Motoring journalists are not an easy crowd to please; at least the pros. Supercars get their fair share of criticism if they deserve it, even if it means that the “offending” editor or publication is subsequently considered a persona non gratta for the manufacturer.
All motoring hacks agreed that McLaren’s MP4-12C was something of a mixed bag. An impressive piece of engineering, it got top marks for its technology, interior, performance, handling and ride.
On the downside, it failed in its most critical test: it didn’t measure up to the class benchmark, Ferrari’s 458. Put simply, it was deemed too clinical and uninvolving, which are cardinal sins as far as a supercar is concerned.
Company boss Ron Dennis was not very happy. He didn’t ban them from driving his car though (well, apart from Fifth Gear's Tiff Needell who totally bashed the MP4-12C). Instead, McLaren made some last-minute changes and later introduced an upgrade package, which (unnecessarily, probably) increased performance, and, more importantly, made the driver feel more connected to the car.
A little while after Maranello launched the open-top variant of the 458, Woking unveiled what it hopes will be its nemesis: the MP4-12C Spider. Like its Italian rival, it gets a folding hard-top but, in every other aspect, is identical to the 2013 coupe version.
Just a few days after releasing the Spider’s full specs, the British carmaker invited the first batch of journalists to sample its 616HP open-top supercar in Spain, both at public roads and at the Ascari circuit.
Car & Driver contributing Editor Basem Wasef was in Malaga to find out whether the Spider lives up to McLaren’s hype. You can find out what he makes of it by watching the video right after the break.
By Andrew Tsaousis