McLaren’s 720S Spider has arrived as sure as convertible follows mid-life crisis. We’ve got the new machine (un)covered.
This was always going to happen but we’re pleased it’s here all the same. I am on record as not being a huge fan of convertibles, but the McLaren Monocage II set me straight in the 570S.
Here in the 720S you get a motorised hardtop that folds itself neatly away under the rear deck in double-quick time. Apart from that, everything is exactly the same.
Well, obviously it isn’t. That would be stupid.
From the windscreen back, things had to change.
The rear buttresses that frame the rear glass are themselves glass to help maintain some of the coupe’s incredible visibility. The rear deack is all new and the bodywork from the doors back reshaped to look just right with the roof folded away.
The active aero knows whether the roof is on or off and acts accordingly. Top speed is the 341km/h (212mph) with the roof on and 325km/h (202mph) with the roof off.
The sprint to 100km/h (62mph) is fractionally slower at 2.9 seconds. 0-200km/h (0-124mph) arrives in – ahem – 7.9 seconds while the standing quarter blazes by in 10.4 seconds.
Engine power is, obviously, identical at 537kW (720PS) and 770Nm from the 4.0-litre twin-turbo.
You can choose a solid roof or a carbon-framed glass lid with electrochromatic glass. That means you can press a button and the glass goes dark. I’m here to tell you, that’s useful – in warmer climates you will cook with a glass roof.
The hydraulic active suspension remains to deliver unbelievable ride and handling while the steering is fuel-hungry hydraulic but still brilliant.
Yes but how much does it weigh?
Just 49kg more. McLaren says the Monocage II-S means the engineers haven’t had to add any strength to the chassis, so that 49kg is mostly roof mechanism and a possibly the bodywork changes.
Stronger belts and a carbon fibre structure behind the passenger cell helps stop unplanned head-road interfacing. The 650S Spider used steel, so the 720S’ system is almost 7kg lighter.
All up dry Woking says it’s 1,332kg dry, claiming 88 fewer kilos than its nearest (unnamed) competitor.
The interior looks fundamentally identical, and that’s fair enough. No real need to change apart from adding something sensible like Apple CarPlay, which won’t fit in the current central screen layout.
How much does it cost?
So far we’ve only got UK pricing, which is a not-inconsiderable £237,000 with deliveries starting in March 2019.