McLaren MP4-12C (2011–2014)

Model History

McLaren MP4-12C is first in a range of high-performance sports cars from McLaren Automotive, the independent car division based at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England, run by Ron Dennis as chairman. Previous cars built at Woking were the McLaren F1 (1993-1998) and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (2003-2009). On sale from 2011, price in the £125,000 - £175,000 bracket

At its heart, the McLaren MP4-12C features a revolutionary carbon fibre chassis structure called the Carbon MonoCell: the first time a car in this market segment is based around such a strong and lightweight racing car engineering solution and the first time any car has ever featured a one-piece carbon fibre structure.

The 12C MonoCell has been designed to allow a much narrower structure overall which in turn contributes to a more compact car that is easier to position on the road and more rewarding to drive. With the 12C’s power output of around 600hp and its low CO2 emissions, it delivers the highest horsepower to CO2 ratio of any car on the market today with an internal combustion engine.

The 12C is powered by a bespoke McLaren ‘M838T’ 3.8 litre, V8 twin-turbo engine producing around 600bhp, driving through a McLaren seven speed Seamless Shift dual clutch gearbox (SSG). It is targeting not only new standards for power and performance in its sector, but also class-leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions; supported by McLaren’s experience of active aerodynamics to aid cooling, grip, handling and road holding.

•The Carbon MonoCell not only reduces the weight of the structure but also allows for the use of much lighter weight body panels.

•The close position of the driver and passenger allows a narrower, lighter body while giving improved visibility with a clearer perception of the car’s extremities.

•Brakes with forged aluminium hubs save 8 kg and weigh less than optional carbon ceramic brakes.

•Lightweight exhaust pipes exit straight out the rear of the car, minimizing their length and weight.

•Airflow-assisted Airbrake deployment dramatically reduces weight of the Airbrake activation system.

•Small, compact downsized engine coupled to lightweight compact SSG minimizes vehicle length, weight and polar moment of inertia.

•Significant weight was pared off the alloy wheels through intensive Finite Element Analysis of wall thicknesses.

•The engine cooling radiators were mounted at the rear, as close to the engine as possible, to minimize the pipework, the fluids contained within them, and therefore weight. They were also mounted in car line to minimize vehicle width.

The ‘core’ segment runs from around £125,000 to £175,000 featuring such cars as the Ferrari 458, Lamborghini Gallardo, Porsche 911 Turbo, Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin DB9. A second segment is the ‘high’ category with prices ranging from £175,000 to £250,000 and consists largely of front-engined GT cars such as Ferrari’s 599 GTB and 612, with just one mid-engined contender, the Lamborghini Murcielago.

The final segment is the ‘ultimate’ group, a sector more or less initiated by the McLaren F1 in 1993 and now populated by a select group of cars including the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Bugatti Veyron, and cars from the likes of Pagani and Koenigsegg that followed legends such as the Porsche Carrera GT and Ferrari Enzo. In 2011, McLaren will bring technology and performance exclusive to this ‘ultimate’ sector into the ‘core’ segment.

The elements of this name represent everything that the McLaren MP4-12C stands for:

-‘MP4’ represents the racing bloodline

-‘12’ represents the focus on complete performance and efficiency

-‘C’ represents the revolutionary Carbon MonoCell

The McLaren MP4-12C is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 3.8 litre 90⁰ V8 engine – the ‘M838T’. The engine has the highest specific power output in its segment which, when allied to its low weight carbon composite chassis, delivers exemplary power- and torque-to-weight ratios. ’M838T’ is a unique McLaren power unit, developed specifically for the 12C. It is compact, lightweight, very stiff, and offers an uncompromising combination of very high performance and good driveability, with excellent economy and CO2 emission values. ‘M838T’ features dual variable valve timing and produces around 600bhp and 600Nm of torque. A dry sump and flat plane crankshaft allow the engine to be placed extremely low in the chassis thereby lowering the centre of gravity and improving handling responses. It also features composite cam covers and intake manifolds, which reduce weight and heat transmission into the charge air, as well as Nikasil-coated aluminium liners for further weight reduction. It revs to 8,500rpm, has quick transient throttle response and delivers its abundant torque throughout the rev range. 80 per cent of torque is available at below 2,000rpm, ensuring great driveability and no need to floor the throttle to deliver performance.

The engine drives the rear wheels through two wet clutches and a McLaren-developed seven speed Seamless Shift dual clutch gearbox (SSG). The Seamless Shift technology offers variable programmes ranging from ‘normal’ for road use and ‘sport’ for quicker changes still, right up to a lightning quick high performance mode. In addition an ‘automatic’ mode, ‘launch control’ and ‘winter’ modes can be selected, the latter changing all electronic functions to suit low friction conditions and delivering maximum driver aid and support.

