£168,500. A lot of money. But significantly, £1,000 less than a Ferrari 458 Italia. With today's official announcement of the prices for McLaren's entry in the world of mass supercar manufacture, an interesting sales battle would appear to be underway.
As always with pricing, one must dig further for the real picture. That £168,500 doesn't include registration fee or road licence – which adds around £1,000 to the figure – but it does include VAT at the full 20% from January next year.
If Ferrari passes on the VAT increase to its customers in 2011, then the McLaren could be up to £2,500 cheaper than its main rival. However, as Ferrari points out, the 458 comes with carbon ceramic brakes as standard. On the MP4-12C, they’re a £9,770 option.
But frankly, at that end of the market, does anyone really care about a few grand either way? This is what Ron Dennis claims will be the fastest car money can buy, the "slightly more mass-market" successor to the mighty F1.
Some numbers: the mid-engined 12C is powered by an all-new 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 with a dry sump and flat-plane crank. It produces 600bhp and 443lb ft of torque, 80 per cent of which is available from less than 2,000rpm. It will weigh just under 1,400kg (that's 200kg less than the new Audi RS3).
That means a claimed 0-124mph time of less than 10 seconds, while a full speed of over 200mph seems fairly likely. Internal organs will be affected.
The 12C is underpinned by a revolutionary new one-piece carbon fibre tub, a brand new piece of technology that weighs in at just 81kg. There's more clever tech on board, too - an all-new seven-speed dual clutch transmission (called SSG) and innovative suspension that does without a conventional anti-roll bar, featuring instead hydraulically inter-connected dampers. Oh, and - just like the original F1 - there's a rear air brake.
Looks-wise, reaction is mixed at Top Gear HQ. In the eyes of some of its harsher critics, isn't it a bit... bland? Designer Frank Stephenson has previously said this is kind of the point:
"There's an efficiency to the design of the 12C. The shape is not overpowered by styling tricks or elements that don't need to be there. With McLaren it's more technological - there's no styling for styling's sake."
The MP4-12C will be on sale from the "the first half of 2011", and they're planning to build around 1,000 each year. And when we get our hands on one, you'll be the first to know.
So, what about you lot? Will the MP4-12C be claiming a berth in your fantasy garage?