Spotted in the Wild: McLaren MP4-12C

I have to be honest: I didn’t see a McLaren driving on any of my local routes, so this can’t be a Spotted in the Wild segment.  I specifically went to the only McLaren dealership in Canada to see their newest 458 rival, but to justify the trip I’ve been telling myself I was really there to visit my favorite aftermarket performance shop that shares the same building.

Auto Park Circle.  Its automotive nirvana within 25km of my house, and my destination whenever I think, “Hey, I just need to go for a drive”.  But how, you might ask, could one street be such as amazing place? Let me answer by saying a few words: Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Tuning, more Porsche (a separate used department), and finally, McLaren.

On this circular piece of Torontonian infrastructure you will find all of these, and more!  By “more” all I mean is Ford, and seeing as how they no longer make the GT40 I really don’t care about them.  Sorry Fiesta.

The only place on that list where I can think about spending some of my hard earned cash is at the Pfaff Tuning shop.  I bought my delicious R8 replica rims there with the help of Eric, my Tuning Consultant (best job title ever), and they always have some nice car porn sitting on their lot.  My trips to Pfaff were great before, but with McLaren Toronto now sharing the same space I think I’ll be visiting a lot more often.

Up until 1:00pm on January 1st, 2012 I had never seen a McLaren, by 1:01 I had seen six.  A truly amazing sight, and one that was made even better when four of the cars on the showroom floor were simultaneously turned on to move them around for improved visual impact.  My iPhone voice recorder has never been used for something more important. 

The McLaren MP4-12C (otherwise known as “the fax machine” by Jeremy Clarkson) is only the second road car from the famed multiple F1 Constructor’s Champion.  Now some of you might say that the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was the second, but that should never be considered a true McLaren, more a very fat and ugly Benz.

The company’s website states, “For McLaren, the pursuit of driving perfection means defying convention; if it doesn’t push the boundaries it’s not good enough”.  In essence, a McLaren defies your preconceptions of what an übercar should be.  Through the use of F1 derived technology McLaren are able to create truly unique and advanced vehicles.  Their first road car, the aptly named F1, represents this belief in performance through innovation.

Let me just throw out some geeky car facts about the F1 that will prove just how special and revolutionary it was.  In 1998 it became the fastest road car with a speed of 242.95mph, and held that record for almost seven years.  It takes 3.2 seconds to get from zero to 100kph, otherwise expressed as a shorter amount of time than it took you to read from the word “amount”.  It has a centrally mounted driver’s seat for optimal vision and control.  The engine bay is lined with gold to reflect heat and holds a 6.1L BMW V12 worth 618bhp.  It was the first car to have a carbon-fibre monocoque chassis.  The 17’ wheels are made of magnesium, as is the car’s tool kit.  It was one of the first road cars to have active aerodynamics.  There are fans at the rear that literally suck the car to the road.  Sheep’s blood is used to lubricate the transmission.  Well, that last part’s not true, but you get the idea.  And did I mention there are no driver’s aids?

The F1 was lighter, smaller, and more powerful than almost everything else at the time, and has been called the most influential car of the 21st century.  But all of this came with the equally impressive price tag of $970,000, with any example now fetching as high as $4 million.  So a little expensive, and also exclusive.  Only 106 models were ever made from 92’ to 98’, and some of those weren’t even street legal but fully fledged race cars. 

Ten years on from the F1 and McLaren have decided to bring a more mainstream product to market.  The MP4-12C doesn’t have the headline grabbing stats like its forefather, but it still packs a mighty punch.  Endowed with McLaren’s own twin-turbo 3.8L V8 the 12C can use its 592bhp to accelerate from naught to 100 in 3.3 seconds.  Seems like a lesser version of the F1 when put like that, but then again, the baby Macca only costs around $250,000.

The 12C is almost as groundbreaking as its predecessor, with a bunch of newer F1 derived tech used in its design (don’t worry, I won’t list them), and everything that the company learns from building it will be put into producing a true F1 successor.  I’d say it’s a pretty good base car.

By 2015, around 4,000 12Cs will be built per annum, and this will include at least two more variants.  A convertible will be on the scene by the end of 2012, and a more focused/hardcore version (think GT3 RS) will be around in a few years.  The company is also planning the aforementioned F1 successor, and a junior-supercar is in the works to sit below the 12C.

You can sum up its impressive history and performance but saying, “It looks real purrrrtty mister”.  Simple, but effective.

I’ve gone on quite a ramble about McLaren and haven’t even touched on any of the other great cars that I saw at Auto Park Circle that day.  My whole justification for writing about the 12C was that I was at Pfaff Tuning to price out some things, but that can wait for another day.  The McLaren seems to make everything else I saw and did utterly and completely obsolete.  I didn’t drive it.  I didn’t even sit in it.  But I saw my first McLaren ever.  And that’s really all that’s important.  

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~ by ubercar on February 3, 2012.

One Response to “Spotted in the Wild: McLaren MP4-12C”

  1. Oooo……so pretty. What I would give to wake up and see that in my garage! The shade of orange is perfect!

    BoostAndBoobs.com

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