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SSO Update: McLaren 12C Spider
October 16, 2013 6:22 AM  |  Posted By: Secret Supercar Owner
Rated 3.0 out of 5.0 by 5 members  |  9 Comments  |  13123 Views
Related Categories: Supercars

As we are in our 6th month with the McLaren 12C Spider I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how life with the car has been so far.  In a word, terrific.  It is easily the most “livable” supercar we have owned to date.  It handles a wide range of conditions with confidence and is the first supercar that we both enjoy driving on a regular basis.  This adds to the versatility and certainly increases the amount of road time the 12C Spider sees.  It is also the first supercar that I really don’t mind driving in the rain.  While I have driven plenty of different supercars in just about every condition imaginable, the 12C Spider is the first that delivers zero added stress when the weather gets nasty.  Being able to drop the rear window a bit with the roof up in liquid sunshine is a quite cool feature.

The 12C Spider’s versatility is highly impressive.  Getting caught in traffic and having to crawl is not the temperature gauge watching stress test of prior generations of supercars.  Visibility is excellent once one learns the sightlines from the different mirrors and the front corners are easy to place.   The three settings on both the gearbox and suspension allow for a huge range of different set ups.  We have three combinations we use most often; hers, cruising, and go.  On a clear twisty road the 12C Spider is brilliant.  Getting in sync with the car happens very naturally and the confidence to push and push on builds naturally.  It is not a car you need to fight with, wrestle, or manhandle to get the best from it.  Calm and cool are two words that I would use to describe the McLaren.  In some supercars, you always have the feeling that it could all end suddenly and very badly.  In the McLaren you have the distinct feeling that the cars abilities far out exceed the drivers and as long as you don’t do anything silly, you will be fine.

In terms of reliability and running costs so far it has all pretty much been as expected.  Drive it with vigor and gas mileage is not great.  Cruise on the highway in 7th gear and the 12C Spider sips gently from the tank.  Oil consumption has been zero and checking the level is very easy compared to a few of the others I own.  The tyres hold pressure well and so far have not needed to be topped off.  Iris works fine but I have to admit we don’t use it that much.  When we need a Sat Nav, I tend to bring the Garmin along as it has the live traffic updates.  The 12C Spider did throw a minor temper tantrum once with a low oil pressure warning message.  We let the car sit for a few minutes, checked the oil level, restarted the engine and the warning message has never returned.  A quick call to McLaren Service confirmed that it was mostly likely a sensor fault and they would replace it at the next service. 

After living with the car for multiple months now, there are a few things I would add or change.  First and foremost on the list would be longer paddles, preferably made from carbon fiber.  These should be standard.  I would also fit a larger fuel tank.  Range really is not that great and a 100 liter tank should be standard.  Final one on this list is a small pocket on the driver’s side door where you could drop your wallet, keys, or phone.  Other than this very short list, I would not touch a thing.

When we acquired the McLaren 12C Spider we had very high expectations.  To date the car has certainly delivered.  The original rough idea was to keep the 12C Spider until the P1 arrived.  New plan is to keep it, period. 

My Twitter account is @SupercarOwner . I will send out a message when the latest Fast Fleet article is out or blog is posted.

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Secret Supercar Owner at 2:13 PM November 19, 2013

I have heard that some of the early cars had a lot of problems. I learned my lesson buying an early production Ferrari 456 GT. Car was a complete horror show. Early 458s also had a tendency to BBQ their owners. Also had an early BMW E39 M5 that had an engine which eat more oil than petrol.

Georgy at 11:26 PM November 18, 2013

I own a 12c, bought new octobre 2011, vin xxx136, and I feel cheated. Car never delivered what was promised, and I am trying to sell it half price for about a year now. No interest. My list of grievances is too long to get into, and dealership is crap. Maybe I am going to put it on fire in front of the McLaren offices. Feeling this disenfranchised was what the McLaren marketing promised to be impossible. Yet again McLaren pulled of an impossible feat, now in Formula S***. Thanx for a truely unforgettable experience. My 458 and 458speciale that will replace it in february are in a different league all together, and I would like to thank McLaren for making me love Ferrari even more. I wonder how many F1 drivers drive McLaren privately, except for the obvious. And even when Lewis drove for them, he drove Italian, maybe that's why he left, not a bad move.

egldman at 10:28 PM November 13, 2013

Great to know, just picked up a 2014 Volcano Yellow Spider.

Secret Supercar Owner at 8:10 PM October 29, 2013

All of them actually get quite positive responses. I have gotten more negative reactions to the Porsche Cayenne than all the others combined.

JakobusVdL at 11:37 AM October 26, 2013

Sounds like a delight to own and drive. What sort of reaction do you get from other road users, and which of your supercars gets the most positive response?

Secret Supercar Owner at 8:35 AM October 19, 2013

For everyday use, the 458 and 12C are very close. However I would give the edge to the 12C based on its overall manners. The earlier comment on rigidity is really only applicable on the track or in a situation where you are really pushing the car hard.

Josh at 7:00 AM October 17, 2013

So in terms of practicality then the 458 can't compete with everyday use?

Secret Supercar Owner at 2:39 PM October 16, 2013

Yes, 458 Spider is more high strung and aluminum body losses some rigidity when you remove the roof. 12C Spider uses a CF tub so no loss in stiffness.

Josh at 12:36 PM October 16, 2013

Have you been able to compare your experience with 458 Spider owners?

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