McLaren Automotive. Designed and built like no other sports car, the
12C benefits from McLaren's Formula 1 world championship-winning heritage, and
has been developed by a world-class team of designers and engineers with
hands-on Grand Prix experience.
Formula 1 technology includes the one-piece carbon fiber MonoCell chassis - for greater strength and lower weight - plus Brake Steer and an 'active' aerodynamics McLaren Airbrake (although these last two technologies have now been banned from Formula 1 as they offered performance advantages). The MP4-12C Coupe uses technologies born on the track and offered for the first time on a road car. The technologies and processes used in the development of the 12C are also borrowed from Formula 1 racing, not from normal car making.
The result is a car totally focused around the driver, offering class-leading all-round performance and the best efficiency in its class as standard.
For the 2013 Model Year, enhancements have been made to the McLaren MP4-12C Coupe to improve performance and responsiveness. An increase in power takes maximum output up to 616 hp, while the seven-speed SSG transmission has been improved with a new calibration. These changes mean the 12C is even faster and more intuitive, but with no loss in efficiency. These latest upgrades are being offered to existing MP4-12C Coupe owners as a complimentary package.
The 12C, like the 12C Spider, is built at the new $60 million McLaren Production center (MPC) facility in Woking, Surrey, adjacent to the McLaren Technology center (MTC). The manufacturing facility was opened in November 2011 by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and McLaren Group Chairman Ron Dennis.
The 12C's closest rival is the Ferrari 458 Italia.
The design of the 12C was driven by aerodynamics and engineering innovation; the reason why McLaren Automotive believes it will remain contemporary and elegant throughout its lifetime as well as distinctive among its rivals.
Frank Stephenson, McLaren Automotive's Design Director, finalized the design: "I feel that the end result communicates the 12C's engineering integrity and technical benefits and it is this purity that makes the design timeless and the product premium."
The overall design theme supports engineering and aerodynamic ambitions. Purity of line then gives the car its character. All the fins, vents and the flat underbody are there for a reason. No styling addenda have been incorporated simply for appeal or style.
This aerodynamic purity explains why this car can hit top speed of 207 mph (333 km/h) with great stability without resorting to overt wings or deep front air dams.
A perfect example of the exterior design resulting from the combination of aerodynamics and engineering innovation is the front of the car, from the A-pillar forwards. It is very low and narrow, since it does not have to house large engine cooling radiators, two of which are mounted longitudinally at the sides behind the occupants. This offers the added benefit of segment-leading space for storage under the bonnet.
The 12C's rear is unique. Exhaust pipes exit high, in the center of the car and straight out from the engine - minimizing their length and therefore their weight. The rear features a bank of slats and vents to ensure efficient evacuation of hot air from the engine bay, and the engine itself is visible through a thin glass cover on the rear deck.