• Aug 13, 2010

McLaren MP4-12C North American debut – Click above for high-res image gallery

With a burst of light and a swoosh of its car cover, the McLaren MP4-12C made its North American debut this evening in Pebble Beach. Gooding auctions unveiled the new supercar at its preview reception, the same locale that has seen the debuts of other significant vehicles from the past few years – namely the Rolls-Royce Hyperion and the Pininfarina P4/5. But tonight McLaren was definitely the star of the show. Besides giving Americans their first glimpse of its latest model, McLaren also talked a bit about the new company they are introducing to build and sell not just the MP4-12C, but a whole range of road vehicles.

This isn't like the way things were done with the F1, where it was basically a special project inside the technical and racing operations...no, it's a whole new passenger car company that will have an assortment of vehicles apparently. In fact, McLaren Automotive has already announced the list of 35 cities that will be hosting McLaren dealerships, and the rumor mill is in full swing telling us that a successor to the big-daddy F1 is in the cards for as early as 2012. The last bit of info we gleened from the presentation was that they seemed to talk a lot about their winning history in both Formula 1 and sports car racing and how they love to win. Perhaps a not-so-subtle hint that a racing version of the MP4-12C will be built? Makes sense to us. While we're waiting for spy shots of that project, do yourself a favor and check out the hot new McLaren in our gallery below.

Photos Copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Loved the F1 but this design leaves me cold. Who did
      they get to build them their engine this time? BMW is no
      longer associated with McLaren so is it MB? In my
      book (as in Enzo Ferrari's) if you don't build your own
      engines then for as good as you are, you are a 'garagista'
      and McLaren have never built their own motors to my
      knowledge. They've always wanted to be Ferrari in F1
      and now want to be Ferrari in sports/super cars but there
      really is only one Ferrari while this is a very sophisticated
      and refined hot rod.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually McLaren's building their own engine on this one... And IMO, the fact no road going ferrari has ever touched the F1 already places McLaren's road cars at least on par with Maranello.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Flyboy, I love the F1 as much as the next guy, and if the only measuring stick is top speed, then yes, you are correct with the Ferrari statement. But in other areas such as handling, the F1 (road car) was disappointingly average, especially compared to modern supercars. Its skidpad was .87g and it's slalom speed was 64 MPH. Not really amazing by any stretch. Even the new Mustang bests both numbers.

        Then again the Mustang could never win Le Mans with a bit of tweaking...
        • 4 Years Ago
        They built their own engine, lol
      • 4 Years Ago
      It looks good, but like the F1 before it, looks more a copy of yet another Italian supercar F1 - Diablo, MP4 - Gallardo). Its really not as original as I'd hoped it to be. Still I like its compact stature, and those HUGE rear panel intakes, signature McLaren. Nice car, but the aesthetics aint cutting edge enough for 250k.
        • 4 Years Ago
        While I don't agree that McLaren resembles Diablo I agree that McLaren is nothing special when it comes to the looks.
        I believe whoever says the new McL is boring while praising the old one for its looks is biased heavily because McLaren F1 was probably the first supercar he ever saw.

        F1 had the right proportions (unlike 458 these days) and had no disturbing angles (unlike 458), but _compared to other supercars like Diablo or Countach_ there was nothing special on its looks.
        And I believe that applies to the MP4-12C too - no breakthrough design-wise but it has all the right proportions and curves.

        I love the new one also for how it looks.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hehe, I can't believe he got back on to defend.

        Look, I disagree. It doesn't mean you hurt my feelings. I'm just blunt about my level of disagreement. You said the cars from Maclaren are "copies" of Lamborghinis and I don't think I can disagree any more vociferously. The F1 looks no more like a Diablo than a Infiniti G35 looks like a Mercedes C-Class. Dear Heavens! The C-Class has a hood, trunk, 4 doors, and front engine, rear drive layout! Mercedes copied Nissan!

        And just for the record, a Diablo has scissor doors. An F1 has butterfly doors. Is every car with standard doors a copy of every other car with standard doors? If so, then by your logic, the F1 couldn't be any more different than the Diablo since its doors open in a completely different way.

        So to re-iterate... you are, of course, entitled to your opinion in this matter. Your opinion just happens to be wrong.

