The 12C Spider:McLaren's Arachnid Invades City Centre

British engineering was on display at the Houston Motor Club in City Centre last night when McLaren was on hand to unveil its new supercar to the Texas market: the 12C Spider.

The Spider sports a unique single piece "MonoCell" body made of carbon fiber with aluminum trimming in the front and around the rear-mounted engine. She has a low profile, sleek body lines, and vertical dihedral "Lambo" doors.

McLaren dropped in the M838T engine, a 3.8L twin-turbo V8 beast pumping out 616 hp and 443 ft/ lbs. of torque. It's supported by a 7-speed transmission with dual clutch Seamless Shift Gearbox technology.

If it all sounds familiar, it's because these are all the same specs pulled from the McLaren MP4-12C, a coupe supercar that the British manufacturer unleashed last year.

The difference for the 12C Spider happens in 17 seconds. No, that's not the car's quarter-mile run: that's actually estimated at 10.8 seconds. 17 seconds is how long it takes for the car's retractable roof to hide behind the pair of bucket seats.

According to Simon Crossley of McLaren Dallas at Park Place, the difference in performance between the two cars is almost non-existent. With the top down on the Spider, the coupe is quicker by mere milliseconds. With the top up, you can expect the same performance.

It's the old debate between car enthusiasts. Gear heads have always preferred coupes, looking for better performance; while convertibles were always made for those who just want the ride.

"The engineers at McLaren worked and worked to ensure that there wouldn't be a drop off in performance with the new 12C Spider," Crossley said.

The supercar on display at Houston Motor Club was only a prototype. McLaren plans to go into production for the 12C in November of this year, with the first racers finding homes in Late February to early March 2013. McLaren plans to produce more Spiders than coupes next year, as early demands indicate the convertibles will be more popular.

Don't expect to see much of these Spiders on road, though. The sticker on the 12C Spider starts at $260,000 - that's 15 grand more than the coupe. Leather upgrade and tint, obviously, are extra.

And if you want one more look:


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Danny Lopez