Official McLaren MP4-12C Specifications Exposed

A worthy successor to the legendary F1.

After a great deal of anticipation, McLaren Automotive has officially released the specifications for their newest model – the MP4-12C. With the new specifications, the new McLaren MP4-12C looks to shakeup the supercar world, taking down the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, and even Bugatti.

Now, you may be wondering how a car that costs a quarter of a Bugatti could possibly dethrone the reigning king of supercars. The new McLaren may not have the 253 mph top speed or the 1,001 horses as the Veyron but, it does have a number of technological innovations that give it the agility to greatly outmaneuver the Bugatti. A major focus throughout the development and design of the MP4-12C was keeping the overall weight to a minimum. To achieve this McLaren started out with a one-piece molded carbon chassis called the MonoCell. Weighing in at only 165 lbs., the MonoCell is a lightweight, spacious, and inexpensive chassis that provided the basis for supercar performance. The suspension was also innovative, with the design being based on a double-wishbone with coil-spring design. However, it does not employ anti-roll bars or a differential, instead using the state-of-the-art ProActive Chassis Control. The system uses adaptive damping to alter the suspension stiffness, allowing drivers to achieve precise handling on the track or a smooth executive sedan-like ride.

The McLaren MP4-12C also comes equipped with new features that make it a star on the racetrack. The new McLaren Airbrake used on the MP4-12C is a variation of the same technology that McLaren used in 1997 for their MP4-12 racecar. The technology was banned in Formula 1 racing because of the immense performance advantage it provided. The same rules thankfully don’t apply to production vehicles. The Airbrake uses the rear spoiler to create additional downforce and drag under braking at high speeds to reduce stopping distance. At speeds above 59 mph, the Airbrake is positioned at a 32-degree angle. Under braking, the Airbrake angle is increased, thus creating a sensation as if the car was being pulled from behind. McLaren also uses new Brake Steer technology to improve handling. The system is similar to that of a torque-vectoring differential, but is 44 lbs. lighter. The system applies braking force to the inside rear wheel, lending to more neutral handling and reduced understeer.

The wheels and brakes were also designed for performance using lightweight technology. The wheel size was selected for optimal handling, measuring 8.5J x 19 up front and 11J x 20 at the rear. A 19-inch diameter was selected for the front wheels to allow for greater sidewall height, ensuring improved impact isolation and aerodynamics. The standard tires on the MP4-12C are 235/35 R19 front and 305/30 R20 rear Pirelli PZeros. For customers looking to achieve maximum performance, McLaren also offers PZero Corsa “Sport” tires that provide greater grip in dry conditions. A lightweight forged aluminum bell and cast iron brake system is standard, weighing 17.6 lbs. less than a conventional cast iron setup. The lightweight system works with the Airbrake to decelerate from 62 mph to a standstill in only 100 feet, and from 124 mph in just 403 feet. Optional Ceramic Composite Matrix brakes provide even greater braking performance and further shed weight.

The most exciting aspect of the McLaren MP4-12C is the drivetrain. While it is not as powerful as other supercars, it provides blistering acceleration and lightning-fast shift times. Mounted behind the cockpit, the 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 designed by McLaren weighs in at only 439 lbs. and sits low inside the chassis thanks to a dry-sump lubrication system and flat-plane crankshaft. The lightweight V-8, code-named the M838T, produces 592 brake horsepower at 7,000 RPM and 443 lb-ft. of torque from 3,000 to 7,000 RPM, and redlines at 8,500 RPM. The M838T is mated to a SSG dual-clutch seven-speed transmission, operated via steering wheel paddles. The SSG transmission features a “Pre-Cog” function where drivers can pre-load the clutch and shift gears almost instantaneously. When the driver presses and holds the left paddle, the transmission will match the engine speed to the lowest gear to provide optimal acceleration when exiting corners. Together, the engine and transmission work to achieve an impressive 24.2 mpg (UK) and 279g/km of CO2 emissions.

Performance figures for the McLaren MP4-12C are groundbreaking. Due to the lightweight construction, the supercar achieves a high 455 bhp/ton power-to-weight ratio. Acceleration is superb, 62 mph is reached from a rest in only 3.3 seconds, and 124 mph in just 9.1 seconds. Both figures drop to 3.1- and 8.9-seconds respectively with the Pirelli PZero Corsa tire upgrade. The MP4-12C also blasts through the quarter-mile in 10.9 seconds at 134 mph. Top speed is just over the 200-mark at 205 mph.

Pricing for the 2012 McLaren MP4-12C will begin at $229,000 in the United States market and officially go on sale in the late summer of 2011. For the British market, the MP4-12C will retail for £168,500.


Displacement: 3.8 liters
Number of Cylinders: V-8
Aspiration: Twin-turbocharged
Engine Material: Aluminum block and cylinder heads
Oiling: Dry sump
Compression Ratio: 8.7:1
Valvetrain: 32-valve, DOHC, dual VVT
Redline (RPM): 8,500 RPM
Bore x Stroke (mm): 93 x 69.9
Maximum Horsepower: 592 bhp at 7,000 RPM
Maximum Torque: 443 lb-ft. from 3,000 to 7,000 RPM

Type: SSG dual-clutch seven-speed
Drive: Rear-wheel

Acceleration 0-62 mph: 3.3 seconds (3.1s w/Corsa tires)
Acceleration 0-124 mph: 9.1 seconds (8.9s w/Corsa tires)
Quarter Mile Acceleration: 10.9 seconds at 134 mph
Top Speed: 205 mph
Power to Weight Ratio (with lightweight options): 455 bhp/ton
Braking 62-0 mph: 100 feet
Braking 124-0 mph: 403 feet

CO2 Emissions: 279 g/km
Fuel Consumption (combined): 24.2 mpg (UK)

Body and Chassis:
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Track (F/R): 1656 mm / 1583 mm
Length: 4507 mm
Width: 1909 mm
Height: 1199 mm
DIN Weight: 3161 lbs.
Dry Weight: 2945 lbs.
Dry Weight with Lightweight Options: 2868 lbs.
Weight Distribution at DIN (F/R): 42.5/57.5
Active Aerodynamics: McLaren Airbrake
Suspension: ProActive Chassis Control
ProActive Chassis Control Modes: Winter / Normal / Sport / Track
Powertrain Modes: Winter / Normal / Sport / Track
Brakes: Cast iron discs with forged aluminum hubs
Wheel Sizes (F/R): 19” x 8.5”J / 20” x 11” J
Tires (F/R): Pirelli PZero 235/35 R19 / 305/30 R20



[Source: McLaren Automotive]

Do you think the MP4-12C will be crowned “King of the Supercars”? Is it a worthy successor to the McLaren F1? Leave a comment and let us know!


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