McLaren MP4-12c

Its name definitely doesn’t roll off your tongue as well as its predecessor the “F1”, and at first glance its looks doesn’t really spark any excitement at least in this car enthusiast, but I can’t wait to find out what this baby can do – apparently a 0 to 100km/h acceleration time of under 3.5 seconds is possible.

McLaren will build 1,000 units of the MP4-12C annually at a new factory at the same site the group builds its F1 cars. The factory is expected to have an initial peak capacity of 4,000 cars a year, four times more than the planned production for the new McLaren when it is launched in 2011 with a price tag of between US$200k to US$290k, higher than its Ferrari or Lamborghini rivals.

McLaren MP4-12c

What we know right now is that the MP4-12C’s chassis is constructed from a carbon fiber composite tub constructed in a single piece. They call this the Carbon MonoCell. Body panels are also carbon fiber. For McLaren, the MP4-12C is supposed to be value for money. Now how can this be at these prices?

Here’s why. When it comes to fast cars, there are a few ‘segments’. The McLaren F1 is priced in the ‘core’ segment which includes cars like the 458 Italia, the Gallardo, 911 Turbo, DB9, etc. There are higher segments where cars like the 612 Scaglietti sit, or the ‘ultimate’ group where you get cars like the McLaren SLR, McLaren F1, the Veyron, Paganis and Koenigseggs. McLaren says they are bringing technology from the ‘ultimate’ group into this new ‘core’ product.

McLaren MP4-12c

In the engine bay (mid-mounted) sits a new engine called the McLaren M838T which McLaren says it developed in-house – a 3.8 litre twin-turbocharged V8 mated to a 7-speed twin clutch system making 600 horsepower and 587Nm of torque (80% said to be available from 2,000rpm). The V8 uses a flat-plane crank so it’ll sound more shrieky Ferrari V8 and less burbly American V8. Its redline is pegged at 8,500 – forced induction and high revving in one engine!

Look after the jump for more pix of the new McLaren.

VIDEO: McLaren executives on the new MP4-12C

VIDEO: Jay Leno and the new McLaren MP4-12C

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