McLaren MP4-12C Spider

Antony Sheriff, chairman of McLaren Automotive, has shed some light on the future of powerplants. According to Sheriff, the V12 is a thing of the past and belongs in a museum. The basis for all future McLaren road cars will be a blown V8, although a six-cylinder engine is also under consideration.

It’s almost impossible to efficiently develop a V12 engine that meets the demands of consumers and governments. The engine is too big and heavy and creates a lot of internal friction. Remember, the extra cylinders indicate a longer wheelbase, a weight gain of 40kg and 30% more CO2 emissions. The performance may be better than a blown V8, but it influences the drivability.

We are looking at V6 engines. They are lighter and more compact, which allows us to develop lighter cars. This benefits the handling. I cannot say when we launch a six-cylinder engine, but if we do it will have a top-of-the-class performance. The mid-engine concept belongs to the DNA of McLaren.

Spyshots McLaren F1 Successor

The statements from Sheriff follow rumours indicating a new supercar is on its way and closer than you may think! The British car maker is planning a private event at Pebble Beach this month prior to a public debut at the Paris Motor Show in September.

The new supercar will be able to produce power approaching 1,000bhp thanks to an output of close to 800bhp from its 3.8 liter turbocharged V8 and a KERS boost for an additional 200bhp. The new McLaren will be the fastest accelerating production car in the world with a sprint time from zero to 100km/h in less than 2.3 seconds. There are no intentions of touching the top speed of the Bugatti Veyron.


  1. Men will always want complicated mechanisms like those found in V12s or high-end watches. Besides, more cylinders will always scream better than less, even after downsizing.

    So Mr Sheriff, your job is to build V12s that have lower emissions, not to tell us what to think.

  2. Dear Mr Sheriff ;

    Perhaps you’ve forgotten ( or never experienced the thrill ) of the V12 which resided in the McLaren F1 . Can it be you’re completely unaware of the work AMG Mercedes has done in creating the Brilliant V12 tucked into the Pagani Huayara ? Have you never had the thrill of sitting behind a classic Ferrari V12 road car ? Or have you simply become one of those modernist xenophobes that believes any technology from the past must be bad …..

    Well Mr Sheriff . What ever answer may be correct . In reference to your overall opinion of the sublime V12 format ……….. ” Guess what finger I’m hiding behind my hand ” And errrr….. don’t be expecting any of my $$$$ coming McLaren’s way anytime soon . Not after that statement Mr Sheriff

  3. Well Mr Sheriff we really hope you don’t screw up with the next-gen F1,Since Mclaren always brag about their innovation and technology,why not make a loud fuel efficient V12 instead of taking an easy way out to make a boring V8 twin-turbo that will probably sound like a lawn mower.

  4. @GuitarSlinger, i never thought after reading some of your posts did i ever expect a comment in favour of European performance cars..

    Welcome to the 21st century..

  5. To me the difference between sports car and a supercar is that supercars will always have v12s. If your going to build a supercar your shouldn’t be that worried about being enviromentally friendly. I’m not saying that being economical is a bad thing but there are certain things you just don’t mess with and v12s are one of those things.

    Please mr. Sheriff get your head out of your ass and design us a v12 whitch meets the regulations like all your competitors have.

  6. I think most of the people don’t really read what is said… A V8 has 33% less cylinders and is a third smaller then a V12. Where a V12 can reach an high power output without forced induction, a V8 can reach the same power with forced induction while consuming less fuel. An extra benefit is that you can make the car shorter and achieve a smaller wheelbase so the car has better cornering and handling and less weight as well.

    About what GuitarSlinger said, this McLaren F1 is a car from another era, V12 was in the 90’s THE engine, you forgot about the Jaguar XJ220? This car was also powered by a natural aspired V12 and was the fastest production road car until the McLaren F1 came onto the market.

  7. You’re right Kor, I mistaken myself with the XJR-15 by thinking of a V12, what is the predecessor of the XJ220 and it is styled by the same person that later styled the Mclaren F1. Those both cars are V12 and the XJ220 is a supercharged V6 and generating 542 bhp, a lot more then the XJR-15 what was a naturally aspired V12 engine and that supercharged V6 is a good example that you can generate more power out of a smaller engine.

  8. While we all know that you can achieve V12 power with a V8 (in some cases with a V6 or smaller), it’s not about economical engines, smaller wheel bases, etc, or anything of the sort. Supercars are all about useless excess and that is why we love them!!!! Why else would we spend a quarter of a million USD and above to achieve the performance that they could get with a $65K USD ZO6 or GTR (feel free to add other giant killers here…).
    Mr Sheriff seems to have more useless opinions than sense to make a statement like that, when his livelihood depends on those of us who love the excesses of supercars and can afford the cost of entry to the club! The V12 will never and should never be excluded from the supercar experience.
    Maybe Mr Sheriff would be better suited to lead an industry leader like Toyota or Tata, where his love for all things smaller and under powered could be fulfilled. In the meantime Mr Sheriff, LEAVE OUR F#@%IN’ BELOVED V12’S ALONE!!!! (p.s.- and make sure that the new F1 has one in it!!!!!)

  9. For those of you wondering why they step away from the V12 engine. It is clearly the future perspective for McLaren. They are focussed on handling, power delivery and emissions. Those are the key factors for them now, and those will be future in supercar development. It is logical they step away from the V12 engine, which offers the exact opposite in their opinion.

    And for those thinking that a F1 successor is in the making, I can say it is not. There is no such thing as a F1 successor, there will never be a successor of the F1. The F1 is history and it will stay like that. McLaren has entered a new chapter and the F1 is not part of it.

    Yes, there is a new supercar, the P12, but it is not the F1 successor, you could call it a competitor to the new Enzo and Porsche 918 Spyder. Supercars are evolving into a new league with hybrid drive and more environmental statements. We will see this happening more and more the coming years.

    So everybody who expects a V12 F1 successor from McLaren, there is none – as far as we all know – and there will never be one in the upcoming years. Both V12 and F1 (as in road car) are part of a wonderful history, they cherish, but do not build upon.


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