Mclaren last week announced and showed off a new model of their slickly named MP4-12C supercar, this time with up to 100% less roof. Presumably in a bid to silence those claiming the car looked a little tame for a £170,000 all-carbon twin-turbo supercar, the spider looks fucking amazing. Mclaren claim the coupe’s blistering performance is largely intact, thanks to design wizardry and carbon fibre- most cars converted to convertibles as an afterthought end up heavy and lame thanks to the compromised structure and necessary reinforcement, but the MP4-12C’s carbon tub chassis neatly sidesteps these issues, and there’s only a relatively minor 40kg weight increase from the folding hardtop. With the twin-turbo 3.8 litre V8 kicking out 631 horsepower, I suspect you won’t notice. I recall reading that some TT-veteran bike racer reckoned the hardtop McLaren would give a superbike a run for its money- with the roof gone, it might also match the sensory bombardment terror. The spider comes with all the same performance sorcery of the hardtop and will retail for a cool £195,500; pricier than the coupe, but if you’re in the market for one you can probably afford it.
Though I’m not entirely sure why I’m qualified as a supercar pundit, I think the Spider is a welcome addition to the McLaren stable. Obviously, no one was questioning the MP4-12C’s pedigree- between the legendary F1 and decades of motorsport excellence, McLaren are assuredly top-flight when it comes to fast cars- but for such an exotic machine, it did seem a little bland (especially when the alternative is the outrageous Ferrari 458). The beautiful new Spider ought to reassert McLaren as a maker of cars that are not only technically marvellous, but impassioned and desirable; they’re going to need that if they hope to give Ferrari serious competition on the road as well as the track. I may have a little trouble securing a test drive, but when I do I’ll be sure to report on it. If any rockstars or CEOs are reading this and fancy picking one up, the first cars are expected to reach customers around the end of the year.