During crankandpiston’s most recent conversations with McLaren Middle East (“go on, one more drive won’t hurt!”), talk of a ‘secret project’ and ‘big plans’ kept popping up.
Now even though I am fast approaching the big 30, my inner 8-year-old suddenly began conjuring up images of grappling hooks, intricate disguises, international espionage, and top-secret documents changing hands aboard the Orient Express.
Still, an invite to Dubai‘s Burj Khalifa for a sneak peak at McLaren’s new 12C Spider was a pleasant alternative.
Although the new Spider has yet to turn a finely polished wheel before media representatives, McLaren has revealed that – since the MP4-12C was originally designed to be a convertible – only 40kg of weight has been added in lieu of any strengthening components being necessary. Essentially then, performance figures remain pretty much the same.
Power once again comes from a 3.8l twin-turbocharged V8 and will produce the same 616bhp as the new-for-2013 coupe model which was recently announced. This means an identical 3.1s 0-100kph, a near identical 0-200kph time (9s rather than 8.8s), and a top speed only 4kph slower than the new coupe’s 333kph. There are even elements that remain unchanged on the outside. The dihedral doors for instance remain unchanged, as does much of the bodywork.
The most significant modifications however emerge when the hardtop roof is folded away (in less than 17s, FYI) and the rear buttresses behind the seats are showcased. This being McLaren, these primarily serve as rollover protection, but it’s nice to see one of the automotive industry‘s most, er, ‘sensible’ manufacturers has been a bit adventurous with its styling. The ‘Volcano’ Red launch paint seems to suggest as much too.