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by Mark Hacking

Toronto, Canada—Some cars look good in pictures, but not that great up close and in person. Examples of this phenomenon include the Tesla Roadster, which cuts a sporting figure in 2D, but comes across as a glorified kit car in person.

On the other side of the ledger, there are those cars that seem on the bland side when captured in photos, but make a far better impression in person.

Of these, the 2012 McLaren MP4-12C might be one of the most striking examples ever produced in automotive history.

At a recent press luncheon hosted by McLaren Automotive, select individuals were given the chance to take a closer look at this hotly anticipated super-sports car—and that look revealed how much care has gone into its creation.

The engine compartment alone is worthy of a feature-length film: the car’s purpose-built twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8 is covered in a series of carbon fibre panels that serve to create an absurdest work of art. But that’s just the start.

The dihedral door design is another thing of beauty. The front splitter, various air intakes and rear diffuser with integrated exhaust tips offer proof positive that the MP4-12C has spent its fair share of time in the wind tunnel.

And, inside, the McLaren boasts a driver-oriented cabin that includes custom switchgear and a steering wheel modeled after their Formula One car’s hand grips.

But for all the exquisite design exhibited by this very special car, the true aficionados out there will be most impressed with the following: the seven-speed dual-clutch Seamless Shift Gearbox, three drive modes including a track setting, four suspension modes including a track setting, launch control, the airbrake, brake steer, 441kW of power, 600Nm of torque, a 0-100km/h time of less than four seconds and a top speed somewhere north of 320km/h.

The 2012 McLaren MP4-12C will appear in showrooms around the world in the middle 2011 and will be priced from US$225,000—$250,000* (AU$250,000-$270,000, not including import taxes etc.).

That’s certainly a lot of money. But the MP4-12C promises to be a lot of car.

*Options over and above the base price will include carbon-ceramic brakes and a track data feature with three on-board cameras and data acquisition.




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