Arach­nid fever

Mclaren Au­to­mo­tive Johannesburg pulled the cov­ers off the new MP412C Spi­der

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - MO­TOR NEWS RE­PORTER

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.