While enjoying the relative peacefulness that is rural Pennsylvania, it was brought to my attention that McLaren Philadelphia was not in Philadelphia, but in West Chester. As it turns out, I was VERY near West Chester and suddenly had the intense urge to surround myself with beautiful machinery and enjoy the company of the good fellows at McLaren Philadelphia.
Of supreme interest upon arrival at the beautiful, modern structure were what occupied the parking lot around it. The pre-owned inventory on the premises looks like an exotics autoshow. Supercar owners of all sorts seem to trade up to the McLaren MP4-12C. It may be a bit surprising, but considering the vehicle, who can blame them? Supertrofeo boring you a bit? McLaren. Corvette ZR1 not rare enough? McLaren. Audi R8 feeling just a bit too Hollywood lately? McLaren.
The General Manager shared some insight and time to let me know a bit about the store, the cars in stock, the upcoming open-top MP4-12C Spider, and the recently debuted (and more simply-named) P1. One of only 9 McLaren showrooms in the US, this dealership has been responsible for about 10% of all sales in North America.
A major point in McLaren’s favor: an impressive showing of its racing pedigree with a McLaren Formula 1 race car on display. This is the actual, 3-race-winning M26 which ran in 1977 and 1978.
How cool is it that a prospective 12C buyer can acquaint himself with 35-year-old race technology that obviously informed so many performance cars after it? Some of that tech: all-aluminum monococque, inboard disc brakes and suspension, and a mid-mounted 3.0 liter Ford-Cosworth V8 putting out approximatel 470 HP. All sitting there to be appreciated while mulling over the intricacies of color and equipment selection on your modern-day street legal McLaren. Very, very cool.
Pride in the brand and its history show through, certainly. But there’s a definite pride in current product as well; a bare MP4-12C chassis is nearby showing off its technology: carbon fiber monocoque tub, aluminum subframes, beautiful suspension, awesome powerplant–did you know this is the first-ever scratch-built McLaren engine? Compact, efficient, and lightweight, the 3.8 liter twin turbocharged V8 produces an impressive 592 BHP and 443 lb-ft of torque. Interestingly, McLaren has announced it has already developed some minor performance modifications that will be made standard for 2013 MY and applied to all customer cars free of charge. These tweaks are said to add about 25 BHP without affecting emissions or fuel economy. [Yes, that’s correct, that makes 617bhp]
This superb HP rating is combined with a weight-savings obsession. For example: magnesium is used instead of steel for the 12C’s IP support structure–this saves almost 20lbs. The standard aluminum and iron brakes actually weigh less than the car’s optional carbon-ceramics. The carbon fiber occupant tub weighs less than 200lbs.
No wonder the 0-60 is 3.0 seconds.
The Spider is sure to secure McLaren more customers and net the brand even more exposure as it will inevitably become less of a rarity on the streets as more and more well-heeled automotive connoisseurs take delivery. How much will this change once the P1 is available? Unknown, but the outlook: extremely good.
Please enjoy the gallery of far-too-many photographs. I couldn’t help myself.
For more details on McLaren Philadelphia, check out their site.
For official photos and videos of the MP4-12C, the 12C Spider, and the P1, click here.
And for more on all things McLaren, including their Formula 1 efforts, visit McLaren Group.