McLaren brings hot new sports car to Chicago

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McLaren MP4-12C

You may recognize the name McLaren from Formula 1, Can-Am or Le Mans championships. Not a racing fan? How about the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren super car? No?

Well, if you don't know McLaren, you're about to.

McLaren, which was originally founded in 1963 as Bruuce McLaren Motor Racing, is morphing into an automaker with a singular approach: To create a road car that has the underpinnings of a race car.

And, with only 10 dealerships in North America (including Canada), Chicagoland gets one. For those in the know, you're probably not going to be surprised to learn that Lake Forest Sports Cars will be the sole dealer for McLaren in the Midwest ... and much of the rest of the country.

Next spring, McLaren will launch the MP4-12C in the United States, competing with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz SLS ... and not much else. While the official pricing hasn't been announced, it is estimated to be in the $225,000 to $250,000 price range.

This dihedral-door sports car will come equipped with a twin turbo V-8 engine that delivers 592 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. And those 0-to-60 mph times? Less than 4 seconds.

Lest you think the MP4-12C is a "one and done" kind of deal, you should know that McLaren already has plans to make an all-new car or a variant on a current car every 12 months. For the next several years.

More to come next spring. I heard a rumor that media might just get to drive it on a racetrack at launch. Sign me up!

In the meantime, enjoy my first-look photo gallery.

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