Date:1 June 2011
Having made the epochal 1993 F1 supercar, F1 race team McLaren is again producing an exotic to take on the Ferrari 458. The chassis employs an innovative carbon-fibre tub and aluminium subframes. Under the carbon-fibre skin is a McLaren 3,8-litre twin-turbo V8 that routes 442 kW and 600 N.m of torque through a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox. New tech includes hydraulically linked shocks, an “air brake” rear spoiler that flips vertical to slow the car, and a trail-braking system that feathers the rear inside brake to reduce cornering understeer. Engineers also obsessively counted kilograms, resulting in a roughly 1 500-kg weight, far less than the competition. All told, the MP4-12C is a heroic supercar, with fantastic steering feel and performance limits that made this writer giddy. Those clever driver aids never intrude, but simply combine for a sports car that’s as manageable as it is quick. McLaren figures the 12C will hit 330 km/h and sprint to 100 km/h in 3,2 seconds, yet it returns about 12 litres/100 km. – Andrew English
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