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Mike Stevens | Mar 22, 2010

FOLLOWING LAST YEAR'S unveiling, McLaren has at last revealed full performance figures for its upcoming MP4-12C supercar, due to hit showrooms early next year.

Taking its name from McLaren's Formula 1 heritage, the MP4-12C is powered by a new, McLaren-designed 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8 developing 441kW at 7000rpm and 600Nm of torque at 3000rpm. Nearly 80 percent of that torque is available from below 2000rpm.

McLaren has elected to withhold a specific 0-100km/h time for the new supercar, but officially it will cover the distance in just under 3 seconds.

Even without a specific number, that alone tells us that the MP4-12C is quicker to 100km/h than the new Ferrari 458 Italia (3.4 seconds) and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera (3.4 seconds).

Top speed is listed as 322km/h, coming close to the 325km/h top speed of the 458 and the Gallardo 570-4.

Anthony Sheriff, Managing Director of McLaren Automotive, said the MP4-12C boasts the highest power to CO2 ratio of any internal-combustion-engined car on the market today.

Power is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission - which McLaren calls 'Seamless Shift' - and like the Ferrari 458 Italia - a number of driving modes are available.

Auto, Sport, Winter and Launch Control feature among the selectable modes offered with the seven-speed DCT.

A paddle system inspired by that found in McLaren's F1 cars is found behind the steering wheel, and both paddles can be either pushed or pulled to perform a gear change, with the left paddle shifting down and the right shifting up.

A carbon monocoque shell - or a 'Carbon Monocell' as McLaren calls it - forms the basis of the 12C's body, developed specific for optimum strength, rigidity and light weight. Weight distribution is 43/57 front/rear.

According to McLaren, recent changes in the MP4-12C's development programme have seen the weight of the monocell chassis dropped to below 80kg, and the total finished weight is expected to be around 1300kg.

Composite forged aluminium and cast-iron brakes (which in this case weigh less than carbon ceramic discs, according to McLaren), light alloy wheels and minimal piping contributes further to the MP4-12C's diet.

A unique system called Brake Steer stops the inside rear wheel spinning during fast cornering, acting to cut understeer.

The MP4-12C's suspension has been specially designed to keep body roll to an absolute minimum, using hydraulically interconnected dampers - in place of anti-roll bars - to vary the amount of body roll allowed.

The car's codename-like title - MP4-12C - is almost exactly that. MP4 is the chassis code for the company's F1 cars, the 12 represents the car's score on McLaren's super-secret internal performance ranking, and the C denotes its carbon fibre body.

The 2011 McLaren MP4-12C will launch in Europe from late next year to early 2011, at a price of around AU$250,000. McLaren Automotive aims to offer the MP4-12C in 19 countries around the world, including Australia.

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