Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 15 years, you’ve probably heard of a little supercar known as the McLaren F1, which effectively re-wrote the rules on high performance automobiles.

Can you believe this design is 18 years old?

Can you believe this design is 18 years old?

It was very fast (231mph top speed) ripped through corners with glee (unlike that other supercar, the Bugatti Veyron, which relies heavily on it’s all-wheel drive system), and managed all of this with three seats and a naturally aspirated BMW V12. With fewer than 70 cars built, they are still very pricey and typically trade for around $1.5M (if someone is willing to part with one, which few are).

While McLaren has continued co-development on other production cars (notably the Mercedes SLR) they have had yet to introduce a spiritual (mid-engine) variant of the hallowed F1. That is, until they released the first official photos of the MP4-12C yesterday:

Ooooo.... Ahhhhh...

Gallardo.. who?

Now let me be clear: this car isn’t supposed to tangle with the likes of Bugatti or the SSC Aero. It’s priced in the $250k range, which puts the new Ferrari 458 Italia squarely in it’s sights- and with a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine producing around 600 horsepower and a low curb weight (the carbon fiber tub weighs just 176 pounds) it might just be the deal of the century.

Check out this video from autocar.co.uk of Jay Leno getting an exclusive sneak peak at the car (then internally known as P11) at the McLaren factory:

Chris

When not at ESM, Chris can be found cycling up and down the Santa Monica Bay, re-engineering a turkey fryer into a pizza oven or reading about survival techniques in the Gobi desert.