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McLaren 12C Spider roars in

Hellraiser: McLaren’s new 12C Spider shows its style as it burns up the tarmac.

Formula One team McLaren’s supercar branch spawns sleek 329km/h 12C roadster

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McLaren logo4 Jul 2012

By DAVID HASSALL

BRITISH supercar-maker McLaren Automotive today revealed full details and photos of its second model, the 12C Spider, the first example of which will be delivered to global customers in November.

In Australia, the 12C Spider will be priced at $543,900, about the same as the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder but $46,000 less than the Ferrari 458 Italia.

First local deliveries will take place in the first half of 2013.

With a top speed of 329km/h, the 12C Spider is one of the fastest convertibles in the world, though still well short of the 410km/h Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse.

The Spider is a convertible version of the acclaimed $490,000 McLaren MP4-12C coupe, but weighs 40kg more due to the retractable hardtop.

It is similarly built around McLaren’s ultra-strong Formula One-style carbon-fibre ‘MonoCell’ chassis, which weighs just 75kg and required no additional strengthening for its application in the open-top car.

The two-piece roof automatically opens or shuts within 17 seconds at speeds of up to 30km/h and is operated via a switch in the lower section of the centre console.

It retracts into a space between the occupants and the mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine.

With the roof raised, the 52-litre space can be used for additional luggage and with each car McLaren supplies bags designed specifically to fit.

Behind the passengers’ heads are speedster-style rollover hoops, between which a rear window can be electrically lowered and raised with the roof up or down.

The screen acts as a wind deflector in its raised position to reduce interior buffeting when the roof is retracted or with the roof raised, it can be lowered so the driver and passenger get the full effect of the engine howling right behind their ears.

A glass screen is also provided at the rear just behind the tonneau cover so the engine can be seen without lifting the tail.

The rollover hoops, which take the form of exaggerated flying buttresses, conceal permanent (rather than pop-up) steel structures to protect the occupants in the event of the car rolling.

Power and torque figures are unchanged in the Spider – 460kW at 7500rpm and 600Nm at 3000 to 7000rpm – but the extra 40kg of weight slightly blunts the supercar’s performance.

Driving through the same fast-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with rocker-mounted paddles at the rear of the steering wheel, the Spider takes the same 3.1 seconds to accelerate from a standing start to 100km/h – a quarter of a second faster than the 458 Spyder and 0.9s faster than the Gallardo.

However, the convertible is two-tenths of a second slower to reach 200km/h (9.0 seconds) and has a slightly lower top speed compared with 333km/h for the coupe, but is still about 4km/h faster than both the Ferrari and the Lamborghini.

McLaren Automotive celebrated its first birthday on June 21 – although the famous race team was formed in 1963 by New Zealand driver and engineer Bruce McLaren, who was killed while testing one of his own cars in June 1970.

The McLaren Group built its first road car, the confusingly named F1 three-seater, in 1992 and also constructed the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren super-coupe for Daimler AG between 2003 and 2009.

The road cars are built at the McLaren Production Centre alongside the famed Formula One team in Surrey, England, where the company expects to build 4000 sportscars a year by the middle of the decade.

McLaren Automotive managing director Antony Sheriff said he was excited to announce the company’s second model just one year after the coupe went on sale.

“The launch of our second model is an exciting milestone in the growth of our company,” he said.

“While the 12C is the technological essence of a race car, the 12C Spider incorporates an additional dimension.

“12C Spider owners will love the opportunity to lower the roof and hear the unhindered howl of a V8 twin-turbo engine at full throttle. It undoubtedly enhances an already euphoric 12C driving experience.

“The 12C Spider delivers all the thrills characteristic of a high-performance roadster, and yet transforms into a raucous track beast at the flick of a switch.

“I can’t wait to see it on road and track with customers later this year.” McLaren has 38 dealers in 22 countries worldwide, including the Trivett-owned McLaren Sydney outlet in Alexandria.

The company claims the 12C Spider offers prospective owners a unique combination of spectacular performance with remarkable usability.

Like the coupe, it comes with McLaren race-bred vehicle dynamics technology including Brake Steer, ProActive Chassis Control and the unique McLaren Airbrake.

A new option on all 2013 model year 12Cs, including the Spider, is Vehicle Lift, which allows the low-riding cars to be raised 40mm at the front and 25mm at the rear for improved clearance over speed bumps and the like at speeds of up to 60km/h.

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