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If you're going to go up against the Ferrari 458, a coupe isn't going to do it alone. No, for that you'll need a convertible version, too, to steal away customers who'd otherwise be putting their names down on the wait list for the 458 Spider.

Lamborghini knows that, as it has demonstrated with successive versions of the Gallardo. Audi knows it too, as it has shown with the R8 Spyder. Aston Martin makes a DBS Volante and Porsche offers a 911 Turbo convertible. So if McLaren is going to play in this league, it's going to need a convertible version of its MP4-12C. And if it's going to outshine these soft-topped contenders and pick up market share from the 458 Spider with its innovative folding hard-top, it's going to need a similarly impressive parlor trick, too. Fortunately that's just what's coming down the pipeline.

According to the latest intel from British weekly Autocar, McLaren has been collaborating with Webasto on a new type of roof mechanism for the upcoming 12C Spyder. Now if the name Webasto sounds familiar, that's probably because it's the same German outfit that developed the apertures for the Mini, Volkswagen Eos, Volvo C70 and, most crucially, the Ferrari California and 458 Spider.

For McLaren, Webasto is said to have made a three-piece folding roof that stacks in between the seats and the engine, allowing the twin-turbo V8 to be viewed through its clear compartment cover – something the 458 cannot boast. The panels themselves will likely be crafted from carbon fiber like much of the rest of the MP4-12C, but as for the nomenclature we'll have to wait and see. The only other roadgoing convertible McLaren ever produced was the SLR Roadster, whose name was likely determine by Mercedes-Benz, not by McLaren. Other convertibles on the market take the name Spider, Spyder, Speedster, Roadster, Cabrio, Cabriolet, Drophead Coupe, Volante or simply Convertible.

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