Finally, we have our very own McLaren showroom in Malaysia! Thanks to Sime Darby Auto Britannia Sdn Bhd for being the official distributor of this iconic British brand. Last week, was the launch ceremony of McLaren KL showroom and medias were invited firsthand to visit the place. Join me and experience the whole launch event together with a special guest which was present that day, the McLaren P1. :D
Many posts ago, I mentioned about visiting McLaren's showroom in Singapore and my first encounter with the F1 (here). Now, we can actually visit one nearby. The signature showroom is located on the ground floor of Menara Mudajaya at Mutiara Damansara.
McLaren Kuala Lumpur is the third collaboration between Sime Darby Motors and McLaren Automotives after McLaren Hong Kong and McLaren Shanghai and the showroom would be the 41st retail location in the world within the span of two years.
And, this is the reason why I was here, to catch a close glimpse of the supercar underneath the cloth. No surprise but, the McLaren P1 was waiting patiently for it to be unveiled. Well, more on that later. :P
Parked beside the main attraction, was a McLaren MP4-12C Spider in striking Volcanic Yellow colour code. Both 12C and 12C Spider have the same engine output of 616hp from its 3.8L twin-turbo V8 engine. 0 to 100km/h in 3.1 seconds and top speed of 333km/h for 12C and 328km/h for the Spider. The price for the 12Cs start from RM2.036 million and RM2.2 million (Spider), including tax.
As you already know, McLaren MP4-12 is a direct competitor to the Ferrari 458 Italia. Which do you prefer? Tough choice, isn't it? It's like choosing between Fish 'N' Chips and Pizza. Both are tasty in its own way. :D
There was a 12C variation, a 12C GT Can-Am Edition sitting at a corner of another section of the showroom. It was in a clean white body wrapped with blue and gold livery. You'd immediately know it's a track ready machine when you see plenty of carbon fiber parts: on the front lip, diffuser, side canards, and the huge GT wing.
While I was busy admiring the 12C GT, Mr Benjamin (BenAutobahn.com) who I came with, went and have a chat with his idol, Mr Frank Stephenson. Mr Stephenson is the Design Director of McLaren Automotive and the 12C and latest P1 were his creations.
Mr Stephenson was such a cool guy. He fulfilled Mr Ben's request of sketching 'something' for him. The famous automobile designer completed his brief sketch of a McLaren P1 in less than 15 minutes and the result was stunning, even though Mr Stephenson said that he did it in real short time. Nevertheless, it was definitely a rare chance to see designer of the P1 himself, sketching the artwork in front of your eyes.
I am sure Mr Benjamin gonna frame it up, hang it onto the wall, and pray to it every morning! Haha Lucky him! :D
For those of you who don't know, Mr Frank Stephenson is one of the most influential and successful car designer in the world. He is the man who redesigned and brought back the Mini in year 2001, and reviving the sales of struggling Fiat company with the new Fiat 500 in year 2005. The other successful designs made by him were Ford Escort RS Cosworth, BMW X5, Maserati MC12 and Ferrari F430. Now, his carreer continues with McLaren, refreshing the new range of McLaren products with the MP4-12C and current P1.
I was standing quite in front during their presentations but was having difficulty in getting the right angle due to my height. So, you have to be smart and quick to look for available openings in advance to grab the best shots. It would be helpful too, if you have a zoom lens that capture images at different focal length.
After Mr Frank Stephenson's speech, began the P1 introduction video and the unveiling of the exquisite McLaren P1 which indicates the opening of McLaren showroom Kuala Lumpur. Hit the play button and enjoy!
The car was unveiled by (From left): Sime Darby Motors Managing Director, Mr Dennis Ho; McLaren Automotive Design Director, Mr Frank Stephenson; McLaren Automotive Asia Sales Manager, Mr Sven J. Ritter; and Vice President Sime Darby Auto Britannia, Mr Eau.
Right after the media photography of senior representatives of McLaren and Sime Darby Motors, a QnA session was held on the stage. Media could direct all sorts of questions to them relating to McLaren. The questions were mainly about the sales, price, investment plans, marketability of the high performance sports car.
