McLaren is bounding from strength-to-strength at the moment. Having launched an all-new Super Series hero in Geneva, the team in Woking has ripped the top from its Sport Series flagship. Thanks to its clever carbon construction, the 570S Spider offers a similar driving experience to the 570S Coupe while introducing a whole lot of sunlight to the mix.
Turning any car into a convertible is challenging, but making a supercar work with the top down is especially difficult. Losing the roof robs a car of structural rigidity, forcing the engineering team to add bracing. More bracing means more weight, and more weight undermines handling and performance – neither of which is negotiable at McLaren.
The carbon fiber MonoCell II in the 570S makes it much easier to convert Coupe to Spider. Because it's so strong, McLaren doesn't need to add any structural bracing to deal with the roof being chopped off. That means the only extra weight in the 570S Spider comes from the retractable hardtop mechanism. While the Lamborghini Huracan Spider weighs 122 kg (269 lb) more that the coupe, the new McLaren convertible is just 46 kg (101 lb) heftier than its fixed roof relative.
The roof can be opened at speeds up to 40 km/h (25 mph), and the whole process takes just 15 seconds. McLaren has developed a glazed wind deflector that can be raised to cut buffeting, or lowered to allow more engine noise and wind into the cabin, and an optional exhaust system channels even more V8 rumble into the cabin through a channel under the engine cover.
Power in the 570S Spider still comes from a twin-turbocharged M838T V8 engine, which still makes a whopping 562 hp (419 kW) of power and 600 Nm of torque. The engine is hooked up to a seven speed dual-clutch gearbox, which the driver can manipulate with the paddles behind the steering wheel. It'll sprint from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in the same 3.1 seconds, and keeps pulling to the same 204 mph (328 km/h) with roof up – or 196 mph (315 km/h) with the roof dropped.
The similarities with the 570S Coupe don't end under the hood. The 570S Spider sits on the same double-wishbone suspension as the hardtop, with adaptive twin-valve dampers and anti-roll bars designed to blend performance on the track with on-road compliance. Owners can toggle through Normal, Sport and Track mode to tailor the suspension tune for different types of driving.
Entry to the 570S Spider club doesn't come cheap. Pricing will start at US$208,800 for the base model and production will begin with a run of 400 Launch Edition cars. Beside the obvious differences, the Spider is distinguished from the Coupe with unique alloy wheels and a new paint finish for the brake calipers.