The McLaren MP4-12C came to the world as a promise made to the customers, as well as to the automaker itself. Its introduction marks the rebirth of McLaren Automotive, the company’s road car arm and aims to take the mainstream supercar segment to new technological heights.
The British model gifts the supercar world with a suite of tech solutions that were previously reserved for the hypercar class, with these destined to bring both a performance and an image boost. The MP4-12C’s list of class-firsts includes the carbon fiber chassis and the air brake, among others.
Nevertheless, McLaren didn’t stop here, as it used its Formula One pedigree to make the MP4-12C a completely unconventional proposal. The British model does away with sine qua non technical features such as a limited slip differential and stabilizer bars, replacing these with motorsport-bred solutions.
The main target of the Mac is the Ferrari 458
, which also makes full use of the Prancing Horse’s F1 expertise, but while the Italian vehicle only sharpens its driving systems via racing-borrowed assets, the McLaren completely redefines them.
Then again, it was in McLaren’s blood to use such an approach. Last time the British carmaker was to be found in a showroom, this had the Mercedes star on it, as the two companies had joined forces for developing the 2004 SLR - the Germans brought all the benefits of the collaboration’s “car” part, while the British only handled the “super” bits.
The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was the British company’s second road car, following the iconic 1993 McLaren F1. The F1 followed uncompromising rules set by Great Circus designer Gordon Murray. The result was a hypermachine that held a plethora of production car records for many years.
McLaren’s three-seater 240 mph (386 km/h) F1 is still more technically advanced than many new supercars, but all these gifts pushed the price through the sky, turning the F1 into more of a trophy than an actual car.
This is the reason for which McLaren now wants to play a similar game, but on a much larger scale. All the aforementioned class-first developments present on the MP4-12C normally push the car into a superior financial league, but the British carmaker has found a way of making it work in junior supercar world.
Nevertheless, we’re not talking about track-only vehicles here, so the fact the McLaren MP4-12C beats the Ferrari 458 Italia, its main target, in most acceleration tests may not be worth all that much in the real world - by definition, a supercar has to bond the collection of impressive numbers it offers with special adhesives called “thrills”.
We grabbed the carbon fiber key
to an MP4-12C in order to find out if it could match its physics score when it came to literature and we have confess that we had great expectations.Continue reading