New Car: 2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider

How do you follow something that produces 616 hp, weighs a shade under 3200 pounds, sprints from a dead halt to 60 in 2.9 seconds, tops out at 207 mph, and is the most well-mannered supercar in the world? Take the roof off the thing. Witness the MP4-12C’s first offspring, the 2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider. The car will make its real-world debut at events surrounding this August’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance.

The 2013 12C Spider is hardly a surprise—in fact, it’s no surprise at all. McLaren and F1 driver Jenson Button announced last week that its 12C Spider would debut today, and we’ve long speculated on the changes that would be made to turn coupe to convertible.

We now know what it took to effect the change: not much. The Spider weighs a mere 88 pounds more than the coupe—putting it around 3250 pounds—in large part, McLaren says, because the coupe that debuted nearly three years ago was originally designed as an open-topped car. Thus, the MP4-12C’s 165-pound carbon-fiber passenger cell required no further reinforcement. The only strengthening of note was applied to the steel structure embedded in each buttress for rollover protection. (As to those buttresses: They look slightly bizarre. We’re thinking we won’t care once we slide behind the wheel, though.)

The retractable hardtop—made from fiberglass-reinforced plastic, and not carbon as was long speculated—can be operated while the car is traveling at speeds at or below 19 mph. A motorized window sits behind the two occupants; it can be utilized as a windscreen when the roof is off and can be lowered while the top is up, allowing unfettered aural access to the 12C’s magical twin-turbo V-8.

The M838T 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 packs the same uprated 616 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque found in the revised-for-2013 MP4 coupe. (Unlike most mid-engined droptop supercars, McLaren has managed to keep its eight-cylinder beast on display with a glass window incorporated into the rear deck.) The Graziano-sourced seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is upgraded this year to accommodate the increase in power; as with the coupe, there will be no manual transmission on offer. McLaren says acceleration will essentially be on par with the coupe’s—keeping pace to 60 mph but adding a tenth or two at speeds above 100 mph—and that top speed will drop by 3 mph, to 204.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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