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McLaren Details Next Generation of Prototypes [Video]

McLaren has entered the final phase of development for the McLaren MP4-12C.  The company will announce performance details on their new prototypes next month, leading to the car's 2011 market launch.

The company refers to each vehicle as an "experimental prototype," or XP for short.  Shown in the video are the XP8 and XP10, wrapped fully in matte black vinyl, as opposed to black and white camouflage seen on the last round of prototypes.  These vehicles entered testing five weeks ago, according to the company.

In the four-minute long video, the cars can be seen on the road near Montblanc, Spain, and on the track.  The cars use an updated version of the McLaren M838T twin-turbo engine, and a gearbox with optimized ratios.

"Some supercars that we drive are pretty intimidating.  That's something with the MP4-12C that we never really wanted," said McLaren new vehicles director Mark Vinnels.  "Everything we are trying to do with the car is to make the car as easy as possible to drive."

McLaren says that not a minute goes by that the XPs are not tested.  The company has a team of about 25 engineers working on the car in shifts 24/7.

The XP-files: McLaren Automotive reveals details of its next generation of prototypes

Development of the groundbreaking McLaren MP4-12C is entering its final phase. The bespoke high-performance sports car is due to launch in 2011, and right now the latest Experimental Prototype (XP) 12Cs are undergoing intensive appraisal at a number of test locations around the world.

One such site is Spain's Applus IDIADA facility, the most comprehensive independent proving ground in Europe. McLaren Automotive recently obtained special permission to capture on camera the XP Beta cars in action at Applus IDIADA, and on public roads in the foothills near Tarragona. The result is the second in the 'Inside McLaren Automotive' series of short films. This gives viewers a unique insight into a performance car testing programme from the perspective of the development team responsible for the 12C.

Featured in the short film are XP8 and XP10, two XP Beta-phase prototypes. Wrapped almost entirely in matt black vinyl, XP Beta cars are clearly discernable from 2009's XP cars, which were seen in the 'Inside McLaren: Developing the MP4-12C" video sporting a black and white contrasting camouflage exterior.

The XP Beta test cars feature significant technological advancements that take the 12C nearer to production. A revised iteration of the M838T twin-turbo engine, transmission featuring new gear ratios, a more efficient cooling package, new suspension geometry and upgraded electrical architecture are the headline features of current prototypes, denoting key differences between XP and XP Beta cars.

Indicative performance figures generated by the XP Beta cars are expected to be announced in March, but feedback from February's testing suggests that McLaren Automotive's aspirations to out-perform its competitors appear well-founded.

A core team of 20-25 Vehicle Technicians travel with the XP Beta cars and are on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support a test programme that mirrors the intensity of developing a Formula 1 car. Meanwhile, a further 12 Vehicle Development Engineers are responsible for specific technologies and systems being appraised while out on test.

Mark Vinnels, McLaren Automotive Programme Director, is leading the engineering team and said: "There is an extensive list of subjective and objective targets set for our prototype vehicles. These XP Beta cars are already achieving outstanding results in many of the subjective areas, which includes ride quality, handling and many other aspects of dynamic performance.

"The benchmark competitor vehicles we have tested become nervous and twitchy at higher speed, but the 12C feels more stable than anything I have driven. Because the bump rejection is so good, the ride is smooth and the steering is solid."

"Between now and production the vehicles and the team are working flat out. All this is geared towards not just achieving our unprecedented levels of performance but also guaranteeing the levels of quality, reliability and durability with which we expect to delight future McLaren customers."

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Comments (19)

 kuklukklak kuklukklak
This will be direct competitor of the Ferry 458. The 458 looks uglier but somehow more exclusive. Performace verdict must wait till both come out.
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February 25, 2010 3:05 pm
 kevoluetion kevoluetion
Its a nice design, but its lacking character unlike the original. It does look very generic. Lotus inspired?
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February 25, 2010 5:37 am
 McNamara68 McNamara68
i'm not sure mclaren should try and do what mercedes does, meaning they shouldn't try and build an everyday supercar like the slr or the sls. they need to get gordon murray involved and design a proper successor to the f1 instead of this generic and uninspiring crud. he is the reason anyone even remembers the f1, he is the reason it is arguably the greatest hypercar ever.
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February 24, 2010 10:58 pm
 radmeister radmeister
The sound isn't there, the styling isn't there. I'm sorry but after the McLaren F1, the McLaren SLR this car is a serious let down. It's like the British equivalent of the Corvette with the price of an Exotic. To me it resembles more what the new Lotus Esprit V8 TT should of been than a McLaren. The performance might be there, the price is there, but it has none of the passion and styling that come from the angry bull or prancing horse.
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February 24, 2010 10:00 pm
 MTC MTC
it's a clean piece of design, I like it, but it's not pretty as the 458 or as showy as the Gallardo
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February 24, 2010 6:21 pm
 phobos phobos
next generation prototype ? what does it mean ? it is still a prototype right ? is it me or do they want too much with this car ?.. I can'wait to see this MP4 - 12C fighting every inch of the road with the F458 ..wooaahhh that will be the best day for every man
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February 24, 2010 5:01 pm
 Pagani Pagani
Why does this article say 'updated" engine? I thought the engine is brand new.
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February 24, 2010 3:31 pm
 Shaktiman Shaktiman
True... it looks bland, but you won't be caring about those looks when u will be driving it(which should be great)... at least it is not ugly (no arguments) like a Veyron..
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February 24, 2010 1:38 pm
 nederina nederina
The more I look at it, it makes me wonder that it looks like a modern day of the original Honda NSX
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February 24, 2010 1:15 pm
 mohaon mohaon
this is very intresting, i love it all way round, and the interior is stunning, very well done mclaren, thumbs up
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February 24, 2010 12:56 pm
 scratchy996 scratchy996
this car will be really good, but it looks so generic, it's like it's some random car from a low budget video game.
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February 24, 2010 12:18 pm
 autolink autolink
Boring design
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February 24, 2010 10:50 am
 crazy_golf_driver crazy_golf_driver
I agree.... to smooth and to subtle, needs more edge....(got to have the WOW factor) but at least its not ugly.
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February 24, 2010 8:22 am
 carcrazy1234 carcrazy1234
it just looks so bland and original. i want the mclaren to stand out... just like the F1 did. the F1 STILL stands out :) i can't wait for the F1 successor with the central seating position and pure driving exhilaration. THis is nice, but....... its...... too much like "the rest of them" lol aka "just another one of those"... i believe that made sense hahhaha
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February 24, 2010 6:53 am