It seems the days of trading torsional rigidity for unlimited headroom are long gone. Now more than ever owning a convertible supercar has virtually no drawbacks. The only penalty seems to be a slight weight deficit (something easily overcome in this case by a twin-turbo V8), untidy hair and a slight bump in price. But many would argue, myself included, this is a small price to pay for open top motoring. There is no finer example of how excellent this ‘de-roofing’ can be than the 720s’s younger brother; the 12C Spider.
McLaren has come a long way since their first stab at a supercar back in 2011. Their then only supercar, the 12C, was a widely respected car and in every measurable way, better than all other cars in its class; the Ferrari 458 Spider included. However, time and time again you would hear the words ‘passion’, ‘soul’ and more importantly ‘lack of’, haunting the lowly McLaren. That was until the Woking-based manufacturer lobbed the roof off. The 12C then became a car you genuinely wanted, not just admired.
The 720S had a similarly hard time upon launch mainly due it to be being, pardon my french, fuck ugly. Now while the harsh aesthetics seemed to have gotten less offensive over time (especially compared to the Senna), it’s never going to be committed to the history books as pretty. However, yet again the magic of cutting the roof off has worked on me; I think it looks brilliant.
As with the Coupe, the 720s Spider uses McLaren’s carbon fibre Monocage II at its core. Despite my previous statement, the Spider is slightly less stiff as it’s lacking a section of the Monocage that would normally span the roof. That being said, I’d bet my house the average Joe would never notice. The Spider weighs 49kg more, but still only 1,332kg dry A.K.A naff all. For reference, the 488 Spider weighs nearly 100kg more.
Aside from some reworked underbody aero and a few colour options, the Spider is otherwise unchanged. It’s powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 producing a mighty 710bhp and 568lb ft of torque. 0-62mph is accomplished in the same 2.9 seconds, but it lags behind the Coupe in the 0-124mph drag recording a time of 7.9 seconds. Flat out the 720s will crack 212mph roof up, 202mph with it down.
Only other noteworthy attribute of the Spider is a brilliant glass roof panel that, at the touch of a button, tints to virtually completely black. A bit of a novelty; but it’s excellent all the same.
If you manage to nab a build slot, prices start at £237,000.