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wheels car of the year 2012: Best supercar McLaren MP4-12C Spider

One of the easiest decisions we ever had to make was the unanimously elected Supercar of the Year

McLaren MP4-12C Spider
Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/ANM
McLaren has given the 12C more power (616hp) and a louder exhaust.

Aah, the McLaren Spider. It’s a lot easier to say than ‘The McLaren MP4-12C Spider’ and until and unless they bring out a second model Spider, it’ll do for me. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the MP4-12C, so when I saw the Spider for the first time, I was bowled over.

It just looks so right, and so, so pretty. And now that McLaren has given the 12C more power (616hp) and a louder exhaust note, it’s as though they built it with my garage in mind. The good news is, it fits.

The retracting roof neatly drops down behind the integral rollover buttresses in 17 seconds, while the rear glass can be raised to act as a wind deflector, or lowered when the roof is up, to increase engine noise in the cabin.

My kind of design touch! A convertible version was always part of McLaren’s plans for this car, and the carbon-fibre MonoCell, which is at the heart of the MP4-12C’s strength and lightness, means there’s no sacrifice in terms of the vehicle’s rigidity, and at just 40kg more than the coupé, practically none in weight either.

With what must surely be the best sportscar suspension on the market today, the McLaren revels on a race track (which goes without saying, given its heritage) but is equally at home on the road, where its magnetorheological suspension switches to ‘fast, comfortable, and soaking up the potholes” when you select Normal mode.

Proof that you really can have your track-day cake and eat it on the open road too. But please, not in the cockpit – you’d tarnish the immaculate, deliberately understated interior and, anyway, it’s difficult to flick through the delightful seven speed paddle shifts with gateaux on your fingers.

How difficult was it selecting the MP4-12C Spider as our Supercar of the Year? Piece of cake.