McLaren is expanding its Super Series product family with the introduction of a second new model as part of its £1.2bn ‘Track25’ business plan.
An open-top version of the 720S Coupé that was introduced last year, the new 720S Spider is being touted as the British brand’s “most accomplished convertible supercar ever”.
Sitting on custom 10-spoke alloy wheels measuring 20-inches at the rear and 19-inches at the front, the model features an electrically actuated retractable hard top that is an all-new design, incorporating a one-piece, carbon-fibre roof panel whose lines aim to maintain the silhouette of the drop-top’s Coupé sibling.
It is claimed the roof can be lowered or raised in just 11 seconds – which is six seconds quicker than the 650S Spider. And it can also be operated at speeds of up to 31 mph – an increase from the 18.5 mph of the 650S.
The new roof system – for which McLaren’s design team has registered three worldwide patents – is further said to be twice as quiet in operation as the first-generation Super Series convertible.
As a way to improve the car’s aerodynamics, the roof also integrates into a set of glazed flying buttresses at the rear. At their highest point, these are 25 mm lower than those of a 650S Spider, which therefore allows air to flow over the cabin, reducing turbulence as a result. The design and the use of glass, meanwhile, is claimed to deliver a 12% improvement in over-the-shoulder visibility compared to the previous Super Series Spider.
Underneath, like all McLaren cars, the new 720S Spider has a carbon-fibre structure at its core, in this case designated “Monocage II-S”. The latter is a development of the Coupé’s Monocage II, without the central ‘spine’ running front to rear above the cabin. The rearmost section of the upper structure is also unique to the Spider, to accommodate the retractable roof; additionally, the header rail across the top of the windscreen has been revised, to integrate the central latching mechanism.
However, despite the removal of the fixed roof, the designers say there has been no need for additional strengthening; even the windscreen A-pillars first seen on the 720S Coupé remain. And to provide rollover protection, fixed carbon-fibre structural supports are integrated into the rear of the Monocage II-S, additionally providing the main anchor points for the roof system and the seatbelts. In the first-generation Super Series, steel supports featured and the switch to carbon-fibre is said to have contributed to the rollover protection structure in the 720S Spider being 6.8 kg lighter than in the 650S.
Overall, the new 720S Spider is 49 kg – or less than 4% – heavier than the 720S Coupé. The increased weight is primarily associated with the roof and tonneau system. With a lightest dry weight of 1,332 kg the 720S Spider is claimed to be the lightest car in its competitive set, at 88 kg less than the 1,420 kg dry weight of its closest rival, namely, the Ferrari 488 Spider.
To accommodate the retractable hard top, the Monocage II-S also features a new carbon-fibre upper structure engineered to sit as close as possible to the air charge coolers and intake plenum. This is said to improve luggage space; there is 58 litres of stowage available under the tonneau cover with the roof raised. The tonneau cover also sits lower than that of a 650S Spider – again by 25 mm – extending visibility by 7.5 metres in length.
The 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 engine that powers the 720S Spider is unchanged from the Coupé. Mid-mounted, it produces 710 bhp and 568 lb-ft of torque. 0-62 mph is covered in 2.9 seconds and 0-124 mph in 7.9 seconds – just 0.1 seconds off the pace of the Coupé. The standing quarter mile sprint is dispatched in 10.4 seconds – again, only 0.1 seconds slower than the Coupé – and the 720S Spider will continue accelerating to a Coupé-matching top speed of 212 mph with the roof raised. With the roof lowered, on the other hand, maximum speed is listed at 202 mph.
Deliveries of the new convertible are expected to commence in March 2019.