2011 McLaren P11 supercar spy shotsEnlarge Photo
When the McLaren F1 first hit the streets it almost immediately catapulted to the top of the performance car scene, taking home the title of world’s fastest production car in 1998 and holding it up until 2005. Building a car better than the original F1 was always going to be a difficult challenge, and perhaps that is why for McLaren’s next supercar the company isn’t setting its sights too high.
While the original F1 competed with the best supercars of its time--cars like the Ferrari F40, Jaguar XK220, and Porsche 959--McLaren’s newest model will be competing with more ‘entry-level’ models. Rather than chasing Enzos and Veyrons, the new model will go up against cars like the Ferrari F430 and Lamborghini Gallardo, and as such it will be priced accordingly.
According to latest reports, McLaren's new supercar will be called the MP4-12C and it’s set for an unveiling this Wednesday. The information comes from McLaren boss Ron Dennis, who also confirmed the company would release two other cars in addition to the MP4-12C over the next six years.
As for the MP4-12C, it is described as a supercar that could be used everyday. It will feature self-adjusting suspension that varies the damper settings according to conditions, a V-8 engine with around 550 horsepower on tap, a seven-speed sequential gearbox and a carbon-fiber chassis with ‘gullwing’ doors that open upwards, not outwards.
The MP4-12C is just the start of a three-fold model roll out of McLaren. As Dennis puts it, McLaren is building more than a car, the company is building a brand. Two new two-seaters will be launched by 2015: one smaller model, to go nose to nose with the Porsche 911, and one bigger, to compete with the Porsche Carrera GT. The production target is 1,000 cars in the first year, rising to 4,000 as new models are introduced.