Home / Auto / McLaren 720S Spider REVIEW – Engineering brilliance in a supercar you could use every day

McLaren 720S Spider REVIEW – Engineering brilliance in a supercar you could use every day


McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: LUKE JOHN SMITH)

Pros – Stunning design, ludicrous speed, incredibly easy to drive

Cons – Wind interference with the roof down, not much storage space, the infotainment system is just okay

The McLaren 720S Spider is a convertible version of the Coupe version and with the roof up, you may mistake it for it at a glance.  Its design is much more satisfying than the 600LT Spider. It is a little bit unusual with the huge air inlets and intakes and unique headlight design. 

Unlike how most carmakers design cars the way a McLaren is designed seems to be informed with how that choice can help the performance.

It’s like they put a block of materials in a wind tunnel and allowed elements to be eroded away and modified to make it as aerodynamically efficient as possible. It draws you in because it is so unusual. 

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

This is most apparent on the doors which have these huge gaps in them which are used to channel air towards the brakes to cool them down and also prove additional downforce. Every slit intake and cut into the bodywork serves a purpose of some sort and directs air to the rear to create downforce.

At the heart of the car is the light, stiff and extremely strong Monocage II-S carbon fibre core. Even with the new Retractable Hard Top (RHT) it supports a lightest dry weight of 2,937lbs – lightest in class at just 108lbs more than the 720S Coupé and 194lbs less than the dry weight of its closest competitor. 

One way the Spider and the Coupe differs is in how you open the door as they had to modify the hinge to accommodate the new roof.

They still open in the same way but are hinged at the front instead of at the top as well. The roof is a masterpiece too and can be opened in just 11 seconds as speeds up to 31mph. 

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: LUKE JOHN SMITH)

Nothing quite gives you the confidence to go so fast or be as ballsy as a McLaren. 100mph feels like 40mph because it is wonderfully smooth and comfortable. When you steer the car just glides around a corner, there is no real drama or sense that you’re ever in any danger even when you put the hammer down.

When you do kick the throttle it lets you know that it is a supercar. It roars into life and dumps power at you in an abundance. You’ve hit 60mph before you even realise you’ve pressed the accelerator.

In town it constantly sounds like the car is itching to leave everything else in a cloud of dust and there is simmering rubble from the engine. There’s an urgency to please the driver and reward them with the throttling roar of the engine. It comes into its own on windy country roads and allows you to push it to the edge without ever feeling like you’re going to make a mistake.

Powering the car is a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine producing 710 bhp and 568lb ft of torque. Acceleration from 0-60mph is same as 720S Coupé at 2.8 seconds; 0-124mph in 7.9 seconds; maximum speed with roof raised of 212mph – roof lowered 202mph.

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

There is very little difference between the top speeds in the Coupe and the Spider, which makes the Spider all the more compelling as you also gets the joys of the convertible roof. 

The car’s suspension is also great and adapts to bumps on the road making it smoother on the roads making it useable everyday. Its steering is exquisite and just glides around roads with much ease. It is a true driver’s car but is compelling and straightforward for anyone to enjoy without feeling overwhelmed. 

When you switch to Sport mode there is sometimes a satisfying pop from the exhaust when you change gear which is immensely satisfying and addicting.The suspension also gets firmer and shifts get shorter giving you more response on the road. 

McLaren have designed a machine which is exceedingly competent, powerful stylish and sublime to drive. There is perhaps a faint air of sterility to some of the feeling of emotion when driving because it’s almost too perfect. Everything is so precise and so calculated that it almost doesn’t even need you to be there. However, as soon as you get on an open road with twists and turns any notion that it isn’t a fun vehicle to drive quickly wilts.

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

Hands down this is a better and easier car to drive than the 600Lt Spider just by how easy it is. The 600LT is straightforward to drive but this takes it to a new level. It’s effortless, refined and puts down power more incredibly effectively.

One downside is how noisy and unrefined it feels at higher speeds with the roof down and while the car feels planted and stable the wind and noise interference is pretty undesirable.

While the 600LT seemed to keep most of the wind out even at higher speeds there is more bleed into the cabin here when you go above 60mph. However, the design is better in some ways because you have a pretty useable rear mirror and a nice driving position overall. 

The driving position is great due to the low bonnet and decent rear-view space. The seats are firm but comfortable and can be adjusted in a myriad of ways to ensure you get the right position. You can also programme your setting into a memory bank meaning that they can be selected with the flick of a button next time you get into the car. 

The interior, on the whole, feels nice and refined but there are a few minor annoyances you will encounter in the cabin.

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

If you’re in the passenger seat and over six foot you will find it hard to find a comfortable leg position for longer journeys due to how low down the seats are. The infotainment system is okay but not great and we struggled to connect a phone to bluetooth to play music.

Its navigation system is okay but a far cry from some of the better systems and even the Android and Apple services you can use through your phone. There are, however, charging ports for your phone and some nice chunky tactile buttons. 

One cool feature of the interior is when you put the car into track mode the driver display folds down to create a more simplistic display just giving you the crucial driving information such as revs and what gear you’re in.

Another interesting bit of design is the electrochromic roof which by a touch of a button can increase or decrease the shade the glass provides which blocks out different levels of UV rays.

Much like the 600LT the car also has the rear cutout meaning you can still hear the exhaust note with the roof up which is great fun because the racket that the car produces when you put your foot down is exquisite. 

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

VERDICT 

This machine far surpasses the 600LT in terms of drivability. It is the more competent and confident machine. This vehicle is so punchy and fast that it will get to 100mph quicker than it takes to read this sentence. The speed sneaks up on you but never makes you feel out of control or nervous. 

McLaren has designed a convertible supercar which doesn’t comprise any element of what it means to be a supercar. It matches up to the Coupe in most respects and exceeds it in others as you can put the roof down in an instant and drive off on a nice day with a wonderful soundtrack. It is also head-turner due to its design but not outlandish, gaudy or associated with premier league footballers like some of its rivals may be. 

If you’re looking for the most complete supercar experience then you really shouldn’t look anywhere else. 

10/10

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren 720S Spider (Image: MCLAREN)

Specs at a glance

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine

Transmission: 7 Speed SSG

Power: 710 bhp and 568lb ft of torque

Top speed: 211 mph (202mph with the roof down)

0-60mph: 2.9 seconds

Combined fuel economy: 23.2 MPG

CO2 emissions: 276g/km

Price: from £237,000



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