The chief difference then is a 46kg increase in kerb weight: the drawback of having the coupé’s composite roof panels pack themselves neatly away after 15 seconds of button-pushing. That the penalty is modest compared to most rivals is a familiar virtue of the Monocell: like the 12C Spider before it, no additional buttressing is required as the 570S is not dependant on its roof for torsional rigidity. Consequently the Spider is no less stiff than the coupé.
It’s practically no slower either. McLaren reports a deficiency of 0.1sec from 0-124mph, and unless you have the roof down, the drop-top will ultimately clock the same 204mph top speed. With the wind shot-blasting your hair, Woking quotes 196mph. Our left-hand-drive test car came equipped with the optional sports exhaust, ten-spoke forged wheels and a substantial smattering of carbonfibre body parts, among other things, for a final sticker price just shy of £210,000.
What's it like?
As is the way with open-top McLarens, prizes ought to be given for spotting the difference versus the coupé when the roof is up. The panel gaps and tonneau cover give it away, but otherwise the styling alterations are pleasingly limited (no-one is likely to spot, for example, that the Spider’s rear spoiler is 12mm higher to account for its aerodynamic alterations). This means that 570S’s swaggering prettiness carries over intact.
As, it must be said, does the slight palaver of getting into one. The sills are slimmer on Monocell II cars, but 16.5 stone of yours truly still tends to fall in the driver’s seat like a sandbag shoved over a sea-wall. The hardship won’t stop there if you’ve opted for McLaren’s notoriously unforgiving Carbon Fibre Racing Seats, which come equipped with the kind of lumbar support that seeks to transform your slouch into an upright posture worthy of a Swiss finishing school.
Generally though, the 570S’s interior is fabulous. Obviously you’ll need six months of work experience on a Woking-based software development team to work the IRIS infotainment system with anything approaching intuitiveness, but the surrounding hand-built fit and finish is now almost uniformly immaculate and – under an additional layer of cost-option opulence – it looks it, too. The new two-part roof functions blamelessly, and will do so up to the safety-first speed of 25mph.
Roof up, McLaren has provided the option of raising or lowering the small rear glass screen which acts as a wind deflector once topless – a familiar supercar way of making the noise and airflow part of your day regardless of the weather – and there’s even some additional space for some luggage under the tonneau cover (think handbag or rucksack or anything else you fancy swearing about when the car reminds you it needs removing before the roof can come off).
Roof down, the world’s invariably peers in and with its attention comes a fairly stiff breeze. It’s not chronic by any means – but nor is it serene: expect a ruffling of the rug even at run-of-the-mill speeds, with the windows up. A modest level of bluster is acceptable, of course; somewhat less forgivable is the raucous quality of the soundtrack drowning it out.
Criticism of McLaren’s turbocharged V8 in this regard is nothing new nor is it any different from the must-try-harder censure we leveled at the coupé last year. But the Spider inevitably moves the sound closer to your ears, and while its guttural brand of industriousness has an enormous and savage presence, it doesn’t induce you to drive permanently under the influence like a Ferrari 488 or Audi R8 would.