April 2010

‘Designed around the driver’ has been the prevailing concept for the MP4-12C. From 31 March 2010, future customers and sports car enthusiasts alike are able to put themselves in the driving seat of this truly innovative new high-performance sports car and specify their ideal 12C using an interactive online car configurator.

Having driven 12C Experimental Prototype (XP) vehicles, and made an appearance at the recent launch of McLaren Automotive to the world’s media, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button and 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton were keen to be the first to specify their ideal 12Cs. Visitors will see the team-mates interacting with the online configurator for the first time in a new short film.

The configurator was developed using data obtained from theMcLaren Automotive design and engineering teams at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. The 12C configurator will link to McLaren Automotive’s 35 retail outlets in 19 countries across the globe when retailers are appointed from May 2010 and brings McLaren’s innovative automotive technology closer to its first customers. It allows them to enjoy specifying their preferred 12C options from a range that literally offers millions of combinations.

A choice of 17 different high-grade exterior paint finishes begin with Blue, Silver and White available as standard on the 12C. A further eight may be selected from the Special range of finishes, which includes McLaren Orange, a solid hue which was the signature colour of McLaren race cars in the 1960s and 1970s. A choice of six Elite exterior colours is available for buyers seeking the very highest quality paint finish on their 12C.

Unique to the 12C is a ‘Driver Zone’ interior option. In addition to combining Alcantara, leather and carbon inside the cabin for both driver and passenger, owners are able to further personalise the area immediately around the driver. A choice of five leather trims can be specified solely for the driver’s seat, door trim and dash insert and the resulting asymmetrical appearance enhances the driver-focused ambience of the cockpit.

Performance upgrades include a lightweight sports exhaust system, carbon ceramic brake discs, polished-finish calipers and two different lightweight forged wheel options. Mirror casings, engine bay panels and engine covers are all available in carbon fibre.

In the centre of the cabin, the 12C’s portrait touch-screen gives driver and passenger access to a bespoke on-board entertainment, media and communication system. The 12C features a Meridian two-channel, four-speaker sound system, 40GB hard drive with media player, AM/FM radio, electronic user manual and Bluetooth telephony. USB, PDMI and audio jack ports allow media player connection, with support for Apple iPod and Microsoft Zune.

The McLaren-developed IRIS option is available as an upgrade to the telematics system and allows use of voice control to access a navigation system while driving. Hard drive capacity increases to 80GB, while users can access a picture and media viewer and email. WLAN connectivity allows owners to remotely transfer music and other data files from a laptop or PC when parked within range. The IRIS option includes a seven-speaker Meridian surround sound system.

June 2010

McLaren Automotive announced the partners in its UK retail network: Rybrook in Birmingham, Jardine Motors Group in London, and Sytner in Manchester. These experienced UK retailers will join a global network of 35 partners in 2011, featuring some of Europe’s most successful premium-brand retailers:

Germany: Düsseldorf, MollSportwagen GmbH; Hamburg, Merkur Hanseatische Beteiligungs-AG

France: Paris, Neubauer Group; Monaco, MonacoLuxury Group

Belgium: Brussels, Ginion Group

Italy: Milan, Gruppo Fassina

Switzerland: Zürich, Schmohl AG

Two further retailers for Germany and a Spanish partner will complete the initial European network and will be confirmed in the coming weeks along with McLaren Automotive’s North American, Middle Eastern and South African partners. The company’s Asia Pacific network will be announced later in the year.

Prices for the 12C will be confirmed at a later date, but the car will sit in the ‘core’ sports car market as defined by McLaren of cars between CHF250,000 and CHF300,000 before taxes. McLaren Automotive confirmed the majority of its European partners in the UK, German, French, Belgian and Italian markets.

July 2010

For public debut, current Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button and 2008 Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton drove the 12C up Goodwood Hill on Saturday 3rd July and Sunday 4th July 2010 respectively in the Supercar Run. Firdt inkling of price level. "The 12C will compete with other cars in the ‘core’ high performance sports car sector, which are priced between £125,000-£175,000."

More detail: "At Goodwood, the public will discover a new type of high performance sports car. At the heart of the 12C is a unique one-piece carbon chassis, the ‘MonoCell’. Current competitor models in the ‘core’ sports car sector all feature heavier aluminum or steel structures that limit ultimate performance. The 12C has been designed around the driver, and its development has been overseen by a team with extensive experience in Formula 1 racing and engineering. Outstanding aerodynamic efficiency and bespoke technologies including Proactive Chassis Control, Seamless Shift dual-clutch Gearbox (SSG), Brake Steer, and the 12C’s unique Airbrake feature in a car which has been developed using Formula 1 simulator technology."

July 2010

Daytona Group will be the company's local partner in South Africa.

