McLaren MP4-12C Updated

(Thursday 7 June 2012)

McLaren MP4-12C.

McLaren's MP4-12C supercar hardly seems to have been on the market for more than a few days, but it's already being substantially revised, with 2013 model year cars becoming available in October.

The most immediately attention-grabbing change is an increase in the 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine's maximum power output from 592bhp to 616bhp (or, in European, from 600PS to 625PS). This doesn't affect the 3.1-second 0-62mph time, which in a car like this isn't representative of very much, but it does lead to an improvement in the 0-124mph time from 8.9 to 8.8 seconds, and makes the car a full second quicker from 0-186mph at 26.5 seconds.

The top speed is marginally higher, the extra 24bhp being enough to raise it from 205mph to 207mph.

Modifications have been made to the seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox in the interests of faster and smoother gearchanges, and the driver can control the amount of engine intake noise entering the cabin, a feature previously determined by which Powertrain mode the car was in. On a more practical note there's now a Vehicle Lift option which raises the front by 40mm and the rear by 25mm at speeds up to 37mph.

In one respect McLaren is taking a technological step back. MP4-12Cs have until now had touch sensors for opening the doors, but customers didn't like that and from now on they will be replaced by buttons.

The large number of other changes are either more minor or more related to styling than the ones mentioned so far. Perhaps anticipating questions about why so many changes were needed so soon after production began, McLaren Automotive MD Antony Sheriff points out that "given our racing heritage, it is in our nature to continuously seek out improvements".

For current owners who might not be impressed by this, McLaren is supplying an upgrade package at no extra cost. Not everything mentioned above is included, but the engine and gearbox revisions are.

"No extra cost" does not, however, describe the switch from 2012 to 2013 model year. Without options, a new MP4-12C will cost £176,000, up from the current £168,500.

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