        And Yaroukh, when I was 12 I had a 6 foot long poster of a black Countach on my wall. Like most car obssessed kids in the 80's, it was my favorite car. I also had a poster of a BMW M1 which I thought was pretty badass. I religiously perused the pages of car magazines and was sketching my own car designs on a weekly basis. When the production of the F1 started in 1992 I was 17 and I instantly fell in love. The Diablo just looked... FAT in comparison. The F1 still is, to this day, my all time favorite supercar. I think its combination of appearance, engineering, performance and purpose are still unsurpassed, especially for the time period. There may be modern cars that have surpassed in one area or the other, or have come close to matching in all areas, but that combination of attributes is a rare and beautiful thing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        OK, just the fact that you think an F1 is a copy of a Diablo means you have lost all credibility. I'll admit that the MP4 doesn't look all that special, nice but not unique, but the F1 is in a completely different ballpark and looks nothing like ANY Lamborghini. Hell, even the MP4 doesn't look like a Gallardo. The MP4 is soft and the Gallardo is chiseled. Sure they have similar profiles, but they are also both mid engined supercars. The profile kind of goes along with the segment.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wow, hurt your feelings much? If you cant see in any way how the F1 (fatback, scissor doors, et c.) resembles a Diablo, you are quite the fool. Same with Gallardo, which you actually supported my idea by saying its "Sure they have similar profiles, but they are also both mid engined supercars. The profile kind of goes along with the segment. " They are familiar body shapes. An 'Egg doesn't share their looks, nor does a GT3. Sure ones softer than another, but still it has the same profile, same dimensions., which is exactly what I meant when I said that. And since the Diablo and Gallardo came before the F1 and MP4 respectively, Mac gets the charge for copycat profile. As I said, for 250k, I expected more attention to unique aesthetics.
        • 4 Years Ago
        One more thing I forgot. Yaroukh you claim that the original F1 was much like this new one. Proportionally perfect but not breaking new ground. I beg to differ. Proportionally, yes it was amazing, but it also, in my opinion, broke new ground. The butterfly doors, for one, were a new thing. If you can name another car that had them at the time then you'll win the internet. A lot of supercars of the time had minimal rear overhangs but the F1 took it to the extreme. It also eschewed pop-up headlamps for more aerodynamic covered units. The roof mounted intake was another relatively new concept. And lets not forget the center seating position.

        As far as it's overall lines, lets look at some of its contemporaries. Most were either too soft and doughy (Diablo, XJ220) or very sharp and angular (F40, Esprit). The F1 seemed to perfectly balance softness with tension to create a very balanced and fresh look.

        In contrast, this new one, while an attractive car and surely competent, seems to rely on styling cues and proportions that have already been fleshed out by previous cars. It doesn't directly copy them, but it also doesn't depart from them. It's not wrong, but it's just not what I was hoping for. It doesn't give me the visual thrill that the F1 gave me and in some ways still does. That's just my take on it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, what a difference a set of wheels can make. The one's in the press photos look bland and uninspiring.

      These though, very nice.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think it still looks bland and uninspiring. People are not going to care as much about a fast car if it doesn't look good or at least eccentric while going fast.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wonderful car I'm sure, but the name is the worst I've ever seen for used for an automobile. I mean seriously, what the heck is an MP4-12C???? Everyone knows what F1 meant, but what does this new name mean?
      • 4 Years Ago
      looks dated in pics....looks like a million bucks in real life.

      I'll take this timeless clean design in red please.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is ridiculous. America doesn't need another car supercar. It needs another small truck.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It really is fabulous, ive always seen Ferrari as the most meticulous to detail auto manufacturing and race technology in the world, but McLaren has just bought the game to a whole new level.

      They will be the next big supercar manufacturer, and i can't wait to see some British competition next to the Italians and Germans!
        • 4 Years Ago
        McLaren have made one car. They are a tried and tested formula 1 team yes, but not a mainstream supercar manufacturer, until now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Maybe McLaren will beat Ferrari on the road just like they do on the track.
        • 4 Years Ago
        458 > this

        this design is already look very very tired.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They brought the game to a whole new level with the F1, so this is nothing new to them. That car is/was known for having the highest quality of perfection throughout every square inch, even in places you'd never see.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I saw this yesterday. Beautifully designed, in a way you have to see in three dimensions. Carbon chassis is a big selling point vs. the 458. A lot of the Ferrari and Lamborghini owners were conceding how impressive this is. And the McLaren name? It definitely appears to have the weight and credibility to sell a car of this price.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What's the difference between North American and ROW spec?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The next big supercar manufacturer? McLaren created the F1, arguably one of the biggest breakthroughs in the supercar world. Not to mention their highly competitive F1 racing team. McLaren is no new comer to the high performance automotive world. This car is gorgeous and fantastically well engineered (I'm sure), but it isn't "taking the game to a whole new level." The MP4 isn't a revolutionary car. Extraordinary, yes, but in the end it's just another modern supercar.