August 2010

McLaren Automotive and Jardine Motors Group are pleased to confirm One Hyde Park; The Residences at Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge as the high-profile and visually stunning landmark location for the McLaren London showroom. McLaren London will move into the showroom in early 2011 in preparation for the spring 2011 launch of the McLaren MP4-12C, the first in McLaren Automotive’s new range of high-performance sports cars.

September 2010

MP4-12C makes Paris debut National and regional media in France and prospective customers of McLaren Paris will be given the opportunity to view the groundbreaking new MP4-12C high- performance sports car at a private venue in the French capital city from 05-08 October, shortly after the opening day of the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

McLaren Paris, owned and managed by Neubauer Group, will present a 12C finished in Supernova Silver and XP13, a rolling 12C chassis, to more than 300 guests over the course of two days. Visitors will have the opportunity to get up close to the innovative technology under the skin of the 12C, with Frank Stephenson, McLaren Design Director present to unveil the car.

November 2010

Price announced

The McLaren MP4-12C, the first in a range of high-performance sports cars from McLaren Automotive, goes on sale in the UK and Europe in spring 2011 at a groundbreaking price for a carbon chassis-based car. At £168,500 (inc 20% VAT) in the UK, and from €200,000 in the EU, it will be the only car in its competitor set to:

  • offer a carbon chassis (the MonoCell)
  • be conceived, designed and developed within a Formula 1 factory
  • offer the heady combination of 600PS, from a 3.8-litre engine producing less than 300g/km CO 2 in a car with a dry weight of around 1300kgs

The 12C’s MonoCell introduces genuine innovation to the automotive industry and new performance standards below £200,000. It is ‘pure’ McLaren, with all parts, from engine to switchgear, designed by McLaren.

12C prices in UK and European markets, inc. VAT:

United Kingdom £168,500*
Germany €200,000
France/Monaco €201,000
Italy €201,680
Belgium €203,360

*RRP includes VAT at 20%: on-the-road price adds road fund licence (£950) and first registration fee (£55)

The 12C can be specified with a wide range of personalisation options, pricing for which will be confirmed at launch. There are 17 high-grade exterior paint finishes, including ‘McLaren Orange’ - a solid hue that was made famous by the McLaren racing cars of the 1960s and ʼ70s.

A choice of 14 interior trims can be specified inside the cabin. Performance upgrades include a sports exhaust system, carbon ceramic brake discs, polished-finish callipers and two lightweight forged wheel options. The ‘standard’ 12C features just one piece of carbon – the MonoCell – but carbon fibre options will include mirror casings, engine bay panels and engine cover.

December 2010

McLaren confirmed its plans to bring back the McLaren name to GT sports cars racing. From 2012, McLaren and CRS Racing will supply and support a limited number of GT3 racing cars based on the McLaren MP4-12C high-performance sports car for European-based privateers.

15 years since the McLaren F1 GTR famously won the world-famous 24 Heures du Mans (Le Mans) on its debut, and 12 years since six ‘Longtails’ last raced at Le Mans, McLaren and CRS Racing, a successful and experienced UK-based racing team, have begun development work aimed at turning the 12C road car into a race-winning GT3 sports car. As part of the development programme, McLaren and CRS Racing will compete at a limited number of European GT races in 2011.

With the 12C’s lightweight one-piece moulded carbon chassis (the ‘MonoCell’), its high levels of downforce and aerodynamic performance, and its focus on form and function, the 12C should prove to be a great platform on which to develop a racing car, as well as visually setting pulses racing at European race tracks.

Martin Whitmarsh, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal said: “The 12C’s architecture and design was always aimed at high-performance and ease of maintenance - two key criteria for potential customers. Combine that with the vast amount of racing experience in our automotive team, and CRS Racing’s specialist development experience, and the 12C GT3 should be an exciting proposition for the top teams planning to race in GT3 from 2012.”

Andrew Kirkaldy, Team Principal, CRS Racing said: “It is a rare opportunity to work with a company like McLaren and we are proud to be involved. Together, we aim to produce the highest quality GT car on the grid. The level of engineering experience at McLaren is unparalleled and this will be reflected in the 12C GT3. One of the most important aspects of this programme will be customer service and for that reason we will be building a limited number of cars at a competitive price. The result will be an incredible GT car with manageable running costs and good residual value that will provide its owner with an unrivalled experience.”

Initial plans are for a limited run of 12Cs developed for the 2012 European FIA GT3 Series, but, as with McLaren Automotive’s road car business, conservative growth and expansion will be considered.

CRS Racing will build, sell and support the 12C GT3 cars in close collaboration with McLaren. The Leicestershire-based racing team has a strong pedigree in GT racing in the Le Mans Series, the FIA GT Championship, the International GT Open and the British GT Championship. CRS also runs two successful single-seater teams: in the Formula Renault UK Championship and as Atech CRS in the GP3 Series.

