Pros: Among the most revered names in the exotic car world; impressive styling, incredible power and handling; new convertible lets you enjoy the sun, too

Cons: Tremendously expensive, even compared to rivals; no manual transmission for purists; only two seats makes for an impractical ride

What's new: The 2013 McLaren MP4-12C adds a convertible for the new model year. Dubbed the 12C Spider, the new model features a retractable roof and comes at a substantial price premium over the coupe.

Overview:

Known for its famous mid-1990s F1 supercar, McLaren debuted the MP4-12C for the 2012 model year. Rivals include the Audi R8, the Ferrari 458 Spider, the Lamborghini Gallardo and the Porsche 911 Turbo. Among those cars, the McLaren is the most expensive, but it's also the most powerful.

Under the MP4-12C's mid-mounted hood is a 3.8-liter V8. That's a smaller engine than the one found in nearly all rivals. However, thanks to a twin turbocharger setup, the MP4-12C boasts a wild 616 horsepower. It also offers a muscular 443 lb-ft of torque. The MP4-12C's only transmission is a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, chosen because of its capability for very quick gear changes.

The 2013 McLaren MP4-12C starts just over $240,000. While McLaren has yet to announce final pricing for the new 12C Spyder, we expect it to start around $270,000 before options. That's a lot of money, but the 12C Spyder does offer the coupe's dashing looks, plus a retractable hardtop that raises and lowers in just 17 seconds with the push of a button.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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