McLaren takes the road car to new heights

McLaren has launched its MP4-12C sports car and says that it is aiming to "re-write the rules of sports car design through Formula 1-inspired engineering, revolutionary chassis architecture, and absolute focus on efficiency". The car will be built by McLaren Automotive, the independent car division based at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking. The 12C, and future models within the range, aim to challenge the world’s best sports cars. McLaren’s automotive division has already built the world’s most critically acclaimed supercar, the McLaren F1 (which was produced between 1993-1998) and the world’s best-selling luxury supercar, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (between 2003-2009).

Dennis says that his dream has long been to launch a high performance sports cars that set new standards in the industry.

"We began designing and building cars for aficionados of thoroughbred sports cars almost 20 years ago," he says. "Incorporating the leading edge technologies that the McLaren Group has built up within its various companies, I believe we are now perfectly placed to open up this new chapter in McLaren’s history as well as play a part in the regeneration of high-tech manufacturing in the UK and global automotive environment."

The key element in the MP4-12C is a revolutionary carbonfibre chassis, which McLaren has dubbed "the Carbon MonoCell". It is the first time that a car in such a large market segment has been built around a composite structure and the first time that this has been a one-piece solution. The first of the new range of cars will be a two-seater mid-engine model costing between $205,000 and $285,000. The car will go on sale though McLaren's own new dealer network in 2011.

"When we embarked on the 12C project, we wanted to re-write the rules of sports car design," says Antony Sheriff, McLaren Automotive managing director. "The 12C offers performance and technology that exceeds that of the world’s most expensive and sophisticated supercars, while competing in a much more accessible market segment. And to achieve this result, we designed every component from scratch to meet the extreme goals of the 12C and avoid any compromise. Forget what you know about sports car companies, McLaren is different.

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