McLaren’s new road-going supercar has been unveiled in the Middle East. The MP4-12C will arrive with customers in the region in Summer 2011 and an early model has embarked on a tour of the GCC during December.
Based around a high-tech and lightweight carbon-fibre chassis, the AED 900,000 sports car boasts a twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8 with around 600bhp and is the first dedicated road vehicle from McLaren since the fabled F1 in the 1990s.
It aims to take on the likes of the Ferrari 458 Italia and promises outstanding handling, ride and performance while still being safe, economical and practical. Technical aspects of the car come from years of successful motor racing experience at McLaren, most famously in Formula 1.
Although a performance car, McLaren promises that the MP4-12C will be comfortable and practical too.
Speaking at the Dubai launch, Ian Gorsuch, McLaren’s regional director for the Middle East, Africa and Asia, said: “We don’t look at what others have done and say ‘we’ll do better’ – Ferrari makes the best Ferrari. But we’d be naive if we though we wouldn’t be benchmarked. We’ve owned a 458 for some time and we’re very comfortable with how our prototypes are running against it.
“It’s functional, not flashy but also very comfortable. There’s a unique suspension system that means that when you’re out driving hard you have all the hardness that you need but it’s as comfortable as a BMW 5 Series around town.”
Gorsuch said dealers had now been established in the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, as well as a service centre in Beirut, Lebanon.
There is no dealer in Oman though. “We are going to make fewer cars than Ferrari and we have to have fewer dealers to give them enough cars to be profitable,” Gorsuch explained.
The MP4-12C is described as the core model in a future McLaren range that will include both cheaper and more expensive models. All will be two-door, two seat machines with engines behind the driver and are set to be released at a rate of one per year. Expect to hear more about the next model in the range in the next few months.