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10 Things You Didn't Know about The McLaren 12C

Being a company with some of the top racing engineers in the business is an excellent asset and McLaren just happens to be in that enviable position. Its special branding comes from its racecar history, from the legendary F1 to the amazing 12C. So, if you’re at all curious about the history and specs of the McLaren 12C (initially dubbed the McLaren MP4-12C), we have some basic info for you. This fast sports car was the very first production car to be completely designed and manufactured in the 21st century by Mclaren Automotive and It followed in the footsteps of the McLaren F1, which they stopped making in 1998 “according to Wikipedia”, the final design of the 12C was actually unveiled in late 2009 although it wasn’t officially launched until 2011. There's really so much more to know about this super-fast sports car. So, here are ten interesting things that you probably didn't know about the McLaren 12C:

1. Pricing

The coupe has a list price starting at $241,900, while the Spider will run you a bit more at $268,250. Naturally, there are a number of personalization options that you can add liberally, but it offers a great deal that comes standard, like the cockpit and center console that are quite intelligently arranged as well as really impressive.

2. Horsepower & Speed

The 12C’s max horsepower has been rated at 616 at 7500 rpm There’s actually more than sufficient thrust on-hand at any given time, so achieving triple-digit speeds is easy for the 12C (between corners anyway). And, going from zero to 60 requires only 2.9 seconds. Its top speed is 205 mph and the 12C redlines at a lofty 8500 rpm! Yet, the 12C is still a highly-efficient car with a rear spoiler functioning as an air brake.

3. Engine

The 12C comes equipped with a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 and all it takes is pushing a button to fire it up. And, once you do, there’s absolutely no hiding the fact that it's a turbo engine even though it may sound a bit more subdued than the Ferrari’s V-8 engine or the Audi and Lamborghini’s V-10s. There’s a very distinct “whoosh” from the turbochargers mixed with a little turbo-lag.

4. Transmission

Some drivers may wish that there was a manual transmission available on the 12C, but its seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox helps them forget about that wish with its laser precision. It can rip through all seven gears with no problem at all. Besides, it’s really a tech-fest all the way and the most modern of all super cars as you can even hope for. In fact, science fiction dulls in comparison. The right side of the shifter will engage first gear. Under light throttle, the automatic upshifts are both smooth and swift and the 12C transmission’s mantra is “speed without spectacle”.

5. Doors

According to Car and Driver, opening the 12C’s door is as high-tech as a door can get. You simply have to sweep your hand along the flush-surface that you’ll find tucked beneath the upper edge of the side scoop. It’s definitely the heights of drama in a gull-wing or insect-wing door style.

6. Fuel Economy (Car and Driver EST):

Now, let’s face it, nobody in their right mind chooses to purchase a race car for its fuel economy. That being said, the McLaren 12C is reported as getting an EPA city/highway of 15/22 mpg. So, rev up that turbo and simply forget that you’ve ever heard the words “fuel economy”.

7. Convertible (Spider) or Coupe?

Many McLaren 12C customers have gone for the Spider version with its convertible top that’s electrically operated. Let’s face it, some drivers just can’t resist those rag-tops. However, most purists choose the coupe. In fact, of the 3,400 12Cs that were manufactured, overall sales were actually split 60/40 in favor of the coupe.

8. Torque

The 12C’s max torque is 443 lb-ft and is available at 3000 to 7000 rpm. The combination of predictable handling, compact dimensions, and precise steering means the 12C is capable of precise positioning with the greatest of ease. You might be tempted to switch the stability control system off, however, respecting the race car lying just beneath the surface is important. Although the 12C tends to be easy to control and relatively forgiving, it has so much torque that the rear-end could break loose under excess acceleration.

9. Interior

As you enter the 12C, the first thing you’ll spot is the nicely-bolstered seat and then the huge 9000-rpm tach and center-pivoting shifting paddle. Of course, the part of the 12C cockpit that’s the most impressive is the center console with its big red button for firing the engine, and a single knob for setting the handling parameters. And, the seats are not only comfortable but also wide enough for accommodating 90 percent of drivers. The trunk can hold one medium-sized bag plus a few smaller soft carry-ons. Basically, it offers comparable luggage capacity to what you get with most exotic sports cars. The door sensors required numerous swipes for opening them, so they’ve since been replaced according to Tech Gear News.

10. McLaren vs. Ferrari

Some race car aficionados may have found the 12C to be lacking somewhat in drama, sound, and the overall effect when competing with the Ferrari 458 Italia. After all, it does come to battle with three bellowing exhaust pipes and the steering wheel’s punctilious Manettino driving-mode switch. So, for the purpose of addressing these particular driver concerns, McLaren made an update in 2013 aimed at making the 12C faster, louder, and even sharper when it came to its track mode. So, then it delivered just like it did before, albeit much more emphatically. Those particular changes continued on into 2014, making the 12C one truly amazing car. Both the 12C and the Ferrari 458 offer world-class performance but the McLaren’s full-carbon-mono cell is really a work of art plus it just might be a little bit faster than the 458. In fact, McLaren’s math shows the 12C’s 5.4 pounds per horsepower and its broad torque curve capable of trouncing Ferrari’s 458 Italia on running through the quarter-mile at 11 seconds or less and getting up to 60 mph in just three seconds flat.

Final Thoughts

With all of its race-bred power and amazing dynamics, the McLaren 12C appears to be a perfect car in a rather imperfect world. It’s definitely one that’s modestly styled, yet utterly uncompromising out on the open road. And, best of all, it can actually hold its ground against all competitors.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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