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McLaren MP4-12C

As much a luxury car as it is a supercar.

The British gentleman to Ferrari’s boisterous 458 Italia, the MP4-12C is a supercar with a measure of restraint. Its styling is far more understated than the Ferrari’s, but the McLaren houses technological innovations taken straight from Formula 1. Chief among them is its carbon-fiber construction. Its advanced suspension trades antiroll bars for a hydraulic system of interconnected dampers that almost completely eliminate unwanted body motions and at the same time allow this supercar to ride almost like a luxury car. Under heavy braking, an air brake deploys in the rear to help slow the vehicle. Rather than rely on displacement and revs, the 12C uses two turbochargers to boost power and keep fuel consumption in check. The 3.8-liter V-8 engine uses a flat-plane crank, like Ferrari’s V-8s, so the sound coming from the high-mounted rear exhausts is pure supercar, and a guttural intake honk dominates in the cabin. By the time the tach needle hits its 8500-rpm redline, the turbos are well out of lung capacity, but the MP4-12C sprints to 62 mph in as little as 3.1 seconds, and top speed is 207 mph. The interior is superbly finished and fabulously refined. This is a supercar that you could easily spend days in — whether beating on Ferraris at the track or running to the supermarket for that special bottle of olive oil.

COMPETITORS

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Ferrari 458 Italia

Lamborghini Gallardo

Porsche 911 GT2 RS

new for 2013

A year after relaunching its road-car business with the MP4-12C Coupe, McLaren has announced its second model, the MP4-12C Spider. The Spider’s power-retractable hard top can be raised or lowered in 17 seconds at speeds up to 19 mph. Also new this year: a power boost that increases the output of the turbocharged V-8 from 592 hp to 616 hp.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

The MP4-12C uses an ultra-strong carbon-fiber monocoque with aluminum crash structures bolted front and rear. It has front air bags, ABS, and traction and stability control, as well as a rear air brake actuated by transmission-fluid pressure.

MPG

CITY 15

HWY 22

PRO

Ferrari-beating performance

Exclusivity

Ultramodern construction

CON

Unproven reliability

Restrained styling

Base Price Range: $241,800–$268,250

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel

TRIM LEVEL: MP4-12C

BODY STYLES: Coupe, convertible, 2-passenger

ENGINE: 3.8L twin-turbo V-8, 616 hp, 443 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: N/A

CARGO SPACE: N/A

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