McLaren Automotive, the new high-performance sports car company based at McLaren’s Formula 1 headquarters in the UK, along with its partner for South Africa, the Daytona Group, revealed their new McLaren MP4-12C supercar to members of the press in Cape Town earlier this week.
Ian Gorsuch, McLaren Automotive’s Regional Director for Middle East and Africa, says: “South Africa, with its well informed, passionate car enthusiasts, is a key market for us. The extremely positive feedback we have received from potential customers is evidence of the country’s strong understanding of the McLaren brand and heritage. By joining forces with Daytona Group, whose reputation and experience in the South African market have proved highly attractive to us, we will ensure our customers receive the very best customer care.”
Justin Divaris, Managing Director Daytona Group SA, says, “We’re feeling very privileged as a group to represent McLaren in South Africa. We’ve been looking for a supercar brand for our stable for quite some time and we are picky about the brands we represent, what they stand for, what they deliver, the performance, technology, exclusivity, brand heritage… the right brand hasn’t come along until now, that fits so nicely into our stable and fits that supercar, sports car category.”
The MP4-12C has been designed around the driver to take on the world’s best premium performance cars. This is clearly evident from the rolling chassis that was on display at the launch event. The focus has been on lowering the car’s centre of gravity, as well as keeping all components between the front and rear axles for an ideal weight distribution – even the centre console has been kept narrow, with the purpose of bringing the driver and passenger closer together in the centre of the car.
Weighing in at under 1 300 kilograms, the 12C promises to be lighter than the competition thanks to its carbon fibre and aluminium construction. Key to its relative feather-weight nature is the McLaren-developed, carbon MonoCell ‘tub’, which houses the driver and passenger in the centre of the car and weighs just 80 kilograms.
Powered by a turbocharged 3.8-litre, 90 degree, 32-valve, V8 engine, McLaren say the car will achieve a 0 – 200 km/h sprint in less than 10 seconds and is capable of a top speed in excess of 320 km/h. With 435 kW at 7 000 r/min and 600 Nm of torque between 3 000 r/min and 6 500 r/min, the MP4-12C is not only more powerful than its competitors, but McLaren also claim it is more fuel efficient, with CO2 emissions of less than 300 g/km. With the launch model being a pre-production unit, it’s rev-limiter had been set to just 2 500 r/min. However, the V8′s guttural tones left little doubt of the car’s performance potential.
A 7-speed McLaren ‘Seemless Shift dual clutch Gearbox’ (SSG) links the V8 engine to the 20-inch rear wheels, which are fitted with 305/30 profile Pirelli P Zero rubber. In front, narrower 235/35 profile Pirelli rubber wraps 19-inch wheels that are slowed by 370 mm steel discs with 4-piston callipers, while ‘smaller’ 350 mm brake discs are employed at the rear. McLaren say their steel brake discs have been engineered to be lighter than the carbon ceramic equivalent, while still offering outstanding stopping power (100 km/h – 0 km/h in under 3 seconds).
Having been developed under the same roof as the McLaren Formula 1 cars, the 12C is the result of a synergy between McLaren’s road and racing car engineers. The involvement of Formula 1 experts on the development team means the 12C has been designed, developed, and engineered to the same standards and expectations as those of McLaren’s Formula 1 projects.
The South African launch event forms part of the MP4-12C’s 2010 world tour, which sees it presented to select audiences in every city in which the car will be sold, from South Africa to San Francisco. Along with the rolling chassis showcasing its carbon MonoCell construction, the introductory events allow an up-close and personal encounter with the new car before the first South African customers take delivery in the second half of 2011.
The first of two SA dealerships, McLaren Johannesburg forms part of the company’s Middle East and Africa network of an initial eight retailers. Up to 1 000 12C’s are planned for the car’s first full year, with UK production expected to reach around 4 000 vehicles annually by the middle of the decade. South Africa’s initial allocation of 20 cars is already sold out and although pricing has yet to be confirmed, the MP4-12C will compete in the ‘core’ sports car market, as defined by McLaren, of cars in the R3 million and R3.5 million range – subject to the exchange rate.