McLaren MP4-12C – Latest Video Footage

Since the launch of McLaren Automotive and the MP4-12C, as covered last week in Classic Driver, video footage has been released of the press conference – and of their most famous test drivers in action.

The footage reiterates the new company’s vision and – let’s face it – brings a rare breath of fresh air for Britain. “We’ve added a truly exciting new car brand to the world,” says Dennis, and we’re right there behind him, waving the Union Flag.

Dennis isn’t the slickest of presenters, which all adds to the feeling that this is the start of something good, even great, rather than the marketing twaddle which so many new companies spout when starting up. This is something we can believe in. Maybe.

“Inspired by Formula 1 and rich in McLaren DNA.” This is how Dennis describes the new MP4-12C, a claim that is followed by Managing Director Antony Sheriff promising an apparently undeliverable set of world bests: in performance, in quality, and in the ownership experience.

In terms of the car itself, we’re happy to believe him 100%. We can believe it has the highest performance and the best efficiency in its segment. We can believe it has incredible handling and is remarkably comfortable to drive. We’re quite happy to accept that it’s among the safest and best-equipped cars of its type, and we can even believe that it’s compact on the outside and “hugely spacious” on the inside.

This, after all, is McLaren. This is the company which has won eight F1 Constructors’ World Championships, 43 Can Am races taking five titles, and three Indy 500 victories, not to mention the Le Mans 24 Hours on its debut in 1995. And (don’t laugh), it even won the Goodwood soapbox downhill race at the Festival of Speed – which, far from being a schoolboy joke, is a (more competitive than you might imagine) demonstration of innovative thinking.

Yes, we can believe that the MP4-12C will be an outstanding car but where our belief starts to… not waver, exactly, but to be less than 100%, is when it comes to the company infrastructure. Sheriff promises us “a global distribution network with an absolute passion for customer service.” Maybe he will succeed; but servicing retail customers via a dealer network is not a proven skill of McLaren’s and many otherwise outstanding car-makers fall at this hurdle. A clean sheet of paper might be a blessing; or it could be the toughest challenge they face.

Let’s hope they pull it off. In the meantime, we can sit back and enjoy further video footage of Button and Hamilton putting the new MP4-12C through its paces…

McLaren MP4-12C Technical Specification:

Engine: Bespoke, mid-mounted, all-alloy, twin-turbo, 3.8-litre, 90-deg V8
Power: 600PS approx
Torque: 600Nm
Body: Two-seater carbonfibre composite ‘MonoCell’, aluminium and SMC panels
Transmission: Seven-speed Seamless Shift dual-clutch gearbox (SSG) with ‘Pre-Cog’
Dimensions: 4507mm long, 1895-1908mm wide, 1199mm high
CO2 emissions: Aiming for under 300g/km (lowest per horsepower of any car in existence)
0-125mph: Under 10 seconds
Top speed: Over 200mph
Price: TBC but likely to be around £175,000

Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos/Video: McLaren

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