The new McLaren 720S Spider is a 202mph convertible
What better time to debut a convertible than the depths of winter?
Woking’s new supercar is a £237,000, turbo V8 with a folding hard top
One good McLaren deserves another, and the British supercar company has chosen to celebrate the silly season with a new hardtop convertible version of its gorgeous 720S, capable of giving just about anyone an Einstein hairdo with its 202 mph top-down top speed.
Nestled in between McLaren’s relatively more affordable Sport series cars (the 540, 570 and 600 models) and its ludicrously extreme Ultimate series (Speedtail, Senna, P1), the Super series has been looking a tad thin of late, with only the magnificent 720S to fly the flag.
No longer; now there’s a fully realized convertible Spider model as well. The 720S Spider offers similar performance to the coupé, with the glamorous addition of a very quick 11-second retracting hardtop, complete with electrochromic tinting when it’s up.
The motor is unchanged, a hairy-chested 4-liter twin turbo V8 making 720 metric horsepower (that’s 710 imperial) and 770 Nm (568 lb-ft) of torque. Adding the convertible system puts an extra 49 kg (108 lb) onto the weight of the regular 720S, and this has a minor effect on its performance figures: it takes the same 2.9 seconds to hit 100 kmh (62 mph), and is just 0.1 seconds slower to 200 km/h (124 mph) at a blistering 7.9 seconds. McLaren points out that even with the extra weight on board, it’s still some 88kg (194 lbs) lighter than its closest competition in this lofty segment – the Ferrari 488 Spider.
Weight be damned, it’ll still hit the same top speed of 212 mph (341 km/h) as the 720S coupé if you leave the roof closed, or break the 200 mph barrier with the top down if you want to know what that feels like. I’ll admit, I’m curious.
To accommodate the convertible roof, a surprising amount has had to be changed. The carbon Monocage II frame of the 720S lost its upper “spine” piece, which usually runs right up the middle of the roof, and the rollover protection it brought, so the Spider gets a redesigned Monocage II-S frame with additional carbon structural supports at the rear.
In visual and aero terms, the 720S Spider gets a distinctive pair of glass flying buttresses coming back off the roof. They look terrific, both from outside the car and inside, where they give you some 12 percent greater visibility over the shoulder than previous McLaren Spiders have managed.
Since the aeros over the top of the car change with the convertible treatment, the aeros underneath have been updated to suit, and the active rear wing, which is physically identical to the one on the coupé, is programmed to act differently with the roof down or up.
The price? UK£237,000, or just a nudge over US$300,000 before any options are applied. That’s about US$50 grand more than you’d pay for the coupé, but we’d argue it’s easily a 50 grand cooler machine, and this end of the market isn’t given to quibbling. Orders are open now.
Enjoy a video below, in which a stylish couple drive around very fast in an underground garage, before sharing a smug look as they take the roof down.