February 2011

The first McLaren MP4-12C high-performance sports car has begun production at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, England.

McLaren Automotive plans to build up to 1,000 12Cs in 2011. Most will be manufactured in the bespoke new £40m McLaren Production Centre, which is due for completion in May 2011 adjacent to MTC. However, ‘Chassis 01’ is being built in the existing MTC production facility, where outstanding quality and highly efficient production methods have been fine-tuned since the Foster + Partners-designed building opened in 2004.

The innovative 12C was first presented to the public at the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed in southern England in July 2010, prior to a North American debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August. 12Cs were then presented at exclusive events to prospective customers and media around the world as McLaren Automotive toured many of the cities that will form a network of 35 retailer launch locations.

February 2011

McLaren MP4-12C performance data

Engine Power 600 PS (441kW) 592 bhp
@ 7000 rpm @ 7000 rpm
Torque 600 Nm 443 lb-ft
@ 3000-7000rpm @ 3000-7000rpm
Weight DIN weight 1434 kg 3161 lbs
Dry weight 1336 kg 2945 lbs
Dry weight 1301kg 2868 lbs
(with lightweight options)
Efficiency CO 2 279 g/km 279 g/km
Fuel consumption (combined) 11.7 l/100 km 24.2 mpg (UK)
Power to weight 461 PS/tonne 455 bhp/tonne
(with lightweight options)
CO 2 /power 0.47 g/km per PS 0.47 g/km per bhp
Speed Maximum speed 330 kph 205 mph
Acceleration 0-100 kph (62 mph) 3.3 s 3.3 s
(3.1 s with Corsa tyre option) (3.1 s with Corsa tyre option)
0-200 kph (124 mph) 9.1 s 9.1 s
(8.9 s with Corsa tyre option) (8.9 s with Corsa tyre option)
0-400 m / ¼ mile 10.9 s @ 216 kph 10.9 @ 134 mph
0-1000 m 19.6 s @ 272 kph
Braking Braking 200-0 kph 123 m 124-0 mph 403 ft
100-0 kph 30.5 m 62-0 mph 100 ft

All figures apply to a European specification MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C Technical Specification

Drivetrain layout Longitudinal mid-engine, RWD
Engine configuration V8 twin turbo
Engine material Aluminium block and cylinder heads
Oiling Dry sump
Compression ratio 8.7:1
Valvetrain 32-valve, DOHC, dual VVT
Redline ( rpm) 8,500
Bore x Stroke (mm) 93 x 69.9
Engine displacement (cc) 3799
PS / rpm 600 / 7000
Torque Nm / rpm 600 / 3000-7000
PS per litre 158
Transmission 7 Speed SSG with Pre-Cog
Body structure Carbon fibre MonoCell with aluminum front and rear frames
Wheelbase (mm) 2670
Track, F/R (mm) 1656 / 1583
Length (mm) 4507
Width (mm) 1909
Height (mm) 1199
DIN weight (kg / lbs) 1434 / 3161
Dry weight (kg / lbs) 1336 / 2945
Dry weight with lightweight options (kg / lbs) 1301 / 2868
Weight distribution at DIN F / R % 42.5 / 57.5
Active aerodynamics McLaren Airbrake
Suspension ProActive Chassis Control
ProActive Chassis Control modes Winter / Normal / Sport / Track
Powertrain modes Winter / Normal / Sport / Track

Cast iron discs with forged aluminum hubs

(F 370mm / R 350 mm)

Wheel sizes (F / R) 19” x 8.5”J / 20” x 11” J
Tyres (F / R) Pirelli PZero 235/35 R19 / 305/30 R20

November 2011

Factory and full production line opened November 2011.

January 2013

Spyder introduced with 25PS power upgrade and significant drivability upgrades. These upgrades were made available to existing MP4-12C owners free of charge. Infotainment upgrade also made avasilable at cost.

July 2013

Reversing camera upgrade made available.

January 2014

2015 Model Year software upgrades made available FoC to existing MP4-12C owners.

May 2014

Emergence of 650S meant no further orders received so production effectively curtailed.

December 2016

McLaren Extended Warranty extended up to 12 years old.

Launched in 2014 can now be renewed up to the car’s 12th birthday. (Previously could only be extended up to 7 years old.) McLaren Extended Warranty benefits include unlimited mileage cover, roadside assistance in selected markets and, in the event of claim, guaranteed use of McLaren Genuine Parts fitted by fully trained McLaren technicians. The scheme is available for all new, existing and approved-used McLaren Qualified vehicles that have covered less than 100,000 miles and have been owned for a minimum of 90 days.

What does a McLaren MP4-12C (2011 – 2014) cost?