McLaren MP4-12C: Britain Vs. ItalyMcLaren is all about world leading tech and besting its competitors on the race track, but it's been a while since it made its very own road car. Does the 12C have what it takes to beat Italy's offerings to submission?
This is an assault on the supercar aristocracy. It's a carbon-fiber V8 snow in the direction of Italy. This clinical feat of engineering is hopefully were not the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini of people's must own lists. This is the McLaren 12C born MP4-12C and its job is to take over the world. -This is the second true McLaren road car. Its first the F1 was inspired by conversation in Milan Airport in the late 80s following the Italian Grand Prix when a bunch of the company's top brands were discussing the future of the company. As BMV developed V12 helped push it into the record books in the early 90s, but it wasn't a supercar. It was a hypercar. And in 1994, it was said you bank 630,000 pounds. As they developed something quite ambitious today, it would cost, well, a lot more than that. -I say it's the second McLaren road car, but it does have a stepbrother, the Mercedes McLaren SLR. Sold from 2003 to 2010, the SLR sounded like nothing else. It could top 200 miles an hour and it cost a little bit over 300,000 pounds. It was produced by McLaren Technology Centre in Woking and Roma has it. McLaren wasn't happy with it. -The story goes the Mercedes wanted a GT, something you could always use pretty much everyday, but McLaren-- What McLaren wanted more of a sports car, something agile, light, far. Something that could take on the big boys and win. Of course, Mercedes got his way and the SLR was something of a success. But it left McLaren wanting more. So, McLaren automotive was setup and go to work. -In 2008, a chap called Frank Stephenson was brought on board to pin a new car for the brand. His previous designs may be familiar to you. 2001 new mini, the Ferrari F430, the Maserati Mc12, BMW X5, Maserati's Quattroporte, the double spoiler on the Ford Escort RS Cosworth, Fiat Punto. -Needless to say, he was the right man for the job. In 2009 details of the McLaren MP4-12c were unleashed on the world. It's 591 brake horsepower 3.8L twin turbo V8 and its carbon fiber construction with particular interest. But after then, await. We had to wait until 2011 until the final product lift into showrooms. It was light, but some customers had a few concerns namely noise and some door opening issues. -McLaren heard what the sponsors wanted and acted upon it, so with the sound issues, they added an intake sound generator or ISG. So, if you wanna relax to a comfortable car set it to 0 and you'll be fine, or if you want all the noise and drama in the world, whack it up to full and have all the fun you want. At the same time, they added a little bit more power. The output then set at 616 brake horsepower. Overall, though, the emission is the same as the lower powered older model. Now, added 2 miles an hour to the top speed taking the magic number up to 207 miles an hour. Now, rather than just making all this upgrade standard on cars from then on, what they did was offered all the upgrades to existing customers free of charge and that is smooth. Boosting big pare from a big engine is one thing, but there's more to it than that. -Do you hear about F1 take trickling down into road Cosworth, the 12c has some of that. It's got quite a cool invention called brake steer originally used by McLaren in F1. What it does is to prevent under stay when you're turning in, it breaks the inside rear wheel a little bit to keep you straighten through on the line you want to go in. It's also noted that shortly after it was introduced to F1, it was banned for being a bit too good. Carbon fiber is another F1 technology that's made this way. It's something McLaren pioneered too. The carbon fiber cell that houses you weighs just 80 kilos, yet it's as strong as anything and using experience gained from the F1 and the SLR, it takes just 4 hours to make rather than 3000 it took for the F1. -Well, a nice and safe here in my carbon fiber cell and also quite far into the middle of the car and that's for 2 very good reasons. One, I get a bit of view of the road, which is good. And two, it keeps the weight distribution of the car nice and centralized for better handling. -McLaren is especially proud though of its ride quality. It's like riding in salon nestled down to a hydraulic anti-robot system and upper and low which pose essentially, this thing is the S class of supercars, yet it has the power to humble pretty much anything. And that's an interesting come back. -McLaren's gearbox is quite small. -It's called the seamless-shift gearbox or SSG for short. It's a dual-clutch GB and it's got a rather handsome feature called pre-cog. What that means is that when you half pull the pedal, the next clutch is primed and ready to go. So, when you fully pull it, it engages and shifts very responsibly indeed. -In McLaren honestly is it's just-- it's kind of overwhelming to drive. You realize this is so much is gonna-- so much engineering, so much pressures, so much hard work to make a scalpel of sharp machine. Its stopping power is-- well, it's breathtaking if I'm honest. I know people are saying, "Oh, well, the MP4-12c it lacks a little bit of soul. I think the only reason that it lacks soul is because it doesn't have the heritage of each rivals. You haven't been lusting off to McLaren since you were about [unk]. It's one of those things you've a privilege to get it going and, of course, a privilege to hear. Boys! -The 12c is one hell of an achievement. It's the first McLaren road car that mere immortals can just [unk] approach. A feat of engineering, they're very few will ever be able to explore to its fullest, but it's also more than that. This is McLaren's fresh start. This is the car that's gonna get into kids who also want to drive when they grow up list and onto their bedroom walls. McLaren's engineering prowess means we know that the car is gonna be topnotch and while it doesn't have the heritage of say, some Italian rivals, what it does have is pretty epic. If this is the start, go wait to see what happens next.