loading Loading please wait....

McLaren 12C: Buying guide and review (2011-2014)

McLaren 12C McLaren 12C McLaren 12C McLaren 12C McLaren 12C McLaren 12C McLaren 12C
When the MP4-12C was launched in early 2011, expectations weren’t just high, they were vertiginous. And, at first sight, the 12C met them all. 
 
Its core was a carbonfibre tub, or ‘MonoCell’, vastly strong but weighing just 75kg, which helped keep the kerb weight to a trim 1434kg. Power came from a 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-plane-crank V8, delivering a fierce 592bhp at 7000rpm and a tidal 442lb ft of torque from 3000 to 7000rpm.
 
It drove the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with ‘Pre-Cog’, and the combination was electrifying. When evo attached a VBOX, it hit 60mph from standstill in 3sec dead and 100mph in a scarcely credible 6.4. It simply trounced its rivals, 458 Italia included.
 
It was smarter, too. The ‘ProActive’ chassis had no anti-roll bars; instead the adaptive dampers at each corner were interconnected hydraulically, side to side and front to rear, to limit roll and pitch as and when required. The resulting ride quality broke new ground for a supercar. Then there was Brake Steer, which braked the inside rear wheel in corners to reduce understeer (no limited-slip diff), an active rear spoiler/air brake, switchable programs for both powertrain and chassis… 
 
Which one to buy? 
 
Hearing all of the above, it might be a bit of a surprise to discover that the 12C was, in the early days, something of a work in progress. The IRIS infotainment system could handle only one function at a time. The touchpad door releases took a practiced hand (they were later replaced by buttons). The shift paddles required a surprising amount of finger effort. The engine noise being piped into the cockpit was less than inspiring…
 
But, over the coming months, McLaren introduced upgrades that addressed virtually all of these things – and threw in some extra power, gratis. What’s more, it gave existing owners the chance to have the upgrades retrofitted, in most cases free of charge (see Checkpoints). And in late 2012 came the excellent Spider version, which sacrificed none of the coupe’s dynamic excellence.
 
By spring 2014, the 12C had been superseded by the 650S. Today, a 12C looks well-priced and a decent long-term investment bet. It also remains one of the fastest and most sophisticated sports cars ever built. 
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine V8, 3799cc, twin-turbo
Power 592bhp @ 7000rpm 
Torque 442lb ft @ 3000-7000rpm  
Transmission Seven-speed dual-clutch, rear-wheel drive, Brake Steer, ESC
0-62mph 3.0sec (tested)
Top speed 205mph (claimed)
Fuel consumption 24.2mpg (claimed)
Insurance group 50
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2670mm
Length 4507mm
Width 1908mm
Height 1199mm
Kerb weight 1434kg
 
Common problems
 
Our guide to the 12C is Alastair Bols, ex-McLaren Knightsbridge, now an Essex-based independent:
 
• The M838T engine is so far proving extremely reliable with no serious recurring issues, even with cars that have covered over 30,000 miles.

• There were early gremlins with various aspects of the car, but McLaren worked hard to eradicate them. The biggest update was at the end of 2012, when there was a free performance upgrade from 592 to 616bhp, along with upgrades to gearbox mapping, throttle mapping and the Intake Sound Generator. There really shouldn’t be any cars now that haven’t had these upgrades.

• The M838T is dry-sumped, but there’s no faff with checking the oil level – it’s displayed on the dash. Servicing isn’t cheap, averaging £1500-2000 per year.

• The other outlay you might want to consider is a warranty. A McLaren warranty is £3400 a year (the first year is included if you buy through ‘McLaren Qualified’). As an independent, Bols can provide a year’s comprehensive warranty for £2000 a year; all his cars come with a six-month warranty included. 

• The Graziano twin-clutch gearbox is generally resilient, but a few cars have suffered leaking internal seals, necessitating a new ’box, so look underneath for leaks.

• Clutches don’t wear out like old automated systems. The dealerships don’t even have a measuring system for clutch wear. It’s simply not an issue.

• The hydraulic suspension system works brilliantly, and suffers very, very few faults. On a test drive you might hear a thump through the carbon tub when wheels hit potholes, but it’s a characteristic rather than a fault.

• Because of Brake Steer, the front and rear pads and discs all wear at a similar rate. Carbon brakes look great, but are very pricey. Only 10 to 15 per cent of UK cars had them. Combined with the air brake, the steel brakes do everything and more that you would want.

