Spy Shots

McLaren MP4-12C Spyder caught on camera with its top down

If you're going to make a mid-engined supercar, you've got to make a roadster version. You simply have to, and that's all there is to it. Ferrari does with the 458 Spider, just as it did with the F430, 360, 355 and 348 before it. Lamborghini does with the Gallardo. Audi does with the R8. And soon McLaren will with the MP4-12C. We know it will – it's just a matter of time. And now it appears that time is coming up soon.
Caught by in spy shots by Britain's Car magazine, the MP4-12C Spyder carries a folding solid roof mechanism – not unlike that found in the 458, but unlike the Ferrari's, does not hide the engine. That's because the system is more of a targa top. It's reportedly being built for McLaren by Webasto and – intriguingly enough – Lotus, made of aluminum and plastic, and can deploy or retract in about 17 seconds while rolling at up to five mph.

Otherwise it's expected to be mechanically identical to the fixed-roof version, complete with twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 pumping 592 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Expect the 12C Spyder to roll out some time later this year – in time for the summer, if McLaren's as smart and quick about it as it is with most things.

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