McLaren MP4-12C Spider delivers very similar performance to that of fixed-head model; priced at £195,000
Mark Tisshaw
12 October 2012

The all-new McLaren MP4-12C Spider will be capable of 196mph with its innovative retractable hard-top roof down. The new open-top McLaren can match its coupé sibling from zero to 62mph - taking 3.1sec - despite having a 40kg weight penalty.

The MP4-12C Spider features a two-piece retractable hard-top that is stowed behind the seats when not in use. The compact design of the system lets the Spider keep the glass engine cover of the coupé.

The roof can be positioned up or down in 17 seconds and at road speeds of up to 19mph using a button on the centre console. A glass screen between the two buttresses can be operated independently of the roof. This can act as a windbreak with the roof down, or for ventilation with the roof up.

McLaren supplies two soft bags with the MP4-12C Spider that are designed to fit in the 52-litre storage space behind the seats when the roof is up. McLaren managing director Antony Sheriff briefed the Woking outfit to ensure that the MP4-12C lost none of its usability in becoming a Spider. 

Power for the Spider comes from the same 616bhp 3.8-litre V8 as the coupé, the only power output you can get for the MP4-12C after last month’s revisions to the coupé. 

The Spider matches the coupé’s 0-62mph time but takes 0.2sec longer to get from zero to 124mph (9.0sec). The top speed of 196mph with the roof down increases to 204mph with the roof up.

The Spider also shares its lightweight carbonfibre Monocell chassis with the coupé. McLaren says that no extra strengthening has been needed for the Spider. Rollover protection is incorporated into the buttresses.

Other tweaks for the Spider include an audio system that adjusts its volume and tone according to whether the roof is up or down, and a revised climate control system that also adjusts to compensate for the outside elements.

The MP4-12C Spider is available to order now, priced from £195,500. That’s an increase of £19,500 over the coupé. First deliveries are expected in November.

 

McLaren 12C Spider technical specification

Drivetrain layout Longitudinal, mid-engine, RWD

Engine V8 twin turbo, 3799cc

Engine material Aluminium block & cylinder heads

Power 616bhp at 7500rpm

Torque 442lb ft at 3000-7000rpm

Transmission 7 Speed SSG

Body structure Carbon Fibre MonoCell with Aluminium Front and Rear Frames

Tyres Pirelli P Zero 235/35 R19 (front), 305/30 R20 (rear)

Wheels 19x8.5in (front) 20x11in (rear)

Brakes Cast iron discs with forged aluminium hubs (F 370mm/R 350mm)

Active aerodynamics McLaren Airbrake

Suspension ProActive chassis control

ProActive chassis control modes Winter / Normal / Sport / Track

Powertrain modes Winter / Normal / Sport / Track

Track 1656mm (front), 1583mm (rear)

Length 4509mm

Width 2093mm

Height 1203mm

Wheelbase 2670mm

Dry weight 1376kg

 

McLaren 12C Spider performance

Top speed 204 mph

0-62mph 3.1sec

0-124mph 9.0sec

0-400m (¼ mile) 10.8sec at 134 mph

62-0mph 30.7m

124-0mph 124m

CO2 279 g/km

Fuel consumption (combined) 24.2mpg

Power to weight (with lightweight options) 459 bhp/tonne 

CO2/power 0.45g/km per bhp

Our Verdict

McLaren 12C

The McLaren 12C has extraordinary pace and handling, but is a touch clinical

Join the debate

Comments
26

3 July 2012

Have to admit the roofless version in that color is nice,but, no more than nice.

Peter Cavellini.

3 July 2012

Nah, I'll still have the 458 Spyder thanks. The roofless 12C emphasises those slats and grills a bit too much. And the exposed engine area is so small and contrived why did they even bother? In the rear 3/4 view it just looks messy.

3 July 2012

the mclaren will drive circles around the ferrari. and it won't burn to the ground.

3 July 2012

julianlee wrote:

the mclaren will drive circles around the ferrari. and it won't burn to the ground.

Yeah you wish, the 458 is still the better handling car, better looking and more desirable.

3 July 2012

I've always preferred the MP4-12C to other cars in its class. I think i'm the only human who dislikes the 458 Italia, and enjoys the design of the McLaren. This convertible version is stunning, and I'm glad they made it a folding hard top rather than soft top. I'd have even taken this over the Coupe version if the performance penalty was much greater. 

3 July 2012

The coupé is more subtle and sometimes it can be a good thing but the styling of the spider is more appealing.

The 458 sounds better though...

3 July 2012

Simple reason: When I emailed the local Ferrari dealer for information on the 458 Italia - no response.  When I emailed the McLaren dealer, I received plenty of response, AND an invitation for test drive (accompanied, of course).  So, who's hungry to accommodate, to sell? 

Are we buying just a product, or the organizationn that represents and services that product as well?

-----------

3 July 2012

NMGOM wrote:

Simple reason: When I emailed the local Ferrari dealer for information on the 458 Italia - no response.  When I emailed the McLaren dealer, I received plenty of response, AND an invitation for test drive (accompanied, of course).  So, who's hungry to accommodate, to sell? 

Are we buying just a product, or the organizationn that represents and services that product as well?

-----------

Or look at it another way:

Who's having to work hard to get sales by offering various incentives?, and who's selling all they can make without having to make any effort at all?   Wink

3 July 2012

Or the truth which is Mclaren value their customers and the Italians think they are doing you a favour by allowing you to buy one and treat you like a mug!

As in life there are some things the English simply do better.

The MP4/12C is a glorious testimony to that in the same way the Ferrari represents Italy.

Its great how these two cars evoke such emotion from their supporters.

Mclaren all the way for me.

4 July 2012

Team Sparky wrote:

Or the truth which is Mclaren value their customers and the Italians think they are doing you a favour by allowing you to buy one and treat you like a mug!

 

As in life there are some things the English simply do better.

 

The MP4/12C is a glorious testimony to that in the same way the Ferrari represents Italy.

 

 

"As in life"? Are the Ferrari and McLaren are figments of our imagination? I notice the injection of nationalism, the fallacy of appeal to nationalistic pride.

Team Sparky wrote:

Its[sic] great how these two cars evoke such emotion from their supporters.

Which emotions do the McLaren evoke? - boredom? emptiness? despair?

It says a lot that McLaren felt the need to up the power less than 1 year after launch and install artificial harmonics in to the exhaust system. Ferrari, quite secure with the fantastic product they have created, feel no need for the knee-jerk reaction of McLaren. The 458 Italia is everything the McLaren wishes it could be.

 

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?