Cars > McLaren > Mclaren 12C Spider 2012

By Ketan Patel

Mclaren 12C Spider 2012 Review

McLaren has recently announced their plans on launching their very first convertible road-going supercar, the McLaren 12C Spider 2012. The new model is basically a topless version of the successful MP4-12C and interestingly enough it comes with all the updates brought by the MP4-12C 2013 hardtop.

Under its hood there's nothing changed so the Spider comes with the same beasty 3.8 liter twin-turbo V8 engine able to develop 616 horsepower. Top speed has been slightly reduced compared with the hardtop and the Spider's top speed is 204 mph instead of 207. The V8 unit is coupled with a 7-speed SSG dual-clutch transmission which sends all the 616 horsepower to the rear wheels.

The retractable hard top can be operated at up to 19 miles per hour and it takes only 17 seconds for the roof to be raised or lowered. An electrical windscreen that can be raised or lowered has also been fitted behind the driver and passenger seats.

The McLaren 12C Spider 2012 is clearly a direct competitor to the Ferrari 458 Spider unveiled last year, so a small comparison between the two seems appropriate. In case you're wondering, the roof on the Ferrari retracts in just 14 seconds, so that's at least one point for the 458.

As mentioned before the Spider comes with all the updates included in the 2013 hardtop model, and that includes the updated Climate Control System, the Intake Sound Generator system which lets the driver choose between three levels of engine noise and updated "auto-headlights" that are automatically switched on when the rain sensors detect rain, just to name a few.

Other distinctive features are the passive Roll Over Protection System that increases safety, a set of bespoke luggage that offers the possibility to use 52 liters of storage when the roof is raised, Brake Steer, McLaren's unique Airbrake system and ProActive Chassis Control.

Customization options include the Volcano Red and Volcano Yellow exterior paint finishes that were introduced with the MP4-12C 2013, as well as the exclusive new trim level on the interior that includes semi-perforated leather and Alcantara. The Diamond Cut finish on the forged wheels is also available on the Spider, besides the standard Silver and Stealth finishes.

The McLaren 12C Spider 2012 is expected to be ready for delivery in November this year and in case you are wondering how much will this beauty cost in the UK, the answer is £195,500.

Hide Official Press Release

  • Unique Retractable Hard Top (RHT) of new 12C Spider may be operated at speeds up to 30kph (19mph)
  • Shared Formula 1 technology DNA in 12C and 12C Spider means performance is similarly impressive for both derivatives
  • McLaren 12C Spider configurator launched online at:
  • 12C Spider now available to order through 38 McLaren retailers in 22 countries worldwide

McLaren Automotive today announces the launch of its second model in the MP4-12C family: the stunning new 12C Spider.  With a lightweight, high powered engine developing an incredible 625 PS (616 bhp), unique RHT folding roof system that may be operated while on the move, and carbon ‘MonoCell’ chassis identical to that of the groundbreaking 12C, the 12C Spider is a luxury convertible sports car that offers prospective owners a unique combination of spectacular performance with remarkable usability.

The new 12C Spider is now available to order from bespoke new McLaren retailers across the globe. First deliveries to customers are planned for November this year.

Antony Sheriff, McLaren Automotive Managing Director said: “I am really excited to announce that the new 12C Spider is now available to order at new McLaren retailers worldwide. The launch of our second model is an exciting milestone in the growth of our company.

“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.”

Best-in-class performance

The 12C Spider’s impressive 625 PS output from its bespoke 3.8-litre V8 twin turbo engine is transmitted to the car’s rear driven wheels through a 7 Speed SSG dual-clutch transmission, which itself provides lightning-fast gear changes through rocker-mounted shift paddles affixed to the rear of the steering wheel.  A clear view of the 12C Spider’s lightweight M838T power plant is available through a glass screen positioned behind the tonneau cover.

Vehicle dynamics technology including Brake Steer, ProActive Chassis Control and the unique McLaren Airbrake combine to offer sublime comfort in all driving conditions; and yet deliver race car performance and handling on track.  An overview of 12C Spider performance compared with the 12C is below:


MP4-12C Spider*
(625 PS/616 bhp)

MP4-12C *
(625 PS/616 bhp)

0-62 mph (0-100 kph)

3.1 sec

3.1 sec

0-100mph (0-161kph)



0-124 mph (0-200 kph)

9.0 sec

8.8 sec

¼ mile (400m)

10.8 sec @ 134 mph (216 kph)

10.6 sec @ 136 mph (219 kph)

V Max

204 mph (329 kph)

207 mph (333 kph)

Fuel efficiency, EU MPG (litres/100km)

24.2 (11.7)

24.2 (11.7)

CO2 g/km



* when specified with PZero Corsa tyres

Technical specification highlights

McLaren is a carbon pioneer. In 1981 McLaren gave a debut to 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 McLaren Automotive engineers to apply its carbon expertise when developing the groundbreaking one-piece moulded chassis of the 12C. With the 12C designed originally as a convertible, its 75kg ‘MonoCell’ requires no additional strengthening for it to feature in the 12C Spider. The result is a sports car almost identical to its fixed roof equivalent in performance terms, and weighing only 40kg more with the addition of a convertible roof system.

