Don't miss the new February 2012 issue of CAR Magazine - on sale now - for our eight-page McLaren supercar scoop feature. We reveal what the new McLaren P12 supercar, aka the modern F1, will look like at launch in the next 12 months and also publish totally undisguised shots of the new MP4-12C Spyder.
CAR has obtained a handful of spyshots of the MP4-12C Spyder without any camouflage or decoy body panels. It's a slick convertible version of the MP4-12C coupe, with a folding metal roof engineered by Webasto like the one on its target car, Ferrari's 458 Spider.
Although our world exclusive spyshots are a bit grainy - they were taken on a cameraphone - they reveal exactly how the McLaren 12C roadster will look when it's unveiled later in 2012. We've computer-enhanced them in the printed magazine (see example spreads, above), but what you see in the 12C spy photos is 100% unadulterated by Photoshop.
What else do we know about the new McLaren MP4-12C Spyder?
Rather a lot, as it turns out. This prototype is a styling buck without an engine, but its three-piece aluminium and plastic roof (part of which is manufactured by Lotus) is clear to see.
Unlike on Ferrari's 458 Spider, the same 3.8-litre V8 from the McLaren coupe is on view in this roadster. Woking has lowered the plenum cover by 8mm to make space for the roof-folding mechanism and there's a see-through engine cover to show off the powertrain.
CAR's sources suggest the three-piece roof will convert the McLaren 12C from coupe to roadster in around 17 seconds, and will operate at speeds of up to 5mph in case you get caught short at the traffic lights.
So the McLaren roadster isn't a full convertible?
Not really. Our insiders talk of it more like a targa top - those high-rise buttresses mean driver and passenger will be safely cocooned from the elements. They also provide rollover protection; there are no pop-up pyrotechnics in case of an accident.
The new McLaren MP4-12C Spyder is due to be unveiled later in 2012. Expect performance on a par with the coupe; it will share the tin-top's 592bhp and 442lb ft V8, mounted amidships so the baseline figures will shadow its 205mph and 3.3sec 0-60mph times.
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