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Mike Stevens | May 9, 2011

McLaren's new MP4-12C supercar, unveiled internationally in late 2009, is ready for its Australian sales debut. And with nearly 450kW on tap and a circa-$500k price tag, it's ready to compete with Ferrari's 416kW $526,000 458 Italia.

Exact pricing has still to be confirmed, but that hasn't stopped 25 eager Australians from laying down a deposit on the first of McLaren's new range of supercars.

Some will have to wait, however: Australia's allocation is limited to around 15 cars for the first year of production, with a further 40 locked in for delivery in 2012.

The MP4-12C is powered by a new, McLaren-designed and Ricardo-built twin-turbo V8 engine, developing 441kW at 7000rpm and 600Nm of torque at 3000rpm. McLaren promises that nearly 80 percent of that torque is on hand from below 2000rpm.

The 0-100km/h sprint is covered in "just over" three seconds. Estimates vary and official numbers haven't been offered, but at the very least, the MP4-12C in in the company of McLaren's legendary F1, Ferrari's Enzo hero car and the brand-new Lamborghini Aventador.

Top speed is listed as 322km/h, with the 200km/h mark coming up in a claimed 8.9 seconds.

Power is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. McLaren calls this 'Seamless Shift', a system which offers a number of driving modes, including Auto, Sport and Winter. There's also a Launch Control setting.

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

mclaren mp4 12c p11 official 14.jpg

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.

The MP4-12C's development programme have seen the weight of the monocell chassis dropped to below 80kg, and in its standard form, the total finished weight is bang-on 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.

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