ADDING LIGHTNESS

Sep 9, 2009

Light weight and performance are defining philosophies at McLaren. But outright power alone is of little significance if a car’s weight saps output or if that power is unmanageable and compromises the driving experience or results in unacceptable emissions.

Fundamentally, it is critical to keep weight as low as possible. Increased customer demands for safety and advanced features all mean that shaving weight is difficult. However, at McLaren saving weight remains a passion and at the heart of the McLaren MP4-12C is a carbon fibre composite chassis: the Carbon MonoCell.

This revolutionary structure is the automotive version of a McLaren motor racing innovation from the 1981 MP4/1 Formula 1 car. It is not only the nucleus of a fast, safe, clean and light car, but through its revolutionary one-piece moulding manufacturing technique, also presents a unique structure that allows greater freedom for innovative packaging and interior design.

The MonoCell allows for a creativity of interior design that sets new standards. The whole focus is on making the 12C cockpit uniquely spacious and functional – in car that is actually narrower than competitors. The interior styling then offers a symmetry that wraps around the occupants and makes them feel physically and emotionally comfortable.

The interior uses space well and is designed to accommodate 98thpercentile adults in comfort. This has been partly achieved by the touch screen telematics system oriented in ‘portrait’ mode. This is a first for the car industry and is more logical - we read down a page and our mobile telephones and other personal information devices are configured this way.

This is one reason why the 12C design is able to buck the trend towards ever wider sporting cars. The innovative information centre provides all normal telematics functions such as audio, navigation and telephony, while providing some new features never before seen in a car. Meridian, the renowned producer of state-of-the-art sound systems, is developing its first ever in car system for the 12C.

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