The Retractable Hard Top of the 12C Spider is operated using a switch in the lower section of the centre console inside the cabin, taking less than 17 seconds to raise or lower. Unlike many other convertible models, the roof can be operated whilst the 12C Spider is moving at speeds of up to 30 kph (19mph).

Behind driver and passenger sits a rear windscreen which may also be electronically lowered and raised. With the roof lowered this acts as wind deflector to minimise disturbance to the 12C Spider’s occupants. With the roof raised the rear window can be lowered, allowing the exhilarating noise of the 12C Spider’s V8 twin turbo engine to flood the cabin on demand at any time. 

With the roof raised the area under the tonneau can be used as an additional luggage area which provides 52 litres of useful storage space.  Bespoke luggage has been designed specifically to fit this space and is supplied as standard with every 12C Spider.

The 12C Spider also features a passive Roll Over Protection System to maximise occupant safety. Each buttress contains a steel structure designed to absorb impact energy and protect both driver and passenger.

Creating one in a million: 12C Spider personalisation highlights

Launched in Volcano Red - one of 17 exterior paint finishes currently available for the 12C and 12C Spider- both 12C derivatives will also be available in optional Volcano Yellow, a striking new high quality paint which features in the ‘Elite’ range of exterior finishes.

Inside, an exclusive new interior trim has been developed for the 2013 model year 12C and new 12C Spider. High quality semi-aniline perforated leather and Alcantara may be selected in a variety of combinations to suit an owner’s personal taste. 

A new wheel design, and ‘Diamond Cut’ finishes for existing lightweight and super lightweight forged wheel designs may be selected for the 12C Spider. Standard Silver or Stealth finishes are offered for all wheel designs.

Vehicle Lift will be available as an option on 2013 model year vehicles. The system allows the 12C Spider to be raised front and rear for improved ground clearance. This technology permits the vehicle to be raised by up to 40mm at the front and 25mm at the rear of the 12C Spider, and may remain in position at up to 60kph (37mph).

Prospective customers and sports car fans alike are encouraged to visit the new 12C Spider online configurator, and discover a range of exciting options that may be specified in literally millions of unique combinations. The 12C Spider configurator is now live at:

The McLaren 12C Spider is now available to order at all of McLaren’s 38 retailers in 22 countries worldwide, with deliveries to first customers planned for November 2012.


Notes to Editors:

McLaren MP4-12C Spider technical specification

Drivetrain layout

Longitudinal mid-engine, RWD

Engine configuration

V8 twin turbo

Engine material

Aluminium block and cylinder heads


Dry sump

Compression ratio



32-valve, DOHC, dual VVT

Redline ( rpm)


Bore x Stroke (mm)

93 x 69.9

Engine displacement (cc)


PS / rpm

625 / 7500

Torque Nm / rpm

600 / 3000-7000

PS per litre



7 Speed SSG

Body structure

Carbon fibre MonoCell with aluminum front and rear frames

Wheelbase (mm)


Track, F/R (mm)

1656 / 1583

Length (mm)


Width (mm)  @ widest point


Height (mm)


DIN weight (kg / lbs)

1474 / 3249

Dry weight (kg / lbs)

1376 / 3033

Dry weight with lightweight options (kg / lbs)

1341 / 2956

Weight distribution at DIN F / R %

42 /  58

Active aerodynamics

McLaren Airbrake


ProActive Chassis Control

ProActive Chassis Control modes

Winter / Normal / Sport / Track

Powertrain modes

Winter / Normal / Sport / Track


Cast iron discs with forged aluminum hubs
(F  370mm / R 350 mm)

Wheel sizes (F / R)

19” x 8.5”J / 20” x 11” J

Tyres (F / R)

Pirelli PZero 235/35 R19 / 305/30 R20

McLaren Automotive heritage:

McLaren Automotive has a 20 year heritage in producing landmark sports cars for the road: the McLaren F1 road car, which was launched in 1992, set the world land speed record for a production car, and is regarded as one of the iconic sports cars of the modern age. The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (2003 – 2009) is the most successful supercar ever in its price bracket, having sold twice as many cars as its nearest carbon-based rival.

McLaren Automotive has now moved from these successful automotive projects to launching a new car company that will design, develop, and distribute a range of high performance, highly efficient and technologically innovative sports cars through a global network of highly respected premium car retailers in every major automotive market.  

Around 4,000 sports cars will be built annually by the middle of the decade in the advanced new manufacturing facility, the McLaren Production Centre. McLaren Automotive’s debut model is the 12C. Drawing on the company’s long-standing Formula 1 experience in its concept and development, the 12C is lighter, faster, more powerful, more fuel efficient and more exclusive than its key competition. It supports its performance benchmarks by introducing a unique one-piece moulded carbon chassis into the ‘core’ sports car segment in a new production method that brings the performance of £500,000 cars to market at a third of the price. All future McLarens will continue the themes presented by the 12C: innovation, integration of Formula 1 technology, and ultimate performance.

In 2011 McLaren Automotive announced the launch of McLaren GT; a new race car manufacturer combining the expertise of McLaren Automotive, McLaren Racing, McLaren Electronic Systems, McLaren Applied Technologies and CRS Racing.  McLaren GT is responsible for developing the first racing derivative of the 12C sports car, the MP4-12C GT3.  Twenty-five examples of the MP4-12C GT3 are now racing with private teams in Europe in 2012.


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