Battle of the spiders: Ferrari vs McLaren
Which V8 drop-top supercar is best? 458 or 12C? Time for a road trip...
Posted: 24 Jun 2013
A blatantly unsatisfactory conclusion, because we're talking about war here. And in this case, there will be no prisoners taken or quarter given. The corporate entities of McLaren and Ferrari might try very hard to ignore each other, citing technological, aesthetic and conceptual differences until their collective breath runs short, but, out here in the real world, we're watching two companies slug it out for territory and sales. The coupe versions of the 458 and 12C have fought each other to a standstill, the new-age hypercar hybrids that are the P1 and LaFerrari are waiting in the heavyweight wings, and here we are, sat with a pair of coupe convertible Spiders, wondering how to be definitive.
First, it's probably worth laying out a few facts. These two cars are both circa £200k coupe convertibles with a V8 engine cradled in the middle. Both have seven-speed, dual-clutch, paddle-operated gearboxes that drive the rear wheels, clever differentials and sophisticated traction-control systems. Both will hit 62mph from a standing start in under 3.5secs and around 200mph when allowed their head, give or take a few increments between committed frenemies. Those new-wave 'boxes mean that both are as adept at in-town boulevardierdom as a family hatch (an important consideration in a Spider, where exposure is necessarily both to the elements and the public), and both are surprisingly practical, offering both luggage space and near-identical roof systems that fold in an elegant mechanical origami in around 15 seconds. They even weigh within 4kg of each other. See what I mean? This is starting to sound like a supercar battle in which the winner will be decided based on who has the best warranty package. Here's the kicker, though. Drive the two cars back to back on the same day, on the same bit of tortuously rumpled blacktop, and you soon realise that, while these two hairy Spiders might be ostensibly similar, they are effectively completely different.