Car Culture

New supercar heralds McLaren Automotive

McLaren announces a new automotive company to produce its new supercar, the MP4-12C.

McLaren launches a new car company to produce the MP4-12C supercar.

Launching a new car company is a costly endeavor, and launching one that builds $200,000 cars in the wake of a recession seems like madness, but the McLaren Group did just that, announcing McLaren Automotive today.

The new company comes with a factory in the U.K. and the MP4-12C supercar, which goes into production in spring of next year. The car, of which McLaren says it will deliver 1,000 units in 2011, boasts performance figues that include zero to 124 mph in under 10 seconds and a maximum speed of over 200 mph.

Powered by a twin turbo 3.8-liter V-8 making 600 horsepower, the key to the MP4-12C's performance is low mass. It uses a carbon fiber chassis, called a MonoCell by McLaren, providing all necessary rigidity and support. Aluminum body panels merely supply aerodynamics.

McLaren boasts CO2 output of only 300 grams per kilometer, which doesn't sound impressive when other automakers are striving to hit less than 100 grams per kilometer. But McLaren says the MP4-12C produces fewer grams of CO2 per horsepower than any other car on the road, even the Toyota Prius.

McLaren is primarily known for its F1 team and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a product of the company's 14-year partnership with Mercedes-Benz. But with Mercedes-Benz's in-house tuner AMG building the new supercar, the SLS, McLaren is striking out on its own, relying on its new manufacturing center for all components of the MP4-12C.