Say hello to the new McLaren MP4-12C. It's Britain's brand new £150k supercar with a 600hp twin-turbocharged V8, a carbon chassis, and the pedigree and performance potential to wallop rivals like the Porsche 911 Turbo and the new Ferrari 458 Italia right where it hurts the most!
Full technical specs and this picture gallery of the new mid-engined two-seater have been released today by McLaren, which is surely intent on attracting interest away from the stunning Ferrari 458 that will be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show next week. Judging by the looks of the '12C' and our first glimpse of its radical spec sheet, we reckon anybody in the market for this kind of car is going to have to think twice before signing the deposit cheque for any of the established options.
As expected, the new British machine is a technological tour-de-force, with an underlying design philosophy worthy of the company that created the McLaren F1.
"The MP4-12C design follows similar principles to McLaren's Formula 1 cars, and the legendary McLaren F1, where everything is for a reason and all lines, surfaces, and details are designed with a job in mind as much as styled. This ensures that the 12C communicates its engineering through its styling and will remain timeless as a piece of automotive design," the company says.
Power for the new supercar comes from a bespoke 3.8-litre M838T engine, coupled to a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. The engine features a flat-plane crankshaft, and a dry sump so it can be placed low in the chassis. It whacks out a meaty 600hp at 8,500rpm, and there's also 443lb ft of torque to play with, 80 percent of which is delivered from 2,000rpm.
The dual-clutch gearbox has a trio of performance settings, as well as launch control, while gears are selected by an F1-car style rocker shifter that pivots in the centre of the wheel - pull right for upshifts, left for downshifts - with a 'first pressure' function that prepares the gearbox for the next shift, a bit like using the pre-focus on a digital camera.
The chassis too, is predictably advanced, with double wishbones and coil springs all round coupled to an active damping system that all but eliminates roll.
One of the biggest innovations on the new car is what McLaren terms its 'MonoCell' technology, which means the 12C is the first car in its price bracket to feature a carbon fibre monocoque tub. McLaren has developed new production technology to create a chassis tub moulded in a single unit and weighing only 80kgs. It can be produced in just four hours, which explains how it can be cost-effective in this sector when a traditional carbon chassis takes days to build.
Amazingly, everything from the engine to the tailor-made switches on the dash are exclusive to the car, with not a single component sourced from another manufacturer's parts bin, says McLaren.
We could go on, but there's just too much to say about this intriguing new British supercar contender. If you want to know more - and we know you do - click the link below to download the full 23 page pdf press release.