Sunday, August 28, 2011

McLaren Preparing New Models Including an MP4-12C Cabrio and a Lamborghini Aventador Rival

When the launch of your first and your second road models are separated by close to two decades (19 years to be exact), then you hardly qualify as a car manufacturer.
That is the case with McLaren: production of the extraordinary F1 begun in 1992 and stopped almost 100 cars later in 1998. Deliveries of its second production model, the MP4-12C, have just begun. Therefore, McLaren may be a big name in Formula 1, but it lacks Ferrari’s cache and experience in production models.
The Woking-based company plans to change this –and soon. The MP4-12C is just the first of a range of supercars that McLaren Automotive plans to launch in the next years –hence the new £40m ($63 million) McLaren Production Center factory and the brand’s rapidly expanding dealership network around the world.
Furthermore, as we reported, the company is planning to spend no less than $1 billion in the next few years to develop its new range. The brand’s managing director Anthony Sheriff said that McLaren has already spent £250 million ($400 million) in building 73 MP4-12C prototypes and covering more than 625,000 miles (1.0 million km) in development.
Obviously, you don’t make this kind of investment for just one model. McLaren even built eight crash prototypes to ensure that the carbon fiber monocell tub met all global safety standards.
That’s because it will underpin not just the MP4-12C, but all future McLaren models which will also feature a mid-engine layout. It may cost more to develop, but in the end, it proves more economical because you don’t have to invest in developing a new chassis or tooling equipment.
The 3.8-liter V8, 600HP MP4-12C, code-named P11, is positioned in the middle of McLaren’s range, rivaling models such as Ferrari’s 458 Italia and Lamborghini’s Gallardo. So far, it has proven a worthy, and in the track at least more capable, adversary. Moreover, McLaren made some last minute changes.
According to a report from Motor Trend, the next model in McLaren’s range bears the code-name P12 and is placed above the MP4-12C, as a successor to the 1992 F1 and a rival to hypercars such as Lamborghini’s Aventador.
It will deliver 800HP or possibly even more, but its weight will be similar to that of the MP4-12C because it will use carbon fiber in the crash structures and the body panels, which in the 12C are made of aluminum.
It will also feature more aerodynamic and electronic aids, such as active aero and brake steer, making sure that the handling matches the performance.
The P12 will be followed by the P13, placed below the MP4-12C and intended to rival cars such as the Porsche 911 Turbo and Audi’s V10 R8.
Each model will also have different variants: for example, the 12C already has the GT3 racing version, and an open top is on the designing board. Sheriff insists that all new cars “will be true McLarens. Everything we do will have performance and handling that’s the best in its segment.”
How many cars does McLaren intend to make? Its annual capacity doesn’t exceed 4,000 units. So if you subtract the 1,300 MP4-12Cs and, as sources within the company claim, 2,500 P13s, that leaves just 200 of the top of the line P12 per year.
When can we expect the new McLarens? Sooner than you’d think: the P12 is said to be shown in 2013, and the P13 just one year later.


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