• Tyres should be Pirelli P Zero MC1s, specifically developed for the car and stickier than standard P Zeros but no more expensive. The car really should have them.

• The bonnet and front wings are aluminium, other panels SMC (sheet-moulded composite). Check for poor panel alignment or paint mismatching. Also check for scrapes under the chin and chipping on the side intakes.

• Inside, leather and Alcantara was the most popular trim (part leather was standard, full leather another option). All wear well. 

• The original IRIS had software updates at the end of 2012, but at the same time IRIS 2 was introduced on new cars, and (crucially) this included a hardware change, offering fully functioning satnav and Bluetooth. It’s a big improvement and can be retrofitted for around £2700.

• If a car isn’t used weekly, it must be kept on a trickle charger.

Owners' clubs, forums and websites

• mclarenlife.com  
• ascot.mclaren.com 
• london.mclaren.com
• birmingham.mclaren.com
• manchester.mclaren.com
• glasgow.mclaren.com
• alastairbols.com
 
Summary and prices
 
Prices for early 12Cs have levelled out. ‘People are waking up to the fact that it has investment potential,’ says specialist Alastair Bols. ‘I reckon there are 250-300 coupes in the UK, and around 100 Spiders, so not a huge number. About ten per cent of those are on the market.’ Pay £100k-105k for an early car with a fairly standard spec. A 2012 coupe could be as much as £115k, or up to £125k if it’s got lots of carbonfibre extras, IRIS 2, etc. Top money for a 2013/2014 coupe is £135k-140k. Spiders start at £130k.
 
Words: Peter Tomalin/evo magazine
McLaren 12C McLaren 12C McLaren 12C McLaren 12C McLaren 12C McLaren 12C McLaren 12C
Last updated: 18th Jan 2016
collapse this

McLaren 12C cars for sale

7 Search results
McLaren 12C
107950 129995 GBP
  • McLaren MP4

    £123,995 £123,995

    50 % OFF 3 YEAR PREMIUM WARRANTY OFFER, WEAR & TEAR ''INCLUDING WORN PARTS'', PARTS & LABOUR, UPTO CURRENT MARKET VALUE, NATIONWIDE COVER, COURTESY CAR, NO EXCESS, COMPETITIVE 5.9 % APR ON REQUEST, PRICE MATCH GUARANTEED ON LIKE FOR LIKE VEHICLES, LATE NIGHT VIEWINGS BY APPOINTMENT, ALL OUR VEHICLES ARE HPI AND MILEAGE VERIFIED Here We Have A Stunning Mclaren Mp4-12C Finished In Volcano Orange With Black Alcantara Interior With Orange Stitching Complimented With Carbon Fibre Interior Trim, Front Splitter And Sills. This Stunning Example Comes With A Factory Power Upgrade & And The Latest Software Update. It Also Has Full Mclaren Service History And Has Just Been Serviced At Birmingham With A Great Specification Including Satellite Navigation, Front And Rear Pdc, Electric Heated Memory Seats, Gloss Black Wheels 20'' Rears & 19'' Fronts, Xenon Headlights, Meridian Sound System, A 3Yr Warranty Is Available Which Is Normally £3995 But For A Limited Period We Are Offering A 50% Warranty Contribution Leaving £1995 To Pay.

    • Mileage: 7000 mi
    • Engine size: 3798
    For sale
    Topcars of Sheffield
  • MCLAREN 12C MP4-12C

    £116,000 £116,000

    Features For more info on this vehicle call our showroom on 01708 687670 This car has covered 10513 miles, is a 3 owner vehicle and is Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the above information but errors may occur. Please check with a salesperson.

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 10513 mi
    For sale
  • McLaren 12C

