We wouldn’t usually run another road test on a supercar, in this case the McLaren 12C Spider, just because it had been de-roofed since we first drove it, but such are the depth of changes that McLaren has effected on the 12C since we road tested it in June 2011 that it seems worth revisiting.

Prior to the 12C, McLaren’s only standalone sports car was the F1 – the 1992-1998 sports car that astonished the world, could reach the far side of 235mph, hit 60mph in 3.2sec and 100mph in 6.3.

And although McLaren was heavily involved in the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, it would be 17 years after Autocar’s 1994 road test of the F1 before we were able to road test a pure McLaren again.

It wasn’t like the 12C was anything like a failure the first time around: we awarded it a 4.5 star rating, just half a star shy of our maximum score. But also, painfully, half a star shy of the  rating we’d given the Ferrari 458 Italia, and we were hardly alone.

If you were in the market for a sub-£200k mid-engined supercar, we reasoned, Maranello would be where to send the cheque.

Since then, however, McLaren has been beavering away to make changes with the kind of speed that only a motorsport-based team can envisage, and this Spider – which was always in the model plan - has arrived with a number of alterations over the launch-spec 12C.

Let’s see if what difference they, and the hood, makes.

Top 5 Supercars

  • Ferrari 458
    The radical-looking, mid-engined V8 Ferrari 458 oozes supercar charm

    Ferrari 458

    1
  • McLaren 650S
    The McLaren 650S is much faster and more exciting to drive than the regular 12C

    McLaren 650S

    2
  • Is it a cut-price SLR or overpriced Merc special with fancy doors?

    Mercedes-Benz SLS

    3
  • Mid-life revisions keep the Audi R8 at the top of its game

    Audi R8

    4
  • Until the £1m One-77, the Aston Martin DBS was the British marque's halo model

    Aston Martin DBS

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    3 July 2015
    Charming four-door city car gets Smart's new six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, in a bid to make the Forfour more versatile
  • First Drive
    2 July 2015
    First UK drive in the latest-generation MX-5 reveals an iconic roadster that's back to its best
  • First Drive
    2 July 2015
    Extra firepower and pared-down kerb weight conjure even greater brilliance from the Boxster's chassis. Pricey – but superb to drive
  • BMW's prototype fuel cell concept is based on the 5GT
    First Drive
    1 July 2015
    Fuel cell-powered 5 Series GT concept previews a revolutionary storage and refuelling system which could pave the way for hydrogen to become the alternative fuel of choice
  • First Drive
    1 July 2015
    There's another BMW 2 Series variant on the horizon; we drive a late-stage prototype plug-in hybrid Active Tourer