"We are very proud of the McLaren MP4-12C and all the teamwork, intelligent thought and sheer effort that have gone into developing this car. What drives people at McLaren is passion - if you cut them, they bleed McLaren. And there is no doubt in my mind that the 12C fully reflects that focus, drive and determination in its performance, style and ownership potential," said Ron Dennis, McLaren Automotive Chairman.
"This is the start of an exciting new chapter in McLaren's history, in British high-technology engineering and manufacturing, and in global sports car design. We aim to be the best, but will leave that ultimate judgement to our first customers in 2011. Until then, we will strive to put one name at the top of the `most wanted' list for buyers of high performance sports cars: `McLaren'," he concluded.
The McLaren MP4-12C: Inside and Out, and In Detail
A Carbon Fibre Heart
Light weight and performance are defining philosophies at McLaren. But outright power alone is of little significance if a car's weight saps output or if that power is unmanageable and compromises the driving experience or results in unacceptable emissions.
Fundamentally, it is critical to keep weight as low as possible. Increased customer demands for safety and advanced features all mean that shaving weight is ever more difficult. However, at McLaren saving weight remains a passion and at the heart of the McLaren MP4-12C is a carbon fibre composite chassis: the Carbon MonoCell.
This revolutionary structure is the automotive version of a McLaren innovation that started with Formula 1 back in 1981 and delivers both weight savings and performance gains. It is a technology cascade in which McLaren brought carbon composite technology from the aerospace industry to make the MP4/1 F1 car, the first Formula 1 car to benefit from the strength, weight and safety of carbon fibre.
McLaren's Formula 1 carbon fibre technology then offered the company the opportunity of applying its expertise to road car applications. The first ever road car to be constructed of this material was the McLaren F1 produced in 1993, albeit in small numbers. The F1 was followed by the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren that also shared this rare expertise.
Only a handful of other cars in the market offer such technology today and all of them lie in the `ultimate' segment. No manufacturer has brought the advantages of carbon composite technology to a more affordable sector of the market. But the 12C does, through engineering passion and a relentless pursuit of efficiency.
So, McLaren did it first with the F1, the world's fastest car for many years, then in the highest volume with SLR, which almost doubled the volume of the next highest produced carbon fibre-based high performance sports car by selling over 2,100 units. Now, through revolutionary one-piece moulding of the MonoCell, McLaren brings a carbon composite chassis down to the `core' category, where currently only traditional metal structures are offered.
The advantages this technology brings are light weight, high torsional rigidity, a very strong safety cell, low perishability, ease of repair and extreme dimensional accuracy.
The 12C MonoCell weighs less than 80 kg. Carbon fibre contributes to the car's low overall weight and it forms the structural basis for the whole car. The tub's torsional rigidity is considerably stiffer than a comparable alloy structure.
This inherent lack of flex means the unique front suspension system, which is mounted directly onto the MonoCell, requires less compromise for flex of the suspension itself. Therefore, it is easier to develop the unique balance between fine ride and precise handling that McLaren has targeted. The MonoCell also offers greater occupant safety. It acts as a safety survival cell, as it does for a Formula 1 car.