McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider 2019 road test review - hero front
McLaren 720S Spider 2019 road test review - hero front

Almost two years after its launch, the McLaren 720S remains the best supercar in the world – some achievement from a company that still hasn't even been making cars for a decade.

Even in McLaren's earlier days, when it wasn’t quite on top of the world, it made a darn good convertible supercar with its 650S Spider, and the 12C Spider before it.

The strength of McLaren’s carbonfibre tub meant a conversion from coupé to convertible could be made without sacrificing stiffness and adding little weight, thus avoiding the main pitfalls that have nearly always historically made a convertible supercar a slower, heavier and worse-looking version of the coupé from which it's derived.


Now the 720S Spider has arrived to carry on that rich open-top bloodline. Its official brief is to be the ‘most complete convertible supercar’, and if it’s as good as its credentials suggest, it should be the more desirable version of the world’s best supercar, and the one you’d probably buy. The de facto world’s best supercar, even.

How does the Spider differ from the standard 720S?

Those credentials, then. McLaren’s carbonfibre Monocage II structure has been adapted to now be called Monocage II-S. That essentially means the coupé’s dramatic dihedral doors have been lost due to the fact a retractable one-piece hard-top roof needs to be added, but, in doing so, all of the structural strength has been retained. No fixed roof means the addition of a new rollover protection system, bonded to the chassis, made from carbonfibre and 6.8kg lighter than the 650S Spider’s steel construction.

While we’re talking weight, the 720S Spider weighs just 1332kg dry, which is lighter than the current class featherweight, the 1420kg Ferrari 488 Spider, and just 49kg heavier than the coupé. Dry, the old 650S Spider weighed 1370kg, which goes to show that McLaren has long known how to make a stiff and light convertible supercar.

Key components, such as the 710bhp twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine and the advanced hydraulic Proactive Chassis Control suspension set-up, make it over from the coupé, with the two cars sharing a 0-62mph time of 2.9sec and a top speed in excess of 200mph. In fact, the Spider can hit 202mph even with its roof down.

How does the 720S Spider perform on the road?