McLaren have chosen to fit a unique Retractable Hard Top (RHT) to its new 12C Spider, which can be operated at speeds up to 19mph (30km/h). The second model in the MP4-12C family comes to the market hot on the heels of Ferrari’s recently released 458 Italia Spider, which appeared at last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The new 12C Spider is in most respects identical to the 12C hardtop, with the same 616bhp 3.8-litre V8 twin turbo engine, carbon ‘MonoCell’ chassis and spectacular performance.

Power is transmitted to the car’s rear wheels through a 7 Speed SSG dual-clutch transmission, which itself provides instant gear changes through steering wheel mounted shift paddles. A clear view of the 12C Spider’s lightweight M838T engine is available through a glass screen positioned behind the tonneau cover adding that extra touch of glamour to McLaren’s already impressive sports car.

The 12C’s Vehicle dynamics technology including Brake Steer, ProActive Chassis Control and the unique McLaren Airbrake combine to offer a comfortable ride, yet deliver race car performance and handling on track.

  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) 6.1 6.0
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
24.2 (11.7) 24.2 (11.7)
CO2 g/km 279 279

* when specified with PZero Corsa tyres

* * *

The 12C Spider’s Retractable Hard Top

The 12C Spider weighs just 40kg more than its hardtop sibling due to its ‘MonoCell’ construction, which requires no additional strengthening with its roof structure removed. McLaren say the additional weight comes mainly from its new convertible hard top 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 — provided the 12C Spider is moving at speeds of less than 19mph.

Behind driver and passenger sits a rear windscreen, which can also be lowered and raised electrically. With the roof lowered this acts as wind deflector to minimise disturbance to the 12C Spider’s occupants. Likewise, with the roof raised the rear window can be lowered, allowing the sound of the 12C Spider’s V8 twin turbo engine to flood the cabin.

The 12C Spider features a passive Roll Over Protection System, using a steel structure within each buttress to absorb impact energy and protect both driver and passenger.

With the roof raised the area under the tonneau cover can provide 52 litres of additional storage space.


You’ll be pleased to hear there’s a 12C Spider configurator alreadly online at, in which you can choose from 17 exterior paint finishes, a new perforated leather/alcantara trim and ‘Diamond Cut’ finishes to the lightweight and super lightweight forged wheel designs.

Vehicle Lift is now available as an option (on all 2013 model cars), which enables the 12C Spider to be raised 40mm at the front and 25mm at the rear, for improved ground clearance. The 12C can then remain in position at speeds of up to 37mph.

Deliveries to first customers are planned from November 2012 at a starting price of £195,500 in the UK.

* * *

You may have noticed in recent McLaren statements, a tendency to use the shorthand “12C” rather than “MP4-12C” when referring to its road cars. This is because more McLaren road cars are on their way, and it would be confusing if they all were prefixed with ‘MP4’ in their name. For the time being there are two, but four more are in the pipeline as McLaren Automotive grows towards its target of 5,000-6,000 cars per year.