Unparalleled supercar looks; intense performance with daily drivability; available convertible; extensive personalization potential
The McLaren MP4-12C, or 12C as it's simply called, is offered as a Coupe or Spider. Power in the MP4-12C comes from a special 3.8L twin-turbocharged V8 engine that was co-developed between McLaren and racing-technology legend Ricardo.
The special engine makes 616 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, and comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox that can that rocket the 12C to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 207 mph. McLaren claims that while the engine can rev all the way to 8,500 rpm, it makes 80 percent of its peak torque below 2,000 rpm.
This high-performance sports car has the engine mounted mid-ship, with rear-wheel drive and a carbon fiber 'monocell' chassis. The Proactive Chassis Control suspension system offers multiple modes that allow this model to be more settled on city streets but dynamically tighter for the track. Braking is provided by big 4-piston disc brakes, and ceramic brakes that include an upgrade to 6-piston front calipers are available.
With the 12C Spider, all the performance of the Coupe is included, but also a retractable hardtop setup that can go from coupe to open-top car in just 17 seconds. The Spider is only about 90 pounds heavier than the Coupe.
A special Intake Sound Generator (ISG) takes intake sounds and pipes them into the vehicle, allowing the driver to better enjoy the engine noise in Sport or Track modes without the car itself being any louder on the outside. An Active Dynamics Panel (ADP) wraps the sound, powertrain and suspension settings all together, allowing you to select between Normal, Sport, and Track modes, depending on the driving conditions and your mood.
Functionally, the 12C borrows a lot of advanced technology from F1 racing. For instance there's an active airbrake--a type of spoiler that adds downforce and aerodynamic resistance at high speeds, reducing braking distances by up to 20 meters. Single-hinge 'dihedral' doors, first seen on the McLaren F1, make it easier to get in, with less space spent toward hinges.
The 12C is about 178 inches long and 75 inches wide, which isn't significantly larger than a compact sedan. It's a 2-seater inside--snug, but spacious enough for the tallest adults, and with a touch-screen Meridian surround-sound audio system that has Bluetooth streaming and a USB port. Buyers can opt for a completely customized, 'bespoke' interior--with options for materials like Alcantara, several types of leather and carbon fiber--through McLaren Special Operations. Other options include parking sensors, a sport exhaust system, power heated seats and a navigation system but many more appearance and customization extras are available.
There are no major changes to the McLaren MP4-12C for 2014, although it's the last year for this model, which is effectively being replaced by the 650S in the lineup. Later in the model year, an Active Aero system (that will help with high-speed braking and stability) will be added as a standard feature, as will an improved touch-screen interface.
The McLaren MP4-12C is about as close as one can get to a Formula 1 racer in a production, road-going sports car--and what makes the 12C all the more attractive is that it's versatile and comfortable enough for daily driving.
McLaren boasts that the 12C's engine has among the highest ratio of power output to CO2 (emissions) output--making it extremely efficient and eco-friendly considering its performance.
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