    £114,950 £114,950

    Cruise Control Romans are proud to offer this stunning 2011/61 McLaren 12C for sale presented in 'Volcano Orange' with Black Leather & Alcantara. This fantastic low mileagecar comes with abig specification andhas to be one of the best examples currently on the market. Colour: Volcano Orange with Black Leather & Alcantara, Price: £114,950 Engine: 3.8L V8 Twin-Turbo, Mileage: 5,710 Transmission: Automatic, Body Style: Coupe Fuel: Petrol, Extras, Carbon Wheel Arches, Carbon Sills, Carbon Engine Cover, Carbon Interior Pack, Sports Exhaust, Electric Heated Seats, Meridian Sound System, Front & Rear Park Assist, Contrast Stitching, Iris Satellite Navigation, Immaculate Condition! Features, 19'' Front & 20'' Rear 5 Spoke Cast Alloys, Bi-xenon Headlights with Washers, Power-folding & Heated Exterior Mirrors, LED Driving Lights, Active Airbrake, Adaptive Suspension with Three Driving Modes, Cruise Control, Manually Adjustable Seats (power height adjustment for the driver), Leather Upholstery and Trim with Faux Suede Seat Inserts, 7-inch Touchscreen Display and Four-speaker Stereo with Bluetooth Streaming Audio, USB Port and iPod Integration.

    • Mileage: 5710 mi
    • Engine size: 3800
    For sale
  • McLaren MP4

    £107,950 £107,950

    McLaren Service History, Meridian Sound , Bluetooth, Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Memory Seats, Powered Folding Mirrors, Satellite Navigation, Xenon Headlamps, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Keyless Entry, Locking Wheel Nuts, Tracker Fitted, Electric Seats, Heated Seats, Sports Seats, Rear Spoiler, Multiple Airbags, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Trip Computer, Traction Control, Stability Control, Push Button Start, Speed Sensitive Rear Spoiler, Full service history

    • Mileage: 17700 mi
    • Engine size: 3798
    For sale
  • McLaren 12C

    £114,950 £114,950

    Cruise Control Romans are proud to offer this stunning 2011/61 McLaren 12C for sale presented in 'Volcano Orange' with Black Leather & Alcantara. This fantastic low mileagecar comes with abig specification andhas to be one of the best examples currently on the market. Colour: Volcano Orange with Black Leather & Alcantara, Price: £114,950 Engine: 3.8L V8 Twin-Turbo, Mileage: 5,710 Transmission: Automatic, Body Style: Coupe Fuel: Petrol, Extras, Carbon Wheel Arches, Carbon Sills, Carbon Engine Cover, Carbon Interior Pack, Sports Exhaust, Electric Heated Seats, Meridian Sound System, Front & Rear Park Assist, Contrast Stitching, Iris Satellite Navigation, Immaculate Condition! Features, 19'' Front & 20'' Rear 5 Spoke Cast Alloys, Bi-xenon Headlights with Washers, Power-folding & Heated Exterior Mirrors, LED Driving Lights, Active Airbrake, Adaptive Suspension with Three Driving Modes, Cruise Control, Manually Adjustable Seats (power height adjustment for the driver), Leather Upholstery and Trim with Faux Suede Seat Inserts, 7-inch Touchscreen Display and Four-speaker Stereo with Bluetooth Streaming Audio, USB Port and iPod Integration.

    • Mileage: 5710 mi
    • Engine size: 3800
    For sale
  • McLaren 12C

    £129,995 £129,995

    VAT QUALIFYING/MCLAREN WARRANTY/LARINI SPORTS EXHAUST, 1 YEAR MCLAREN WARRANTY, FULL MCLAREN SERVICE, RECENT SERVICE AT MANCHESTER MCLAREN,, 2 seats, Metallic black, extended alcantara, red stitching, interior carbon pack and steering wheel, Iris 2, Larini Sports exhaust (original available), Carbon rear wing, Red callipers, Vat qualifying, 12 months manufacturers warranty remaining, THB BOSCH APPROVED DEALER; Overnight Stay or Nationwide Delivery available. DREAM IT. DRIVE IT. Visit thboler.com for a full set of pictures for this vehicle, PEACE OF MIND with our own fully comprehensive BOSCH approved Warranty. Buy your car from one of the largest independent car dealers in the UK with a unique service centre and kids play area. 3 Month THB WARRANTY INCLUDED. Visit our website thboler.com for more details. ALL MAJOR PAYMENT METHODS ACCEPTED. ALL P/X WELCOME, OR FOR AN UNBEATABLE FINANCE QUOTATION PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE WWW.THBOLER.COM. OPEN 24/7. NATIONWIDE + INTERNATIONAL DELIVERY AVAILABLE. CONTACT US FOR DETAILS ON OUR FLEXIBLE TEST DRIVE PROGRAMME. We try to make every advert as accurate as possible but some errors can occur. Please make sure you have checked the specification carefully

    • Mileage: 18000 mi
    • Engine size: 3798
    For sale
Related Specification
Related content