Mclaren Automotive Johannesburg pulled the covers off the new MP412C Spider
MCLAREN is doing a good job of keeping itself in the news lately, with Lewis Hamilton’s move from the F1 team to Mercedes, and the unveiling of the stunning P1 concept at the Paris Motor Show.
It is also doing well on the sales front, and recently McLaren Johannesburg bolstered its range with a launch of the new MP4-12C Spider at a glitzy event at the Daytona Group showroom in Sandton.
The 12C Spider has the same highpowered engine and carbon fibre MonoCell as its tin-top twin, but has a retractable hard-top folding roof system that can be lowered or raised on the move.
The 459kW output from its bespoke 3.8l V8 twin turbo engine is transmitted to the car’s rear driven wheels through a 7speed SSG dual-clutch transmission with shift paddles affixed to the rear of the steering wheel. A clear view of the lightweight M838T power plant is available through a glass screen positioned behind the tonneau cover.
McLaren engineers ensured that very little of the performance was compromised by creating an open top version. The Spider is claimed to have the same 0100km/h time of 3.1 seconds and will top out 5km/h shy of the coupe at 328km/h.
It also has the same vehicle dynamics technology, such as Brake Steer, ProActive Chassis Control and the McLaren Airbrake, all of which aim to create a car that is perfect on the road and on the track. Then there is the matter of creating a Spider version, something that traditionally means more weight and less performance.
McLaren is a carbon fibre pioneer — in 1981 it debuted a carbon fibre monocoque chassis in Formula 1 with the launch of the MP4/1 race car, and in 1992 the legendary McLaren F1 introduced the advanced composite technology to the world of road cars. It was natural then for the engineers to apply this carbon fibre expertise when developing the ground-breaking onepiece moulded chassis of the 12C. Its MonoCell requires no additional strengthening for it to feature in the 12C Spider.
The result is a car almost identical to its fixed roof equivalent in performance terms, and weighing only 40kg more with the addition of the roof system.
Behind driver and passenger sits a rear windscreen that may also be electronically lowered and raised. With the roof lowered, this acts as a wind deflector to minimise disturbance to the occupants. With the roof raised, it can be lowered, allowing the noise of the twin turbo engine to flood the cabin.
The 12C Spider features a passive rollover protection system. Each buttress contains a steel structure designed to absorb impact energy and protect both driver and passenger.
With deliveries starting in the first quarter of next year the question now is whether you buy the tin top or its even sexier sibling.
If anything, the Spider derivative is probably more beautiful than its tin-top sibling.