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…