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DAY ONE - UNDER THE ENGLISH CHANNEL INTO FRANCE

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July 3 is going to be a bad day to be a Ferrari 458 Spider or a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. That's because on that day one week from now, McLaren will be releasing a Spider of its own.

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McLaren has confirmed the rumored improvements to its 2013 MP4-12C, which we can now refer to as the "616-horsepower British exotic." The revised model carries a $239,400 base price in the U.S., which does not include $2,400 in destination charges.

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Our friends at Car and Driver recently spent some time poking and prodding around McLaren headquarters in Woking, England, and they have confirmed plans for a convertible MP4-12C. This isn't exactly earth-shattering news, having been rumored since 2009 and even spotted earlier this year, but it does suggest the program is on track for a public reveal this year. The MP4-12C Spyder is expected to be mechanically identical to its hard top cousin, which means buyers can look forward to finding twin-

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We can officially consider this drive of the McLaren MP4-12C our second go at it. In brief, Mother Nature conspired with UK tradition and made our second crack at this British super coupe pretty much a total wash. It didn't matter how many times the McLaren folks reminded us just how "perfect" and "dry" the previous two days had been; we were swimming and freezing, but the proceedings forced us to switch quickly from crybaby into lemonade-from-lemons mode.

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McLaren has a lot of territory to cover if it's going to catch up with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche. After all, a lot has changed since they stopped selling the their seminal F1 supercar – the business is different and so is the company. Fortunately, if anyone's up to the task, it's the boys from Woking.

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An interview and walkaround with McLaren's Antony Sheriff

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McLaren MP4-12C (above) and McLaren F1 (top) – Click above for high-res image gallery

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McLaren MP4-12C – Click above for an image gallery

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