Set smack in the middle of Beverly Hills on Wilshire Boulevard is McLaren Automotive’s newest -- and what will likely become its largest -- North American dealership, the Auto Gallery. The 15,000-sq-ft location joins nine other national dealers who, according to McLaren executives, were largely handpicked for not only their ideal markets and large existing customer bases, but for their commitment and excitement to growing the U.K.-based brand.
Admittedly, “those who know cars, know McLaren,” said Auto Gallery co-owner Tony Schwartz. So educating such types isn’t the feat. Sufficiently showing McLaren’s racing and technological successes -- as well as telling the story of the legendary F1 road machine (chassis No. 28 shown) -- to new buyers through seductive and modern marketing will be key to expansion in the competitive (and relatively slow-selling) exotic sports car market.
Yet, even without a completed showroom or any full-page color ads, Schwartz says he’s already garnered “overwhelming response” from a few hundred potential clients willing to shell out between $225,000 and $275,000 for a car.
American dealers are estimated to receive 360 of the planned 1000 first year units. So the interested well-heeled will likely have to wait a bit for one to call their own. By the third year of production, sellers will split 700 of 4000 cars.
Of course, the MP4-12C’s popularity isn’t limited to the States. In its native England, McLaren has gathered more than 2700 serious expressions of interest. The latest model from Woking is, indeed, a star.
However, at our in-the-flesh meeting with the car and McLaren personnel, we did collect a few new nuggets of information regarding the car, which is specifically trained and designed to compete with the Ferrari 458 Italia. We also included the official North American spec sheet.
To Inquire Please Contact Jon Schwartz at McLaren@TheAutoGallery.com or 818-932-1670
Here’s the good stuff:
- Each MP4 is hand-built and hand-painted to ensure the utmost quality.
- It takes 30 days to assemble a car on the brand’s staged assembly line. One stage’s work takes one day.
- The carbon fiber MonoCell (formed from one piece) tub and aluminum chassis are said to be ultra-stiff and extremely safe. Engineers say that during 35 mph offset and oblique crash tests, the windshield didn’t even crack.
- As part of its durability testing regime, the MP4’s tub/chassis was set in the desert for 4 weeks. It was also set in the ocean for the same duration.
- Dihedral doors don’t just look cool; they’re more efficient. The doors are comprised of fewer parts, thus contributing less mass, and can be better positioned for optimal weight distribution.
- A lightweight stainless steel exhaust comes standard, but a 6.6-pound-lighter Inconel system can be optioned. Inconel is the same highly heat-resistant alloy used on F1 racecar exhausts. It forms the McLaren F1 roadcar’s exhaust as well.
- Carbon ceramic brakes are an option. McLaren insists they are ideal for those owners looking to track their car.
- The open differential uses brake steer to mitigate understeer plow and improve cornering speeds.
- Thank to the intuitive dampening unit that constantly adjusts suspension settings, the MP4 rides “like a luxury saloon,” yet is still very athletic.
- Oerlikon Graziano is co-developer of the McLaren’s bespoke seven-speed, dual-clutch Seamless Shift Gearbox.
- Microsoft is McLaren’s co-developer of the MP4’s infotainment system. The two have partnered on Formula 1 technologies, most notably the ECU setups that currently control every F1 racecar.
- Every dealer is required to have a McLaren-certified body mechanic. This further ensures customers can receive an entire, OEM-authorized experience.
- There is 6 cu-ft of luggage space in the nose, just shy of the 458 Italia’s 8-cu-ft.
- As of posting, there are only two MP4-12C’s in the country. Both are marketing cars limited to 15 mph for transport purposes.
- It took roughly $250 million to develop the MP4-12C from start to finish. McLaren Automotive paid for it in cold, hard, cash.
2012 McLaren MP4-12C North American Specification Sheet
Two-seat, mid-engine coupe with dihedral door design and a carbon fiber MonoCell chassis
Aluminum alloy bonnet, front wings and roof; Other panels are low density SMC
Fully enclosed, under-panel design incorporating front splitter and rear diffuser
Open rear grill and deck venting with side-mounted air intakes
McLaren Airbrake system
Bi-Xenon headlamps, front/rear LED running lights
Touch entry door system
M838T 90 V-8 3.8-liter all-aluminum twin-turbo DOHC compact engine design
Dry sump, high specific output with low CO2 emissions
Rear, mid-mounted engine
Fully catalyzed stainless steel exhaust system with active bypass
Compression ratio: 9:01
Max power: 592 hp @ 7000 rpm
Max torque: 443 ft lbs @ 6500 rpm
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds
Max speed: More than 200 mph
7-speed, Seamless Shift Gearbox (SSG) with Pre-Cog functionality
Formula 1-style diecast aluminum rocker shift that pivots in the center of the steering wheel
Three driver modes: Normal, Sport and Track
Open differential using brake steer to reduce understeer and improve cornering speed
Two-piece discs - aluminum and iron rotors
Front ventilated iron discs: 370mm, 4-piston calipers
Rear ventilated iron discs: 350mm, 4-piston calipers
Bosch ABS/ESP with EBD
Electronic park brake assist
Hydraulic Airbrake system first used in the McLaren F1
Carbon ceramic discs and rotors (option)
Front and rear fully independent double wishbones
Kinetic hydraulic interconnections between dampers
Teneco multi-mode dampers, adaptive and roll control
Four modes: winter, normal, sport, and track
No anti-roll bars used. Rear “Z Bar” for extra heave control
Rack and pinion, power assisted
Hydraulic electric variable pressure
Wheels and Tires
Wheels: Front: 19” x 8.5”
Rear: 20” x 11”
Tires: Pirelli P Zero (McLaren spec)
Front: 235/35 R19
Rear: 305/30 R20
Interior designed around the driver: optimum driver position, visibility, and pedal placement
Portrait screen infotainment system with Meridian sound
HVAC controls separated on doors/dual zone
Active dynamic control panel
All unique McLaren-designed switches and controls
Steering wheel modeled on McLaren’s Formula 1 drivers’ hand grips
Safety & Security
Alarm (doors, engine cover, and luggage compartment)
Tilt sensor, electronic immobilizer
Driver/passenger airbag, knee airbags, side head airbags
Hill Hold, ABS-EBD, ASR, ESP
Brake pad wear sensor
Emergency fuel shut off device
First aid kit
Comfort & ConvenienCe
Dual-zone climate control
Trip computer, service indicator, oil level gauge
Lithium-ion battery, battery level gauge
Keyless go, electric folding mirrors, electric adjustable mirrors
One-touch electric windows
Rear defroster, rain sensing wipers
Cruise control, external temp display
Seven-inch portrait touch screen monitor
2-channel, 4-speaker Meridian sound system
40 GB hard drive with media player, am/fm radio and Bluetooth
USB, PDMI and audio jack ports for media player connectivity
Electronic integrated vehicle owners’ guide
IRIS System (option)
80 GB hard drive with satellite navigation system (option)
7-speaker Meridian surround sound with Digital Signal Processing technology
Wireless local area network (WLAN) connectivity, home file transfer
Picture/video viewer and email
Track data display featuring three onboard cameras and data acquisition capability (option)
Weight (dry): 2866 lbs
Distribution: 53/47 front/rear