Currently reading: McLaren 720S Spider revealed
Woking's new 710bhp open-top supercar will crack 200mph even with the roof down

McLaren has revealed its new 720S Spider, which it claims is the lightest of any open-top supercar on sale.

The 720S Spider, revealed tonight at McLaren’s annual Winter Ball, weighs just 49kg more than the McLaren 720S coupé on which it is based and, at a dry weight of 1332kg, is 88kg lighter than the 1420kg Ferrari 488 Spider, the class’s current champion lightweight.

The new open-top McLaren uses the same 710bhp, 568lb ft 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine as the coupé, a car with which it also shares a 0-62mph time of 2.9sec, despite its extra weight. The 0-124mph time is 7.9sec, 0.1sec adrift of the coupé. The 488 Spider, meanwhile, can crack 0-62mph in 3.0sec and 0-124mph in 8.7sec.

Mclaren 720s spider dec 2018 studio image 06

The 720S Spider uses a retractable hard-top roof, which is a completely new design over the previous 650S Spider. It is a single piece of carbonfibre, aimed at preserving as much of the coupé’s style as possible. The electrically driven mechanism raises and lowers the roof in just 11sec, a 6sec improvement over the 650S Spider. It can be operated at speeds of up to 31mph.

Even with the roof down, the 720S Spider still tops 200mph – its top speed is 202mph with the roof down. With the roof up, it can do 212mph. If you don’t want to drive that fast with the roof down, McLaren will let you specify the car with a glazed roof panel, which can be switched between being transparent and opaque at the touch of a button.

One feature that carries over from the 650S Spider is the small glass rear window, which can be lowered even with the roof up. This floods the cabin with noise from the V8 engine behind it. 

Other new design touches on the 720S include the glazed flying buttresses, which also improves the car’s aerodynamics, along with a series of aerodynamic tweaks and optimisations at the rear of the car and underneath. The active rear spoiler also gets its own mapping that’s bespoke to the Spider. 

Those glazed buttresses also allow for better rear visibility, and increase the amount of light coming into the car. 

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Mclaren 720s spider dec 2018 studio image 04

McLaren’s carbonfibre Monocage II-S structure includes roll-over protection, so no extra chassis strengthening is needed to turn the 720S from a coupé to a Spider. Of course, it does without the coupé’s central carbonfibre spine in the roof that allows for the dramatic dihedral doors, something the Spider forgoes. 

The cabin of the 720S coupé carries over to the 720S Spider largely unchanged, as do the three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and Track – selectable for the hydraulic suspension system. 

Another new touch for the 720S Spider is the design of 10-spoke alloy wheels, while two new colour choices are added to the palette of 23, along with the return of a shade of silver last offered on the 12C.

Prices for the new McLaren 720S Spider start from £237,000. That’s a rise of almost £20,000 over the 720S coupé.

Read Autocar's full review of the McLaren 720S coupé


Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Dilly 10 December 2018

McLaren keeping Ferrari honest

Love this design. The 720 has changed the game again!

The Dr 9 December 2018

Drop dead gorgeous

Wow this looks amazing, one the the best styled cars on sale, would I have this over the Ferrari, helll yeah.

abkq 9 December 2018

A very seductive shape and a

A very seductive shape and a vast improvement from the usual bland offerings from McLaren (the original F1 apart)

Rare in a contemporary car is that, in profile, all the articulation lines now work together as an ensemble.

Wish there were more pictures of the interior, which needs an injection of flair and imagination.