Given how almost every supercar spawns a convertible version several months after the coupe debuts, we weren’t that surprised when McLaren announced it would build a drop-top MP4-12C supercar. Today, the automaker revealed its new open-top model, called the MP4-12C Spider, which goes on sale at the end of this year.
McLaren had previewed the new model with a teaser photo. The 12C Spider uses the same carbon-fiber "MonoCell" chassis as the coupe model, albeit with a power-folding roof that can lower in just 17 seconds. The roof can be operated at speeds up to 19 mph. Whereas many convertibles are much heavier than their coupe counterparts due to the addition of structural bracing, McLaren says the MP4-12C was designed from the outset to support a roadster variant, so the Spider weighs only 88 pounds more than the coupe.
Power comes from the same twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter V-8 engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as the MP4-12C coupe. The engine has been upgraded to 616 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque for the 2013 model year. McLaren says the 12C Spider will run from 0-to-62-mph in 3.1 seconds, finish the quarter mile in 10.8 seconds, and reach a top speed of 204 mph. The MP4-12C coupe, by contrast, is said to require 3.1 seconds and 10.6 seconds for those acceleration benchmarks, and tops out at 207 mph.
There's an electrically operated glass window behind the driver and passenger, which can be lowered whether or not the roof is down. Doing so allows the occupants to better hear the car's exhaust note. McLaren also has designed special suitcases, fitted as standard, that slot into the tonneau area when the roof is up.
"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," McLaren Automotive managing director Antony Sheriff said in a statement. "It undoubtedly enhances an already euphoric 12C driving experience."
New for the 2013 model year is an interior finish that combines Alcantara and semi-aniline leather, a new wheel design, "Diamond" finish for all wheels, and a new Volcano Yellow paint. Both the MP4-12C coupe and 12C Spider can be equipped with asystem that raises the suspension for crossing speed bumps or steep driveways. It raises the front by 1.6 inch and the rear by 0.99 inch, at speeds up to 37 mph.
U.S. deliveries of the 2013 McLaren 12C Spider are scheduled to begin in late December or early January 2013. The car makes its public debut in August at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The McLaren Spider costs $268,250 (after a $2500 destination charge); the 2013 MP4-12C coupe starts at $241,800.