The carbon-fibre tub chassis that comes standard on the coupe version is strong enough that not one ounce of bracing was required as the car transitioned to a convertible. It would seem that the engineers’ job was an easy one on, then, as pretty much everything but the roof is a carry-over. We have the same twin-turbo 562 bhp 3.8 litre V8, the same brakes, and the same 7-spped gearbox as well. And because the Spider weighs just 46 kgs more than its hardtop sibling, the performance specs are basically identical: 100 km/h arrives in 3.2 seconds, with the top speed remaining at an impressive 204 mph (a figure that is only achievable with the roof up, mind you).
Enough about what’s the same, let’s talk about what is actually new on the Spider. The retractable hardtop takes just 15 seconds to do its thing: folding and retreating until it disappears beneath its sleek tonneau cover. If this all sounds familiar, it is. This is the exact same mechanism used on McLaren’s exclusive super series cars. Once up, the aluminium hardtop imparts all the quietness and solidity you would expect from the regular hardtop version of the car.
At £164,000, opting for the Spider is a £20,000 commitment over the coupe, even though so very little has changed. But that price starts to make a lot of sense when you look at the value of this car: the performance and stability of the hardtop, now with the option for top-down motoring at a moment’s notice. It’s a wonder they don’t charge more.