It's been a long time coming

The McLaren MP4-12C is the automaker's first model since the F1 was launched 17 years ago.

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What took so long?

In addition to building the SLR McLaren in partnership with Mercedes-Benz, McLaren has been active in various forms of motorsport.

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Purpose-built

McLaren claims that every component, curve, and gill of the 12C's design is there to make the car go faster.

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Mid-engine

Like a proper supercar, the 12C's engine is mounted amidship and proudly displayed through the rear glass.

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High power

The 3.8-liter, V-8 twin-turbo engine produces around 600 horsepower.

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Smooth shifts

Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through a dual-clutch automated manual that McLaren calls SSG (short for Smooth Shift Gearbox). The SSG uses a system called Pre-Cog to allow the driver to preselect the next gear in a manner similar to prefocusing an SLR camera.

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Active suspension

Not only are the 12C's dampers adjustable, so are the antiroll bars, which have been replaced with hydraulic units.

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Sports car profile

The 12C's intakes and radiators are all located at the rear of the vehicle, allowing for a low nose and a wedgelike profile.

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Wing doors

The doors swing up and forward to allow easy access to the cabin.

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More traditional seating

While the McLaren F1 had an unorthodox center-mounted driver's seat, the 12C reverts to a more traditional two-seater configuration.

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Driver-centric

The driver may not be at the cabin's center, but the cabin is centered around the driver. There appear to be two small LCDs flanking the large center tachometer. On the center stack is a very cool-looking tall-screen monitor.

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Sit in the center

OK, so 12C doesn't have a centrally mounted driver's seat, but it does push the two seats very close together, moving the weight as close to the center of the vehicle as possible.

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Brake steer

The 12C's Brake Steer system actively brakes the inside rear wheel to help spin the vehicle through a turn, preventing understeer. On turn exit, the system acts as a limited slip differential, braking the outside rear wheel to prevent slip and oversteer.

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Active Airbrake

The Active Airbrake lifts while braking to increase drag and supplement the disc brakes. The air brake can also be trimmed to increase downforce when not braking.

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Worldwide release

The McLaren MP4-12C is scheduled for worldwide release in 2011.

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