The McLaren MP4-12C, the new supercar with the forgettable name and the derivative styling, might still have some hope in the exotic performance arena. In a field dominated by Ferrari, Porsche and even Nissan, the McLaren may at least match them all with respectable performance numbers.
The numbers released are still rather vague, and seemingly come from developmental prototypes, with claims of 0-100 kph in under 3 seconds, 0–200 kph in under 10 seconds, 200–0 kph braking in under 5 seconds, 100–0 kph in under 3 seconds and 30 metres, a top speed of over 320 kph, a ¼-mile time of around 11 seconds and a dry weight of around 1300 kg.
The low weight comes courtesy of a one-piece moulded carbon-fibre chassis, similar to the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. The rest of the car is built with a combination of aluminium and low-density ‘sheet-moulding compound’ panels.
McLaren Automotive is aiming for the 12C to be at least 75 kilos lighter than its ‘nearest competitor’ and has released a list of lightweight solutions used in the sports car. Examples include a standard composite aluminium-iron brake system that is 5 kg lighter than the optional carbon-ceramic brake system, while other items include a low-weight lithium-ion battery, a magnesium structural beam for the dashboard, a small twin-turbo 600 hp 3.8-litre V8 engine, rear-mounted radiators minimise pipework, and ‘hexagonal aluminium wiring that saves 4 kg over circular wiring.’
Continued development and testing programmes in New Zealand, Arizona, Spain, and at venues including the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring will deliver further performance figures in the summer before the first customer car is built at the McLaren Technology Centre in late-2010. The McLaren Automotive Middle East head office will be in Bahrain to serve the GCC market, with dealers in the Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.