Motoring N OW would seem to be an unlikely time to launch a supercar costing well into six figures, but that is precisely what British firm McLaren is doing with its latest MP4-12C, aiming it squarely in competition with the new Ferrari 458, Porsche 911 Turbo and Lamborghini Gallardo. McLaren announced production of the new model earlier this month and promised the performance of a 300,000 hypercar for about half the price. And with its F1 supercar still hailed as the greatest ever built more than a decade after it went out of production, its hard to doubt the firms (UK-based) engineers. The British bruiser should easily trounce the Italian and German contenders thanks to a bespoke 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 produc- ing 600 horsepower. The sort of attention to detail that has won McLaren countless F1 championships means the new supercar will be shorter, lower, lighter and narrower than all its rivals. It seems mind-boggling that such an exotic creation could come from the unlikely envi- rons of Woking, Surrey. But putting together world-beaters in the garden shed has always been a British speciality and, in fact, our supercar industry is alive and well even in these difficult times. We round up the best of the current crop of Brit supercars... Morgan aero 8 Price: 69,215 0-62mph: 4.5 seconds Top speed: 170mph A MOrGAn car launch is a rare thing. The Aero 8 was the first all-new model since 1948 and dis- penses with the traditional construction techniques of an aluminium body over a wooden frame and steel chassis. Instead the chassis, frame and body- work are all alloy and the engine is German. The 4.4-litre V8 from BMW takes the performance of the Aero 8 into a different league from the remain- der of the Morgan range but the car is still hand- assembled in the firms tiny Malvern factory. Bentley SuperSportS Price: 163,000 0-62mph: 3.9 seconds Top speed: 204mph The ultimate version of the footballers favour- ite, Bentley Continental GT has a 12-cylinder engine three times the size of the r500s with twin-turbo chargers added for good measure to produce 621bhp. With a complex four-wheel- drive system the Bentley will hit 60mph in 3.9 seconds and go on to top the double tonne -- all in leather-lined, air-conditioned luxury. Caparo t1 Price: 235,000 0-62mph: 2.5 seconds Top speed: 205mph PrOVInG that the British supercar circle is a small one, the T1 is the brainchild of two former McLaren engineers who had a hand in designing the F1. Incredibly, it weighs less than the stripped-out Caterham and its 3.5-litre race-derived engine produces 575bhp, doubling the r500s power-to-weight ratio. Built like an F1 car but with space for two, the Caparo goes like one as well, although it has suffered some developmental problems, including bursting into flames on an episode of Fifth Gear, burn- ing driver Jason Plato. aSCari a10 Price: 350,000 0-62mph: 2.8 seconds Top speed: 220mph IF OddBALL rarities do it for you then the A10, a car built in Oxfordshire by a dutch- owned company and named after Alberto Ascari, an Italian F1 champion from the Fifties, should fit the bill. Based on the companys KZ1-r GT racing car, the A10 is also powered by a BMW V8, modified to produce a frighten- ing 625bhp, and the rear wheels are driven through a six-speed sequential gearbox. Stripped of air-conditioning, stereo and even soundproofing, the place to try out your A10 is the Ascari race resort in Spain which the firm operates for discerning supercar owners. BriStol Fighter Price: 229,125 0-62mph: 4.0 seconds Top speed: 210mph IF The Ascari isnt unusual enough for you then the only option is a Bristol, a company that refuses to release production figures, has just one showroom and by and large will only sell cars to those it deems suitable owners. While most Bristols have tended to be squarely styled, the Fighter breaks with tradition by using a slippery gull-wing body designed by former Brabham F1 engineer Max Boxstrom. Under the long bonnet is an eight-litre V10 engine from a pick-up truck, modified to pro- duce 525bhp. If that sounds insufficient there is also a T model with twin-turbochargers producing 1012bhp which would hit 270mph was it not sensibly limited to a mere 225mph. CaterhaM Seven r500 Price: 37,995 0-62mph: 2.8 seconds Top speed: 150mph A FeW miles away from McLaren is the town of Caterham, perhaps the last place you would expect to find a maker of supercar-slaying kit cars. In fact, Caterham Cars has been beavering away for decades, constantly refining the design of the tiny Lotus Seven it licensed from Colin Chapman in 1973. ever more powerful and better-handling models have come out of its dartford factory, culminating in this, the r500 which boasts a power-to-weight ratio bet- ter than a Bugatti Veyrons, a racing style sequential gearbox and launch control to fire it to 60mph in just 2.8 seconds. Britishsupercars McLarensnewsix-figuremotoristhelatestsportscartobemadeonhomesoil 38 Friday, 18 September 2009 London Lite by henry biggs Ultra slick: the new MP4-12C McLaren aSton Martin v12 vantage Price: 135,000 0-62mph: 4.2 seconds Top speed: 190mph The Aston Martin has performed the old hot- rodding trick of stuffing a huge engine into a relatively small car. In this case the power plant is from James Bonds new motor, the dBS which donates its 510bhp 6.0-litre V12 to the baby Vantage. Performance is on a par with the dBS -- but with a useful 25,000 saving -- and boasts the leather, wood and gadgets you would expect of a car built to show Miss Moneypenny a good time. lotuS evora Price: 50,000 0-62mph: 4.9 seconds Top speed: 162mph TrUST Lotus to do things completely differently by producing the worlds only mid-engined four-seater; a sensible supercar if you like. The company has a long tradition of achieving great things from what are seemingly everyday components and the evora is no exception. Using a 3.5-litre V6 engine from a boring Toyota MPV and dropping it into Lotuss clever bonded aluminium chassis has created one of Britains best drivers cars and one that you can easily take the family along in, too. index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html48.html49.html50.html51.html