The 2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider mixes un-compromised fun of a coupe while providing the infinite headroom of a roadster. The engineers at McLaren have solved the age-old debacle on the open rooftop by integrating a one-piece carbon fiber pod, which accounts for the structural rigidity of the car. This is an F1 car with real road comfort.
2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider Review
The design and thoughts on the Spider rode alongside the creation of its coupe counterpart at McLaren’s headquarters in Woking, England. One needs to have a look at McLaren’s headquarters to grasp McLaren’s creative philosophy or to understand the voluminous work they did to take on the likes of Ferrari.
The idea was simple, yet clever. What McLaren did was dig into its F1 roots to find out that they already knew how to manage the loss of torsional twist, which rose from the lack of roof support. Their 165 pound, carbon-fibre mono-cell tub is strong enough to withstand the twist forces that a convertible would struggle with during cornering. The two-piece folding roof retracts in just 17 seconds and adds just 40kgs to that of the coupe. So, essentially what the customer gets is the added benefit of an open top without any handling compromise.
We found out that one needs to spend some time in the car to get acquainted with the controls. The air conditioning controls for speed and temperature are located on the doors and the controls for adjusting the side view mirrors are on the right hand side of the steering wheel. But let’s just leave all the buttons aside and get familiarized with the two dials which has “H” and “P” marked below them denoting “Handling” and “Power-train”.
Handling has three settings (Normal, Sport, & Track, with an “Aero” button in the middle that lifts the spoiler to a higher incline, and flaps almost vertically restricting rear view upon hard braking.) On the right you would find the : Power-train, which has the same options but with a “Manual” button in the center. This would restrict one to the sole utilization of the paddles.
The sensation of a 0 to 100kmph thrust is gradual till the time the twin turbos spool up and once past the 4000rpm mark it will push the internal organs up against the spinal cord. The 7 speed dual clutch gearbox offered seamless and crisp up-shifts all the way to the 8500 red line. The 3.8litre V8 now has 616hp, up a few percent in power from last year but owners who purchased previous years’ editions need not worry, McLaren will upgrade the ECU for free. How about that!
The soundtrack of the car would raise the hairs on the back of anyones neck. The deep bass at low rpms rises to a shrill as the rpms keeps on rising. That and the turbocharger whine along with the intake will make anyone feel light headed, in a good way.
Despite the handing and performance abilities the McLaren Spider does offer a very compliant drive at any speeds. There were no hiccups on stop and go traffic, and the stretch of rock paved road opposite Spinneys at the Dubai Autodrome felt the same as the VW Golf R. Yes it was not spine shattering hard like the GT-R and that was a good thing. We have benchmarked a lot of the performance cars around the GT-R. The McLaren matches it for pace, but it does this with ease and comfort. That in our opinion says a lot.
The MP4-12C marks the first for McLaren in designing a super sport from ground up. This includes the chassis, body, electronics and now for the first time a cracker of a V8. Well done boys, thank you for re-igniting all our senses at once.
|2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider|
|Displacement||3,799 cc, V8 twin-turbo, dry sump|
|Rated Output||616 hp @ 7500 rpm|
|Rated Torque||600Nm @ 3000 to 7000 rpm|
|Max Engine Speed||8500 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||7 speed McLaren dual clutch seamless-shift Gearbox (SSG)|
|Max Speed||333 km/h|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||3.3 s ( 3.1 s with Corsa tyres)|
|Braking 100-0 km/h||30.7 meters|
|Power to weight ratio||459bhp / tonne|
|Weight distribution (f/r)||42% / 58%|
|Price (AED)||1.1 Million to 1.3 Million|
** Our tester came with Super-Lightweight wheels which shaves 10kgs from the standard wheel, carbon fibre engine covers.