Any new model from McLaren is newsworthy, yet there is every reason to believe this one – the 720S Spider – is one that might just change the game. Described by McLaren as ‘the most accomplished convertible supercar ever from McLaren’ – and we have no reason not to take their word for it – the 720S Spider sets the standards for others to follow.
Part of the Super Series family of cars, which combine the expected superb high performance of McLaren cars with luxurious trimming and style, the 720S Spider is typical of the brand in being usable as a daily driver yet extremely competent on track and road. McLaren CEO, Mike Flewitt, spoke with pride about the new model:
“The new McLaren 720S Spider offers an unparalleled blend of extreme performance, crafted luxury, driver involvement and daily usability – all with the additional exhilaration of open-air driving whenever required. As the most accomplished convertible supercar ever, the new Spider delivers across a remarkable spectrum of abilities to outstandingly high levels, and as lightest in class with an increase of just 49kg over the 720S Coupé, moves us even further ahead of our competition in the weight race.”
Based on the established 720S Coupe, the new car takes things to another level with its beautifully crafted, patented carbon-fibre roof system, which can be retracted or raised in an astonishing 11 seconds at speeds up to 31mph. The roof can also be ordered with a glass panel if required, which can switch between tinted and clear in an instant. It is detail touches such as this that give McLaren the edge in terms of customer satisfaction and design excellence.
Carbon Fibre Core
The light weight mentioned is largely achieved by typical McLaren engineering, with a carbon fibre core monocoque as the core of the vehicle. This is the ‘Monocage II’ carbon fibre core which is a McLaren speciality, and which is so strong inherently that the Spider needs no additional strengthening over the coupe version. With a built in rollover protection structure for added safety, the McLaren 720S Spider weighs in at a dry weight of just 1332kg, making it the lightest car in its class by some 88kg.
As usual, McLaren has focused on driver satisfaction with this new car, and this is exemplified by the superb all-round vision. Convertible cars often suffer from visibility problems at the rear; the 720S Spider overcomes this problem with very neat glazed flying buttresses. These also serve a further purpose, being designed for aerodynamic efficiency, and to add downforce.
The overall design of the 720S Spider draws on the Coupe and utilises much of that car’s excellent aerodynamic profile, providing excellent drag and downforce figures, plus the acknowledged beauty. Yet, even in convertible form, the body shape flows organically with stunning results, making this a car to be seen in as well as one that the driver will undoubtedly feel part of when on the road.
As with all McLarens, the 720S provides the driver with superb levels of handling. With three handling modes from the proven Proactive Chassis Control II hydraulic suspension system – Comfort, Sport and Track – the driver can choose to suit their preference or location, and no difference will be noted between the performance in this area of the Spider in relation to the coupe.
Dynamically, the 720S Coupe already has a reputation for class-leading precision and handling, and the Spider – complete with its automatically activated rear spoiler that can also act as an air brake – is no different, with clear feedback to the driver and an overall driving experience that is simply eye-opening. This is a car designed to drive, and one that gives back as much as the driver puts in.
The 4.0-litre V8 engine is the same twin-turbocharged power plant found in the 720S Coupe, and in exactly the same tune. Many marques tune down the engine in a convertible – not McLaren. This is the mighty, beautifully made 720PS (that’s around 710bhp to you and me) engine that gives the coupe such prodigious performance, and it does the very same for the 720S Spider.
Acceleration is quite sensational, with 0-100km/h (62mph) attainable in an incredible 2.9 seconds and 200km/h (124mph) from a standstill coming up in just 7.9 seconds – that’s a mere 0.1 seconds behind the coupe. If you want more figures – and don’t we all – a standing quarter of a mile can be covered in 10.4 seconds, which again is just a tenth down on the coupe. These are class-leading figures for a convertible of this order.
If you can find the place to reach it, the McLaren 720S Spider will top a maximum of 341km/h with the roof in place, which is the same top speed as the Coupe. With the roof lowered, the car will still take you to over the magical 200mph mark, to a maximum of 325km/h, or 202mph. Make no mistake, this is definitely a McLaren, through and through.
The McLaren 720S Spider continues the familiar, and very attractive, McLaren family look, with the deeply sculpted front end, flowing side panels, and instantly familiar – to anyone following – back end design. This is a carefully created take on the Coupe, rather than simply one with its roof cut off and replaced, that incorporates its own design touches. The roof itself we have to mention again, as it really is an engineering marvel, and even incorporates a rear window that automatically lowers when the roof is retracted, and can even be lowered when the roof is in place, just in case the occupants want to listen to the glorious engine doing its work.
With a wide selection of colours, and trim levels – as per the Coupe – available in Standard, Performance and Luxury, the McLaren 720S Spider is quite possibly the most impressive and covetable mid-engine convertible available right now. If you want one, they are available to order now, with a base price of £237,000. We reckon that these will sell very quickly indeed.