McLaren showed its 12C Spider for the first time in public at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and this morning confirmed its price in the UK.

£195,500 may seem a lot for a car – even one as quick as this, especially since the 12C Coupe can be yours for £176,000. But it’s worth bearing in mind that 20 years ago McLaren’s first road car (the F1) would set you back £540,000 and yet was 0.6 seconds ‘slower’ than the 12C to 125mph (200km/h). The 12C Spider’s nearest competitor, Ferrari’s 458 Spider will set you back just a few thousand more at £198,906.

Back in 1992 the price of fuel was 40.3 pence per litre, compared with an average of 134.1 pence per litre in 2012. Even taking into account the F1’s higher fuel consumption, that still makes owning a McLaren supercar in 2012 considerably cheaper than it was in 1992.

The 12C Spider shown at Pebble Beach featured a new volcano yellow paint colour, matched with its unique Retractable Hard Top (RHT) folding roof system that can be lowered or raised on the move.

Power comes from the same 616 bhp 3.8-litre V8 twin turbo engine as the Coupe, transmitted to the rear wheels through a 7-Speed SSG dual-clutch transmission. The 12C Spider’s lightweight M838T power plant is visible through a glass screen positioned behind the tonneau cover.

McLaren use the same 73kg ‘MonoCell’ in the 12C Spider without additional strengthening, which means the Spider is only 39kg heavier than its fixed roof sibling and near-as-dammit identical in performance. The 12C Spider features a passive Roll Over Protection System to maximise occupant safety, with the steel structure of each buttress designed to absorb impact energy and protect both driver and passenger.

So with little in the way of disadvantages, the 12C Spider is all about immersing the driver (and passenger) in the exhilarating noise of the 12C Spider’s V8 twin turbo engine – something that’s surprisingly easy to do, given the 12C’s remarkable usability.

With the roof raised, the area under the tonneau cover becomes an additional luggage area, making it an ideal location for the specially designed luggage (two soft bags) supplied as standard with every 12C Spider.

The 12C Spider is available to order now, with deliveries expected to arrive in early 2013.

Source: Petrol Price Index via