McLaren MP4-12C14 | 02 | 2011Scotcars rating

    McLaren transfers its F1 knowledge to a roadcar and proves it will worry Ferrari and Lambo

    McLAREN HAS revealed the performance details of its MP4-12C supercar, one of the most eagerly-awaited cars of the year and which has recently gone into production. Costing £168,500 — which pitches it head-on against the new Ferrari 458 at £169,545 — the McLaren is quick ... and then some!

    The mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine produces a maximum of 592bhp at 7000rpm (1500rpm below its maximum speed), which is enough to give it a top speed of 205mph, a 0-62mph time of 3.3 seconds and a 0-124mph time of 9.1 seconds. Believe it or not, fit the optional Corsa tyres and those times are reduced by a further 0.2secs!!

    For those in the fortunate position to be able to afford an MP4-12C, the average fuel consumption of 24.2mpg really won't be a concern

    The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (made by Graziano), featuring a 'Pre-Cog' selection mechanism; this combination shifts gear faster and more smoothly than in rival systems.

    Speed and outrageous performance

    The 12C is, without question, Britain's most exciting new supercar and though we didn't drive the car it was put through its paces by McLaren personnel at the Formula One test facility at Portimao in the Algarve.

    Apart from the speed and outrageous performance — it will cover a quarter of a mile from a standing start in 10.9s, reaching a speed of 134mph in the process, and brake to a standstill from 124mph in 403 feet, and from 62mph in 100 feet — one of the things which sets it apart from the competition is the fact it has a full carbonfibre tub.

    While that alone makes it different, the 12C's suspension is also groundbreaking, featuring double wishbones and coil springs but essentially no traditional anti-roll bars. Instead the designers opted for hydraulics and active dampers to provide its control. McLaren believe — and who are we to question them — that this gives the car up to 25% more grip than conventionally suspended rivals.

    McLaren has achieved a near miracle

    Weight, as with most things in life, is crucial and here McLaren has achieved something of a miracle. When dry — and fitted with the lighter of the two alloy wheel designs — the 12C tips the scales at just 1301kg. Fill the tank and all the fluids, and it settles at just a smidge over 1400kg; that's at least 50kg lighter than the 458.

    Huge steel ventilated discs front and rear provide all the normal braking required by the driver, but they're backed by an Air Brake system which deploys only when the car’s sensors detect you really need, urgently, to stop in a hurry. Of course, ceramic brakes can be ordered as an option.

    For those in the fortunate position to be able to afford an MP4-12C, the average fuel consumption of 24.2mpg really won't be a concern; nor will the fact it pumps out 279gCO2/km.

    The McLaren MP4-12C has been a long time coming, but the wait has been well worthwhile. By the middle of the decade the McLaren Production Centre aims to have the capacity to build 4000 12Cs a year.

    We're pretty sure the guys at Ferrari and Lamborghini will now be sleeping a little less comfortable in their beds.

    Watch the McLaren MP4-12C in action at Goodwood.

    Keep up-to-dare with all the latest news by following us on

    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £168,500
    Engine / Power: 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 petrol / 592bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 3.3secs,  Max 205mph
    How big/heavy?: H1199mm W1909mm L4507mm /1400kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 24.2mpg / CO2 279g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: N/a
    Alternatives: Ferrari 458, Lamborghini Gallardo

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