Initially called the MP4-12C before McLaren dropped the ‘MP4’ a couple years after it first went for sale the 12C was significant due to it being the first road car produced by McLaren since the iconic F1 back in the 1990s. It also signalled McLaren’s attempt to become a serious player in the supercar and performance car stakes and become a major rival to the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini.
The first McLaren 12Cs for sale in the UK were registered midway through 2011 before production ended in 2014 as McLaren replaced it with the 650s. Built in a newly built McLaren factory very local to us in Woking, Surrey the 12C features a 3.8L Twin-Turbo engine and a dual clutch transmission with much of the technology inspired and adapted from Formula 1 where McLaren had been so successful for a number of years.
The 12C is known for it’s blistering performance managing to conjure up an impressive 616bhp after the 2012 updates which McLaren offered free of charge to existing owners. It offers superb handling and smooth ride quality making it a very easy car to use day to day. It is more conservative looking that most supercars though the stunning rear end is often marvelled at and the scissor doors add some drama. There has been much debate about it’s lack of door handles with McLaren opting for a touch sensitive swipe motion to open the doors though this was replaced with an electronic button for the 2013 model year.
A convertible version named the 12C Spider went for sale soon after which featured a hard-top retractable roof and is almost identical to the coupe in terms of it’s set up and performance.
The 12C has been one of our best selling cars over the last few years and though they suffered from steep depreciation from new to used they have now really found their level and are widely considered great value for money and a slightly cheaper alternative to the hugely popular Ferrari 458 Italia, a car which it is very often compared with.