McLaren: New Company, New Car

McLaren MP4-12C

Where do they get all the money? I don’t know, but they do have the talent. McLaren has an enviable record in F1 racing, and they have developed truly great cars in the past. But their newest, announced today, aims to be better than the German and Italian competition, including the Ferrari 458 Italia.

The MP4-12C claims to have advanced the state of the art in performance sports cars by using unique and innovative technology: The car is built around a carbon-fiber tub, its bespoke engine produces immense torque at low weight, a seven-speed clutch gives instant shifts, hydraulic roll management precludes the use of roll bars, an electronic Brake Steer feature controls yaw rate and understeer—in both braking and acceleration—etc., etc. Read the details in detail at Autoblog, and ogle some good pix.

McLaren MP4-12C, sideNot to mention the fact that it’s gorgeous and reportedly will do 0-62 mph in less than 3 seconds and the quarter-mile in 11.0. The car weighs 2,866 pounds dry. One thousand of them are to be built in 2011 and sold in 35 select dealerships in 19 countries. Strong customer support will be stressed.

McLaren’s two world-champion drivers tested the car at Goodwood. Impressive footage, though it’s not easy to understand some of their Brit-speak.

The new company, McLaren Automotive, has apparently done its homework, production design, testing, and is in the process of building a new factory, a $61 million investment. Car and Driver says, “An as-yet-unannounced new partner is to purchase 48 percent of McLaren, and with that influx of cash, the company will be able to move forward with its planned new models.” The 12C is going to cost in the neighborhood of $200,000 per copy, and 1,600 potential buyers have already expressed interest.

McLaren Automotive’s new chief, Ron Dennis, who gives up his long-term duties as F1 “team principal,” is the person largely responsible for McLaren’s success since 1981. The new venture is clearly more ambitious than anything he or the company has yet undertaken.

Can you imagine starting a company to build cars to take on Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche? At an economic time like this?


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  1. For the performance, $200K actually seems reasonable. Too bad it’s so dang ugly from the front and side views though.

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