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2012 McLaren MP4-12C (Ex. Jenson Button)


  • Engine: 3.8 litre V8 Twin Turbo

  • Transmission: 7 Speed DCT

  • Mileage: 12,000 km

  • Exterior: White Pearl

  • Interior : Harissa Red /Black Leather

  • Chassis: -

  • Engine No. -

  • Location: Gloucestershire, UK

  • Registration: UK

  • LHD

Model History:

The MP4-12C was the first of the new generation of McLaren road cars which started in conception in the early 2000s. The genesis of the car was codenamed Project 8, the first concept was powered by a Mercedes 5.5L V8 and featured shared components with the Mercedes Benz Family. Project 8 was then evolved into Project 11 in 2005 and still planned to use the larger naturally aspirate engine and other Mercedes Benz components until a few years into the development when McLaren chose to take a new direction and develop its own powertrain and electrical systems, more suited the the high objectives the project had. The car was re-styled by contracted designers in house from Pininfarina and re-packaged into what eventually became the MP4-12C.  The philosophy was simple: Using a Formula One approach to create a car which challenged the usual compromises that supercars were perceived to have. Comfort and the expense of performance, usability, efficiency and the list goes on. The technological tour de force that became was the MP4-12C did exactly this. 

Launched to the world in September 2009, the highly anticipated first 'volume' production road car was met with some mixed emotions. Good was the potential of the technology and specification of the car itself. A new technology in Carbon chassis manufacture meant the 12C was the first car to have a carbon fibre chassis in its segment, making it light and stiff with the usual ride and handling benefits, not to mention safety. An incredible novel hydraulic suspension gave the car incredible handling and comfort thanks to its variable roll stiffness and ability to de-couple this when necessary. The  race derived M838T 3.8 litre twin turbo charged engine produced 600 horsepower and had huge torque benefits while able to rev to 8,500 rpm, not seen before in turbo charged engines in the segment at the time. The car was compact and light yet spacious and accommodating with a class leading luggage capacity. It was the car that could do all without compromise. These technological and technical features would underpin every single McLaren road car for the next decade, including the P1, and it all began with the 12C.

Less well received was the name, and the styling. Next to the highly creased Ferrari 458 the car looked soft and dated. The design brief was to be timeless, taking cues from the McLaren F1 road car while having a high priority on visibility and ergonomics. Form followed function. To us, it succeeded, the car has aged wonderfully and is timeless, possibly the prettiest McLaren road car of the new generation. Initial press reviews were also mixed. Some incredible and the performance of the 12C destroyed everything in its segment and challenged the cars of the segment above, however was deemed lacking in emotion. This was not surprising, the car was often assessed over a short period where it's full character and range of performance could not be appreciated completely. The Ferrari 458 to which it was mostly compared to was a car designed for an hours experience and to sell within 10 minutes of a test drive. Hence the emotion from starting the engine, incredibly direct steering and that incredible noise and emotive gearshifts meant it did exactly that. Next to it, the MP4-12C felt a little soft, too digital ... perhaps too good. But those who owned or lived with a 12C for a longer period would learn to understand that this car was enormously capable and gave a lot of driving pleasure. The powertrain may not have been as emotional but it was devastatingly effective. The steering feel was second to none and the ride and handling was simply hard to comprehend with its 'magic carpet' ride. The more you drove it the more you understood and learned it, unlike the 458 which was more of a mono-dimensional experience. 

The first cars were commercialised delivered to customers in 2011 plagued by the delays often encountered by a new car production of a completely new ground up vehicle. Demand was very high, but the delays meant that the order bank could not be maintained and eventually cars were harder to sell. This was mostly due to the simple nature of a very small retailer network for both sales and service. Hard to develop a large network with low volume, hard to generate volume with a restricted network. This would take time, but what it meant is that the coupe version of the 12C was produced without a spider for a very restricted time, hence is rarer. The 12C Spider was launched in 2012 and came with 625 horsepower as well as some subtle modifications such as the addition of door buttons following some criticism to the original 'hand swipe' function the first coupes. The horsepower upgrade was offered to all coupes produced to date free of charge, an initiative welcomed by all owners.

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This car:

Possibly one of the most desirable examples of the MP4-12C is this very car which was delivered and importantly registered to arguably the most gentleman of Formula One drivers, Jenson Button. Jenson configured his MP4-12C at the factory alongside Lewis Hamilton. Lewis went for Red, Jenson went for Black. However, when Jenson's car finished production, he kindly offered it to the factory to keep and use as a development for to test a new prototype version of the dreaded IRIS navigation system. Jenson re-ordered his car from Monaco and updated his specification to be the one you see here, perhaps inspired by the Japanese brands that he once represented. When the 12C Spider was launched later 2012, the car was sold purchased by us and put into private collection in the United Kingdom. Interestingly, all cars since these initial Jenson and Lewis 12C coupes were no longer registered to the drivers, McLaren opting to keep the cars registered to the factory and loaning the cars to drivers instead.

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The Exterior is finished in Elite white pearlescent paint contrasted by the optional 5 spoke forged alloy wheels. Tastefully configured, the car does not feature much in the way of exterior carbon fibre, with exception of the rear diffuser,. The front spoiler was chosen in body colour, which widens the look of the car from the front and is similar to the original P11 design with a one piece front bumper before the update under the styling direction of Frank Stephenson.

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Inside, the cabin is configured in a very original Harissa Red and Black Leather combination. There is carbon fibre on the sill apanels, as well as on the back of the electric and heated sports seats. The interior trim and steering wheel within the cabin however was also specified in carbon fibre.

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This is a unique opportunity to acquire a genuine piece of McLaren history and a car owned by one a Formula 1 world champion. It is in exceptional condition, regularly maintained within the McLaren network and has only covered 11,000km. The 12C is unique in many ways, it was the engineers' McLaren, before marketeers and press feedback steered the direction of the products, for better or for worst, this alongside the Mclaren P1, were the McLaren Road cars in their purest form. Available for viewing in the United Kingdom, the Garage du Panorama is proud to offer such a rare product. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

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