If you were impressed by the MP4-12C, well, you should be. It's an otherworldly performance machine. But we ain't seen nothing yet from McLaren Automotive, which is gearing up to launch an even more capable supercar.
Whereas the 12C is targeted at the Ferrari 458 Italia, the next project down the pipeline is more along the lines of a successor to the iconic McLaren F1, a car to rival the likes of the Bugatti Veyron and Pagani Huayra – that elite class of million-dollar hypercar you're not likely to see anywhere but on Rodeo Drive, at the Monte Carlo harborfront or a closed-off section of highway along the Persian Gulf.
According to the UK's CAR magazine, McLaren is expected to employ a version of the same 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 developed for the 12C, but with 799 horsepower on tap and one crucial addition: Kenetic Energy Recovery System, a.k.a. KERS. That could make the vehicle codenamed P12 (following the P11 handle carried by the 12C while in development) one of the first supercars to use the system designed for Formula 1 and currently being developed for road use by Ferrari, Porsche and Jaguar for their upcoming supercars.
Early prototypes reportedly incorporated a big red KERS boost button on a steering wheel closer in size and shape to an F1 cockpit's than a conventional rim, but if you were hoping for a 1+2 seating arrangement with central driving position like in the original McLaren F1, we'll have to stop you right there, as the packaging of such a layout reportedly proved prohibitive for the new P12.
As dynamically polished as the 12C emerged, its design was derided as somewhat derivative. That's largely because McLaren didn't bring celebrated designer Frank Stephenson on board until the car's design was already pretty much finalized. This reportedly being Stephenson's first clean-sheet design since arriving at McLaren HQ in Woking, we're expecting big things when the P12 debuts sometime this year.