By on March 18, 2010

In the early days of McLaren’s MP4-12C development, it was suggested that the new mid-engine supercar would use AMG’s 6.2 liter V8. As things got awkward between Mercedes and McLaren though, a mysterious “German-built V10″ was rumored to be have replaced the AMG unit under at least one testing prototype. In the end, McLaren built its own engine, the M838T. It’s a twin-turbocharged, direct-injected, 3.8 litre, 90° V8, developing about 600 horsepower at 8,500 RPM. 80 percent of its 442 lb-ft of torque is reportedly available under 2,000 RPM. Also, it looks like mechanical sex.

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21 Comments on “Gallery: The McLaren MP4-12C Engine...”


  • avatar
    carguy

    Fitted to a car that weighs as much a a Civic, owners will not be wanting for acceleration.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Nice to see a turbo mil with peak hp numbers arriving at 8500 rpm and low end torque.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I came

  • avatar
    gslippy

    You should have included a “NSFW” warning. Wow.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    How’s the fuel economy?

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    mechanical magnificence

  • avatar
    thecavanaughs

    So, we’re looking at 155 to 160 hp/l, and 111 ft-lbs/l. Those are jaw-dropping numbers, even for forced induction. The GT-R, already off the deep end in technology, gets 125-130 hp/l and 110-115 ft-lbs/l. Different number of cylinders, different revs- roughly the same displacement. I am not an expert in the numerous methods for calculating and reporting horsepower, but are we actually seeing a 20-25% improvement in hp/l over what was already an amazing technological accomplishment? I know Nissan was reported as under-reporting the hp of the GT-R by some sources, but even so- this McLaren engine appears to be near-miraculous. I didn’t know street legal cars were in this kind of territory. Am I looking at the numbers wrong?

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      With forced induction, anything is possible. Renault was getting 1500hp out of a 1.5 liter F1 engine some twenty years ago. It’s just about how much boost you dial in.

  • avatar

    Yep – bravo to McLaren. The car this engine will live in is also quite sexy. But I’m digging the engine porn for sure. Beautiful.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    Is it just me or does that engine share a passing resemblance to an attractive woman spread eagled? Sadly, just like any attractive, spread eagled woman I’m sure I’ll never be able to afford her.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      And just like any attractive, spread eagled woman that you would be expected to pay for, you would be well advised not to insert any portion of your anatomy into either.

  • avatar
    niky

    Nissan doesn’t really under-report the GT-R. All dynos I’ve seen suggest a car making 475-485 hp. 500 tops. Nothing like the “550″ that some of the buff books and forum wags were hysterically claiming at one time.

    I’m familiar with the Dynapack and Dastek used in the Japanese and UK (that one was funny… they took one reading below the power peak, one above it… and extrapolated a curve to obtain the power peak… pure bullsh*t) dyno-tests… and US commenters should be familiar with the Mustang used in the Edmund’s twin-test opposite the 911 Turbo… you’ll note that the “whp” numbers are all over the place.

    See… not many people understand the variances and discrepancies in dynamometers and dyno-tests. But I have a pretty good idea of how badly some of the systems over- or under-quote, and I haven’t seen a number suggesting over 500 hp yet.

    -

    The thing is… Nissan built a 3.8 liter twin-turbo mill that could likely do 550-600 hp uncorked. They electronically limit peak power to under 500 but keep the swelling torque-curve… which is what gives it that amazing performance.

    Of course, I’d rather have the McLaren V8… just hope it sounds as epic as it looks… most turbocharged cars (GT-R included) sound like industrial vacuum cleaners.

    • 0 avatar
      thecavanaughs

      I appreciate the response. I knew that there was some variability in the way these things were measured- but I didn’t know where the GT-R debate had ended up. I also enjoyed Paul’s declaration- “With forced induction, anything is possible.” In any case, that is one amazing engine- and yes, it looks like a hot chick… a very hot chick.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    These engines are designed for a good time not for long time though, if they can last 1.5 race thats a bonus already.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    I wonder if they could have gotten it even lower by reversing intake/exhaust?

    And given the weight and turbo aspects, I bet they could put in a greenie ‘bullet-point’ economy mode..

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    Wow, photoshop in a couple of slimy tentacles and you’ve got an HR Giger masterpiece.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    Interesting that McLaren chose 90 degrees of V out of all the possibilities. Could I order the engine only for my Locus Plethore?

  • avatar
    DavidGTR

    Its a late reply.. but I finally test drived the MP4-12C yesterday! Its the fastest factory road car I ever tested . The car handles brilliant, carbon fiber monocell results a road car with a go-cart like handling.. I would say, the cornering limit of the car is very high. I switch everything into “track mode”, I didn’t feel the car bumpy at all, this is a result of a piece of engineering art work, lightweight and high power super car.

    Engine with turbos weights around 150kg . But the car has big turbo lag comparing with GTR, but top ends it will beat the GTR for sure due to V8 fitted with high flow turbos.

    One thing have to say good about the gearbox . The gear shift is seamless and smooth. This is the best gearbox I ever driven comparing with all other double-clutched gearboxes (like PDK, DSG) . Even with stand still start, the electronic clutch is very smooth. This shows Mclarens effort in their software engineering for clutch control during launch.

    Braking power….. absolutely amazing . With the car’s weight, it just brakes like a cart with carbon ceramic brakes and 6 piston calipers .

    Overall, good race car, but difficult to sell….


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