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McLaren MP4-12C Winning Over Porsche Owners

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On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 10:53AM | By: Chris Weiss


McLaren MP4-12C Winning Over Porsche Owners

When McLaren introduced its MP4-12C last year, it was clear that the car wasn't the top-end beast that the McLaren F1 was during its run in the 90s. While still plenty virile, the MP4-12C boasts a top speed of around 200 mph, well below the once world-record-breaking F1. Perhaps in part because of this more modest appeal, McLaren has been aiming the new model at Porsche owners, rather than owners of more exotic sports cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

McLaren has tried to explain this away by claiming that Ferrari concerns itself more with visuals while Porsche and McLaren prefer a mantra of “substance over style." While that probably sounds good on paper, the McLaren MP4-12C isn't exactly lacking in the style department and seems more congruous with Porsche in terms of performance. Once they bang out another 10 cars that look exactly like MP4-12Cs with various levels of trim and performance, then they can start talking a Porsche-like adherence to substance over style.

The MP4-12C pairs a mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine to a seven-speed Seamless Shift dual-clutch transmission. The engine peaks at 600 hp, and the MP4-12C dashes to 62 mph in under three seconds. The car keeps weight under 2,900 lbs. thanks in part to a 175-lb. carbon fiber monocell chassis.

McLaren plans to build 1,000 MP4-12C models at its McLaren Production Center in the U.K. It has already received about 2,700 expressions of interest. According to Anthony Joseph, head of the company's North American division, most of those potential buyers are Porsche owners.

It should be interesting to see how many of those cited buyers follow through with their purchase. Buy-in for a MP4-12C is significantly more than the average Porsche at over $200,000.

McLaren plans to introduce one new model per year between now and 2015. One of those is expected to be a halo car in the vein of the F1. While McLaren may state the car was built with "substance over style" in mind, that car will undoubtedly be more appealing to owners of supercars out of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti stables.

The 2011 MP4-12C goes on sale next summer in the U.S. It will start at $225,000. McLaren is currently showing several models of the MP4-12C on a tour of dealers around the U.S.


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