McLaren 12C Spider revealed

Open-top version of the McLaren MP4-12C supercar is set to take on the Ferrari 458 Spider, with a 0-62mph time of 3.1 seconds

McLaren has revealed the stunning convertible version of its MP4-12C supercar – and just like the Ferrari 458 Spider it’s up against, it features a clever folding hard-top instead of a traditional cloth hood.

In a bid to simplify McLaren’s naming strategy, and bring more emotion to the brand, the MP4 prefix has been dropped – so it’s simply called the 12C Spider.

Unlike the 458 Spider, McLaren’s engineers have managed to include a transparent engine cover, which offers a window on the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 underneath.

Either side of the cover are two buttresses, which rise dramatically from the bodywork, and contain a steel structure to absorb impact in the event of a roll over. The Spider is further marked out by unpainted carbon fibre side vanes.

The two-piece hard-top retracts neatly underneath a tonneau cover in 17 seconds, and can be folded at speeds of up to 19mph. When the roof is up, the 52-litre space under the cover can be used for storage, and every buyer will get a set of luggage thrown in which slots perfectly into the space.

The Spider’s mechanicals are shared with the recently updated coupe – so the turbocharged V8 produces 616bhp. No additional body strengthening is needed, as McLaren’s groundbreaking carbon fibre chassis is already so stiff, so the Spider weighs just 40kg more than the coupe – all of which is down to the roof mechanism.

Performance is almost on a par with the coupe: 0-62mph takes an identical 3.1 seconds, while 0-124mph takes exactly nine seconds – just two-tenths behind the coupe. The top speed is 3mph slower, but the Spider can still hit 204mph flat out. Fuel efficiency and emissions are unchanged, at 24.2mpg and 279g/km respectively.

Other hi-tech features include a retractable rear screen which serves as a windbreak with the roof down, or can be lowered with the roof in place so you can hear the exhaust note. A vehicle lift system, essential if you negotiate speed bumps regularly, is available as an option. It allows you to raise the vehicle by 40mm at the front and 25mm at the rear, and at speeds of up to 38mph.

The 12C Spider is available to order now from £195,500 – £3,436 less than a 458 Spider and £19,500 more than the 12C. First deliveries are expected in November.

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