Patrons of convertible supercars who are bored with the offerings from Germany and Italy can find a well-endowed proposition in the comforting bosom of the British. The McLaren 720S Spider is now available for most Malaysians to drool over, but only three of these exceptional convertible supercars are available to own. How about that for being ultra-exclusive, eh?
The fortunate three will have a convertible supercar made with carbon fibre at its core. Dubbed the Monocage II-S, which is a ‘spineless’ version of the 720S Coupe’s Monocage-II, this carbon fibre monocoque remains rigid without any need for additional reinforcement.
Yet, there are a few alterations made to support the Retractable Hard Top (RHT) in the rearmost section of the upper structure and the header rail across the top of the windscreen. The changes to accommodate the new roof does add weight but not much. The 720S Spider is only 4% or 49kg heavier than the Coupe counterpart.
Unique to the Spider is the glazed flying buttress that guides airflow and is said to be 12% better in over-the-shoulder visibility compared to the McLaren Super Series Spider. Even if it isn’t functional, we think that any car with flying buttresses automatically wins in design.
Also unique to the Spider is the new upper structure that sits close to the air charge coolers and the intake plenum. As a result, luggage space gets blown up to 58 litres of storage under the tonneau cover with the roof raised. The tonneau cover is placed lower by 25mm compared to the 650S Spider; anyone remembers that car?
As for the RHT, it takes 11 seconds to fold it way and another 11 seconds to put it up again. Made from a one-piece carbon fibre panel, the electrically-powered mechanism can operate up to speeds of 50kph. McLaren is so proud of the RHT that they’ve decided to register three worldwide patents for the roof system.
Because there’s no pleasing everyone, McLaren has an optional RHT that allows more light in even when the hardtop is up. The carbon fibre-framed, glazed RHT glass is electrochromic and can go from transparent to tinted with a push of a button. The glass returns to tinted when the ignition is switched off, yet goes back to the previous setting when the car is started again.
Depending on the position of the roof, the full-width active rear spoiler adjusts itself to maximise downforce. The rear spoiler acts as an airbrake, which can rise at lower speeds and to a higher position in the Spider. Although the Coupe and Spider share the same spoiler, it is the body style that dictates the mapping and operation.
Moving things along, the mid-mounted 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 produces a mind-blowing 720PS (710hp) and 770Nm of torque, returning a power-to-weight ratio of 540PS-per-tonne. Crunch the numbers and you get an acceleration that’s ultra-powerful. The Spider crushes the 0-100kph in 2.9 seconds and 0-200kph in 7.9 seconds. With the roof-raised, the Spider will be as fast as the Coupe at 341kph. Or, with the top down, you can hit max speed at 325kph. Fair warning, your hair and face might be ruined driving topless at top speed.
Of course, there’s the issue of aerodynamics. Apart from the active rear spoiler and the flying buttresses, the Spider has other bits that help it stick to the road. At the front, ‘eye sockets’ on the front fender and the double-skinned dihedral doors adds aerodynamic efficiency and balance to the Spider. The front splitter and contoured bonnet channels air over, around and under the supercar. Meanwhile, the revised underfloor aerodynamics works with the rear bodywork and active spoiler.
The McLaren 720S Spider is available in three trims - Standard, Luxury and Performance. The one you see here is the Luxury trim; we’re guessing. You can have your McLaren in one of 23 colours, including the new Belize Blue and Aztec Gold, and Supernova Silver from the McLaren 12C.
Before options and taxes, the Spider is priced at RM1.218million, which is the same as the Coupe. The price may be right for you but are you quick enough to be one of three who’ll own the McLaren 720S Spider?