News : McLaren and Aston drop their tops

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Keith Adams looks at the Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster and McLaren MP4-12C Spider, and wonders which is the best of British in the world of open supercars?

So, you’ve won the lottery, and have the best part of £200,000 to spend on a British open-topped roadster. And as of this autumn, you’re going to have two new cars to choose from – the Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster and the McLaren Mp4-12C. Question is, which do you go for – the fighter from Woking, or the cruiser from Gaydon?

The Aston Martin certainly has looks on its side, and arguably, since the arrival of the original Vanquish back in 2001, the company has seemingly stuck with the same style, merely tweaking it along the way. It could be argued that there’s a good reason for that – Vanquish, DB9 and Vantage are all outrageously pretty cars, and deserve their success.

But the Aston Martin V12 Vantage has performance to back up its looks. It’s powered by Aston’s 6.0-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine pushing out 510bhp and 470lb ft. Performance figures are claimed to be 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 190mph. Changes over the coupe version incorporate a redesigned rear bootlid, which includes a new ‘flip’ to improve high-speed stability, and lowered front air intakes.

It also arrives with chassis changes and a modified damper setup with unique valves and redesigned rear springs. The Aston Martin uses carbonfibre all around the body, and will offer an optional interior package with additional carbonfibre trim. The Roadster’s starting price is ₤150,000, but it will be interesting to see just how many customers will option it up to over £200,000.

The McLaren MP4-12C Spider may lack the instant badge kudos (or sexy name) of the Aston Martin, but like its coupe cousin, there’s no doubting the car’s outright pace. The Spider takes 3.1secs for the 0-62mph sprint, and 9.0secs to 124mph. Maximum speed of 196mph with the roof down increases to 204mph with the roof up, and the maximum power of 616bhp from its British-made 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 is of a different order than the Aston.

But the McLaren isn’t a full soft-top like the Aston; it has a retractable hard top, and the company says it takes around 17 seconds to put up or down. The MP4-12C Spider also treats occupants to a power wind deflector that can be raised or lowered behind the seats. Price is £195,500, and you can order a Spider now.

Question is which would you have? For performance and driving thrills, the McLaren is bound to ace it – but could you by-pass the good looks of the Aston? We could. But could you? Either way, the appearance of both cars in a crowded supercar market is great news for Great Britain, and proof that the Italians don’t have it all their own way…

 

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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14 Comments

  1. Why can’t I spend my lottery money on a Morris Minor convertible, and keep the change?

    Actually, I’d probably add a TVR Griffiths 500 if something more glamorous is to be compulsory. But neither the Aston nor the McLaren do all that much for me tbh.

  2. Aston for me please,but to feel alive id plump for a griffith,no ABS,traction or power steering what better way to get killed!wonderful wonderful car.

  3. If I win a lottery, there is an aston martin waiting….but a DB5…….on this i just didnt get the sense of the style of the bonnet, do they have a problem expellig the air from the bottom of the engine bay or is just copyng the XKRR???is this the look of a GT???Ok i have a traditional taste for that but make it 3 tenths of the seconf slower in acc (nobody will give a…., but a smoother look, less agresive and for god sake give to the car some more human tyres(with some shoulder)usualy elderly man drives it with younger girls so nobody want to have pains in the back or jumping silicone implants in such a car.
    For the McLranren, it is more a sport car but … lacks some image….it is 4 am here and i will dream of the db5 this morning

  4. I have got to say, the Aston looks like a twelve year old did the detailng. I think I’ll have an Alvis drop-top with my lottery winnings.

  5. After watching that documentary on Gordon Murray the other night – NONE of them.

    I’d much rather engage in a project of my own make a relatively cheaper and more entertaining car.

  6. @9 – having seen an Alvis TE21 at Goodwood last year, I’d agree – an absolute thing of beauty…..

  7. Aston, plain & simple. The McLaren sounds like a cross between a push chair and a dishwasher with that name. Someone around here has a Tango coloured Mclaren coupe, and it doesn’t float my boat styling wise. Cars like this are all about style & pose. The Aston wins by a country mile in my view. But, if it was a Euromillions jackpot, it would have to be the Roller.

  8. Aston, plain & simple. The McLaren sounds like a cross between a push chair and a dishwasher with that name. Someone around here has a Tango coloured Mclaren coupe, and it doesn’t float my boat styling wise. Cars like this are all about style & pose. The Aston wins by a country mile in my view. But, if it was a Euromillions jackpot, it would have to be the Roller.

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