12C is dead, long live 650S
To anyone who has driven the new McLaren 650S, including Goodwood Road and Racing’s Andrew Craig, the following statement will come as no surprise: 12C production has ended. When Andrew came back from the 650S launch event looking slightly frazzled by its performance, he reckoned the new car spelled the end for the 12C.
He was proved right mere days later. McLaren wrote to all owners confirming that capacity at the Woking factory would be dedicated to the 650S. At just three years old, the 12C was elbowed out by its younger, better-looking sibling.
When the 650S was launched at Geneva, McLaren’s assertion was that it would be produced alongside the 12C. Production of the exiting model had already been suspended during the new car’s launch, and it is now confirmed that it will not be resumed. That’s understandable: McLaren has six months’ worth of 650S production to get through before it could even think about bolting together another 12C.
Owners of the older car needn’t feel left out. Much to McLaren’s credit, it is offering a free technology upgrade to owners of 12C, even if the car is no longer with the owner who bought it new.
The free package of upgrades includes new Active Aero software to make the airbrake even more clever (deploying for a throttle lift or the crest of a hill, as well as under heavy breaking). The software upgrade will also lower the wing when driving at high speed in a straight line to reduce drag and increase stability.
Further upgrades, to the reversing camera and digital radio, are available at extra cost and are model year dependent.
Upgraded 12Cs won’t receive the complete 650S spec. Notably they’ll miss out on the hardware changes that have given the turbocharged V8 more bite, and the distinctive nosejob, but it’s a move that proves McLaren’s dedication to looking after all its customers. McLaren’s next model, internally known at the P13 and pitched at around £120,000, is due to make its debut at next year’s Geneva show.