McLaren MP4-12C nears production

This supercar is almost ready to rock
by Patrick Everett Tadeo | Feb 23, 2010

McLaren Automotive's next-generation MP4-12C supercar is now on its final stages of development before it goes on sale in 2011  with the England-based manufacturer revealing the latest details in Experimental Prototype (XP) 12Cs.

Clothed in matt black vinyl, the two XP Beta-phase prototypes labeled as XP8 and XP10 bring the MP4-12C closer to production as both units feature a revised iteration of the M838T twin-turbo engine, a transmission with new gear ratios, a more efficient cooling package, new suspension geometry and an upgraded electrical architecture.

McLaren Automotive is also using experience and technical know-how in developing F1 cars to help bring the MP4-12C closer to reality. To achieve this, a team of 20 to 25 technicians travel with and are on-hand to service the XP Beta cars 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are also 12 engineers "responsible for specific technologies and systems being appraised" while the XP Beta cars are out on tests.

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"There is an extensive list of subjective and objective targets set for our prototype vehicles. These XP Beta cars are already achieving outstanding results in many of the subjective areas, which includes ride quality, handling and many other aspects of dynamic performance," said Mark Vinnels, McLaren automotive program director and chief of the MP4-12C's engineering team.

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Though the performance figures of the XP Beta cars are expected to be revealed in March, McLaren Automotive's aspirations to out-perform competitors are with merit--judging by the XP Beta cars' performance.

"The benchmark competitor vehicles we have tested become nervous and twitchy at higher speed, but the 12C feels more stable than anything I have driven. Because the bump rejection is so good, the ride is smooth and the steering is solid,"  Vinnels said.


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