Die-cast: Autoart 1:18 McLaren MP4-12C

Autoart nails its McLaren MP4-12C supercar

Supercars are exciting because they embody the auto world’s future technology, they are, to some degree, like the old auto show concept cars, the Futurama vehicles.

Gotta love these scissor doors!
Gotta love these scissor doors!

Today we immediately think of brands such as Lamborghini, Pagani and McLaren, swoopy cars with scissor or gullwing doors that ooze speed and aerodynamic prowess. Certainly the McLaren MP4-12C, now known primarily as the 12C, fits this bill. No wonder Autoart chose it for a terrific 1:18 scale version in its Signature Series.

Personally I love the sleek smooth lines of a Lamborghini better, but there’s no denying the 12C looks like a racer. Certainly it has the pedigree, what with Bruce McLaren, the firm’s founder being one of the premier Formula 1 racers of the 1960s and with the McLaren race team’s continual success through the years.

The 12C looks a little like a Porsche from the front and Ferarri in profile, but with big gills carved behind the doors to let plenty of air into its swagger-inducing McLaren M838 twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8. As with all supercars, the engine sits amid ship, just behind the driver and powers the rear wheels. Horsepower? How do 616 ponies sound?

Like many supercars, which favor light weight and high horsepower, the 12C starts with a carbon fiber composite chassis, what it calls a Carbon Monocell, that weighs just 176 lbs. Heck, overall the car weighs just about 3,100 lbs.

Unlike the funky, but speedy, 3-seat McLaren F1 before it, this sports car has the standard 2-seat, side-by-side interior and scissor-style doors that fold up and forward.

Price? If you have to ask you can’t afford one!McLaren

The car:
Speed is the thing with a real supercar, but when it comes to a 1:18 model, performance is judged by execution of the real car’s finer details. Again, Autoart exceeds expectations on the 12C, the real one of which was in production in Woking, England, from 2011 until this April.

For the record, Autoart puts 385 parts into this model, more than half being metal and its bathes the body in silver paint for the test car, reportedly giving it 85 free-hand sprays. The finish looks like it belongs on a high-end car, real or diecast.

Naturally hood, bonnet and scissor doors all open on realistic hinges, plus a small spoiler can be raised in back. But it’s the photo-etched metal grilles scattered among the 12C’s many air inlets, the workable fuel filler door, real side mirrors, and the realistic looking head and thin taillights that bring the model to life.

McL2Unlike some die-cast that looks great on top, but is plain black plastic underneath, the McLaren’s undercarriage features a nicely executed carbon fiber pattern. Likewise the suspension works and the wheels are steerable. So displaying this in a mirror-bottom case makes sense.

I like the carbon-fiber look shroud around the engine. That means you don’t see the full engine, but what is visible looks fairly realistic and includes the McLaren logo atop the air box. It looks nice, but as with most modern cars, real and die-cast, the engine bay isn’t exactly mind boggling.

The wheel detail, which you’ll see more of when displaying the car, is good. McLaren uses fancy five bi-spokes and there are good looking disc brakes and calipers visible behind the wheels.

Those big scoops are beautifully styled and look mean!
Those big scoops are beautifully styled and look mean!

Autoart creates an excellent interior too, with a gorgeous center stack and console with detailed knobs and clear-faced gauges. The dash looks equally good and the floors are carpeted and include floor mats that boast McLaren logos. Seats are no afterthought here either, with varied surfaces like in the real car, including a smooth looking leather trim with suede inserts.

The carbon fiber engine shroud adds a touch of realism.
The carbon fiber engine shroud adds a touch of realism.

The only drawback here is that you can’t actually drive this McLaren, but it’ll be a fast favorite once it’s in your collection. The sample car was a well polished silver, but Autoart also offers this in red and orange.

FAST Stats: McLaren 12C
Maker: Autoart
Scale: 1:18
Stock No.: 76007
MSRP: $260

The interior looks great too. Love the gauges.
The interior looks great too. Love the gauges.

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