        That said, yes, I absolutely love this car. I can't wait to see the MP4 take on the Italia and Gallardo successor. As big as the Ford-Chevy-Dodge war is, I love the Ferrari-McLaren-Lamborghini war just as much!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gotta agree about the styling, this thing is already as tired as the C5 Vette was when it came out. It may drive great but there are tons of older cars people will notice before this one.
      • 4 Years Ago

      Actually - "The butterfly doors, for one, were a new thing. If you can name another car that had them at the time then you'll win the internet"... It is well known and acknowledged by Gordon Murray that his inspiration for the F1 door design was from a little Toyota JDM car called the Sera. Original or new? Not Quite.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Magnificent, as always. But the $250,000 question is whether people would actually plonk down the dough for a relatively bland looker when they can get a spectacular 458 with a Ferrari badge in the same price segment?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Its probably a matter of taste anyway but... I really dont like the rear of the Ferrari, the front I can handle (even though there are a few odd details that strike out) and the curves I really enjoy.

        McLaren on the other hand, though safe, is a nice looking car all round (at least to me).
        • 4 Years Ago
        It may be bland, but i for one don't think the 458 is quite as spectacular as "clarkson" would lead you to believe. Its definitely outrageous, i just don't think the front is pretty.

        The McLaren has arguably more brand prestige, and will no doubt be faster.

        I don't think they'll have a problem selling them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Have to agree with Jim R, completely.

        458 may be an amazing machine, technically, but the aesthetics are not doing it for me at all, and I do like ferraris before the current generation.

        The McLaren is better looking, and just as technically interesting, if not moreso. And I love the way McLaren cars open their doors.

        The only thing "safe" about this design, is the fact that it isn't a bad, over-wrought design.

        The silver looks quite good, but I still want to see one in sapphire blue with silver and carbon-fiber accents.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed. Amazing dynamically, but style-wise it's dull and derivative (for a supercar, that is). It could carry any badge on that front. There's no mistaking a Ferrari, Lambo, Aston or Porsche, so McLaren should really work on developing a brand identity.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If it were me, I'd take this over the Ferrari. I don't understand why everyone is automatically in love with the 458. I don't think it's attractive at all. The proportions to me are all wrong, there are awkward curves where there shouldn't be and the front end is a total mess. It looks like they were trying too hard. This is more my style.
      • 4 Years Ago
      McLaren MP4-12C is going to be a win, triple crown?! And the design is awesome! It totally beat Lambo and Aston! I think Ferrari is going down!

      • 4 Years Ago
      The McLaren already has the biggest handicap against it - it's not performance or technology that sells supercars, it's the looks.

      The MP4-12C may be the better machine but the design is just so very derivative. Ferrari's 458 Italia is *utterly stunning* in person, far more so than the photos suggest.

      These machines are bought as status symbols and to impress the Girls, numbers are only of meaning to the guys...and I for one, couldn't care less about impressing some dude.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Spoken like an eighteen year old. Frankly, I could care less about impressing women. If you need a car to impress the women you need to work on your game. I've been happily married for decades, and my wife didn't marry me for the car I drove back then :).

        The 12C's styling is understated. I quite like that, and apparently many agree with me. Mclaren has already received enough serious inquiries to keep 12C going for two years.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Re: evile

        What utter nonsense - I've been married for 16yrs - if you prefer the kudos of some guy on the street to the attention of a beautiful Woman; you should simply vasectomize yourself now - you aren't a much of Man.

        I purchased my first Ferrari straight out of Med school & have owned all manner of machinery since. These machines performance can't be exploited on the street...the sex matters - and the way I look behind the wheel is a big reason I continue to buy. Honestly, I'm more then a bit disappointed I have to explain that to another heterosexual Man.

        Track's are for junkies - anyone who's just purchased a car worth more than the average home doesn't take the chance of ruining that $8000 paint job.

        The Jaguar XJ220 sold out too. Big success, that.
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