Voila! The McLaren P1. In my opinion, I think it has a unique futuristic look like a concept car and its bright colour contrast with the black panels, is a striking styling feature ever done on a car. According to Stephenson, its design was influenced by nature with body flowing lines resembling the silhouette of a cheetah and apart from styling, the car has to be functional as well.
The P1 is powered by 727hp 3.8L V8 twin turbo engine, and a 176hp electric motor. Yes, it's a hybrid supercar and total of 903hp and 900Nm of torque is delivered to the rear wheels via 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The result is impressive, 0-100km/h in 2.8 seconds, 0-200km/h in 6.8 seconds, and 0-300km/h in 16.5 seconds (5.5 seconds quicker than the predecessor McLaren F1)! :O However, the top speed is limited at 350km/h.
It's wearing bespoke Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres with stealth finish aluminium alloy wheels. Japanese company, Akebono specially developed carbon ceramic brakes and it takes only 2.9 seconds to a halt from 100km/h.
The MonoCage, is what the McLaren people calls their new carbon fiber monocoque and roof structure. It weighs only 90kg which is one of the lightest carbon fiber body structures in road cars.
The interior is kept simple and minimal decorated with plenty of wet and dry carbon fiber. The bucket seats in the cockpit are comfortable with great visibility. Although McLaren intends to make the P1 the fastest production car on racing tracks through its extreme aero design and powerful engine, it didn't neglect the basic needs of a driver, air-conditioning, satelite navigation and an audio system.
Notice the blue and red buttons on the steering wheel? Those buttons are high-tech stuff from Formula 1. The blue one is a DRS (Drag Reduction System) button, which controls the car's rear wing, providing lots of downforce to the back of the car. The red one is IPAS (Instant Power Assist System) button that gives an instant boost from the electric motor.
During an interview with Mr Stephenson, part of the P1 design was to make rear, exposed and covered with mesh grill revealing the mechanical parts of the wing and other internal parts. But, it actually serves a purpose of dissipating heat away from the engine bay. Since there is no room for tail lights after an exposed grill rear, they created a thin LED strips surrounding the curvature of the rear bodyline. Nice!
There will only be 375 units of P1s in the world to maintain its exclusivity and about 350 orders have been confirmed. How much it costs? £866,000. That is 4.437 million in RM, without tax. O_o!
The showroom's atmosphere was elevated by the presence of the real expensive hypercar.
Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, Tun Dr Mahathir's second son and Sime Darby Auto Britannia director was also here that day for the opening ceremony and rumour says that he will be adding the P1 to his supercar collections. FYI, he owns a Pagani Zonda, Porsche Carrera GT and Bugatti Veyron (silver).
Before wrapping up the official launch of the showroom, Mr Frank Stephenson had an interview session with the media people from Top Gear Malaysia, The Star Motoring, Paul Tan & BenAutobahn. I sat in too and gave full concentration on the insightful interview. They posted different questions and discussed everything about the P1. Besides that, he did talk a little bit about his passion for car designs. He also shared with us that every new car designed by him should not be the best one. He thinks that the next one has to be better and the upcoming McLaren design would be better than the current P1. Wow!
I have to say this again. Mr Stephenson was really a cool person. I guessed you can see his various positive expression during the interview. He love sharing his experience and knowledge with everyone. It was a great experience to be there in the room, and his conversation made me think deeply that, you'd have to be passionate with your work in order to be successful in it.
The people from McLaren was kind enough to let us do a few more photoshooting of the P1 before leaving.
McLaren P1 sure does look great from all angle. The car would be there for only 2 days before transporting back to its original birth place.
And I caught Mr Stephenson taking pictures of his creations at many different angles. So, I asked him "Why do you take picture of your car?" He replied in a joking manner, "Actually... I am just an actor" and we laughed. So, who's the real designer for this P1? Haha. :D
I had great fun at this place meeting world acclaimed car designer like Mr Frank Stephenson and snapping pictures of the beautiful McLaren P1. Too bad, they didn't start the engine that day but, I really hope to see one of it, driving on roads of Malaysia roaring its hypercar V8 engine.
Anyway, I hope you guys like my version of the new McLaren KL showroom coverage. Please do pay a visit to the McLaren showroom at Mutiara Damansara and I am sure, you will leave the showroom with a smile on your face. :)
Thank you Mr Benjamin for this awesome shot!
Feel free to check out the more pictures at gallery below!