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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have just spend several hours test driving a 12C Spider in a range of different conditions and environments. We started in heavy London traffic, cleared that for a short run on a very damp highway, then headed into the country for a bit of B road experience, before heading back into the city. During this period we had sun, moderately heavy rain, and intermittent showers. When it is just doing the last of the list, having the roof up with the rear window down is a terrific set up. Unlike other supercars, the 12C Spider was extremely well behaved in traffic. Crawling and stop and go did not faze it in the least. Traction on the wet road surface was also highly impressive and the rear stayed perfectly planted even when pushing on a bit. In a couple of cases I expected a bit of tail movement and there was none. The dual clutch gearbox takes about a minute to get used to, the paddles are nicely weighted, and shifts almost too smooth. I kept looking any signs of turbo lag and never found it. Unlike a lot of turbo cars, the power on the 12C-S is easy to modulate. While the McLaren is both hugely quick and very fast, it communicates very well and you do have a sensation at how fast you are going which is very reassuring. Handling is excellent, the nose goes right where you point it and the car is easy to place on the road. With both the powertrain and handling setting set to "Normal" the 12C-S is a nice GT cruiser that soaks up crappy road surfaces and is easy to drive for an extended period. Flip both over to track and the car really transforms and comes alive. In the track settings, it hardens up and pancakes itself to the road. Shifts are quicker and now have a bit of kick to them. In fact everything becomes sharper and quicker. What is great though on a poorly surfaced back road is being able to soften up the handling while still keeping the powertrain in "track". With the powertrain in "sport" or "track" the 12C-S feels like a true drivers car that they harder you push it, the better it will get. On the flip side, I can easily see how this would make a great daily driver which would not be even the least bit punishing to live with on the daily commute.

Overall, hugely impressive package and I found it hard to give the 12C Spider back.
 

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Sounds a fun test drive, great report. Next we need the same for the P1. :)
 

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Overall, hugely impressive package and I found it hard to give the 12C Spider back.
Great write up. I had a similar experience on my Spider test drive, took it out in the rush hour with a thunder storm and downpour in the mix.

The breadth of ability in this car is utterly unique, Veyron challenging performance within the road car envelope (0-180 kmh :)), pin sharp handling that puts a Pork GT3 to shame, S class manners in traffic or on crap roads and then you can take the roof off without any compromise whatsoever.

It is simply the best all rounder on sale today by a mile. OK, I'm biased, mines in build next month :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great write up. I had a similar experience on my Spider test drive, took it out in the rush hour with a thunder storm and downpour in the mix.

The breadth of ability in this car is utterly unique, Veyron challenging performance within the road car envelope (0-180 kmh :)), pin sharp handling that puts a Pork GT3 to shame, S class manners in traffic or on crap roads and then you can take the roof off without any compromise whatsoever.

It is simply the best all rounder on sale today by a mile. OK, I'm biased, mines in build next month :D
Could not agree more. Range of ability is hugely impressive. It does the civilized extremely well and the mental beautifully.
 

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The breadth of ability in this car is utterly unique, Veyron challenging performance within the road car envelope (0-180 kmh :)), pin sharp handling that puts a Pork GT3 to shame, S class manners in traffic or on crap roads and then you can take the roof off without any compromise whatsoever.
Awesome analogy Pete!:p
Do post pictures of your ride soonest.:)
 

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Boxer - Hypothetical question, as you're looking for a spider:

Assuming you were open to both an open-top and a coupe (and man math aside) which would you take? Does the 12C-C vs S make the decision more difficult than Ferrari or any other marque's coupe vs. spider variants?

In the Middle East spiders don't traditionally move and are given negligible consideration in the purchasing process. Strangely enough, we have seven months of open driving time with little weather interference. It seems like the latest gen of supercars are slowly shifting perceptions. Reviews on the 12C spider are making some, myself included, reconsider what was once an automatic preference.

Quite a nice problem to have.
 

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FYI, 458 Spider has a very flexy chassis. Top down, the windshield continually jiggles. Top up, lots of squeaking. Actually pretty bad, reminded me of a ford mustang airport rental I had years ago. The California doesn't have this problem.

The only upside is I sold mine for more than what I paid for it! Hats off to the Ferrari marketing machine.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Boxer - Hypothetical question, as you're looking for a spider:

Assuming you were open to both an open-top and a coupe (and man math aside) which would you take? Does the 12C-C vs S make the decision more difficult than Ferrari or any other marque's coupe vs. spider variants?

In the Middle East spiders don't traditionally move and are given negligible consideration in the purchasing process. Strangely enough, we have seven months of open driving time with little weather interference. It seems like the latest gen of supercars are slowly shifting perceptions. Reviews on the 12C spider are making some, myself included, reconsider what was once an automatic preference.

Quite a nice problem to have.
In this case I would take the Spider.I do like having the open air option and already have several that don't have that versatility.

Also a big fan of CF tubs.
 

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FYI, 458 Spider has a very flexy chassis. Top down, the windshield continually jiggles. Top up, lots of squeaking. Actually pretty bad, reminded me of a ford mustang airport rental I had years ago. The California doesn't have this problem.

The only upside is I sold mine for more than what I paid for it! Hats off to the Ferrari marketing machine.
I do remember when you got it and it's quite interesting to see how long she's lasted.

I've passed on the 458 as a competing choice. Personally believe that to say the 12C is at least half a generation ahead is an understatement. Especially with the stiffness of the carbon chassis, most reviews are saying that the differences between the coupe and spider variants are negligible. The 458's dynamics may express its 'emotions' in a more flaired manner, but to me the exaggeration is like a whammy bar on a guitar: would rather play a precise and powerful tune rather than get a verve from stressing the strings. It's a great car, no doubt, but perhaps not the mood I'm looking for. May need more seat time before being in a position to render a fair judgement.

Maybe it's time for more owners and prospects to get some open-top seat time just to feel the difference. (And realize where the marque is.) Interesting to see how Maranello is going to respond to the press shootouts given the obvious differences in driving character and stiffness.

In purely automotive terms, McLaren have shifted the traditional coupe vs. spider thought process into a different dynamic.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Weather today was perfect for test drive #2. This time the main test driver was Madam Boxer. Initially she was not particularly keen on going out but agreed to do it to humor me.

Two hours later .............1st comments on getting out of the 12 C Spider........best car I have ever driven..........love it............that was really fun..........could have driven all the way to Wales...........

and light years ahead of that Maserati Grancabrio you made me drive last year.

So now:cool:
 
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