Published on December 10th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair0
New McLaren 720S Spider Revealed with Retractable Hard Top
McLaren Automotive today revealed the new 720S Spider. Available to order with immediate effect, the new 720S Spider delivers the exhilaration of open-air driving and levels of day-to-day usability unseen in the convertible supercar class.
The design foundations of the new McLaren Spider are the seamless and organic forms introduced in 2017 with the 720S Coupé. Combining to maximise downforce, minimise drag, enhance powertrain cooling and optimise aerodynamic performance, these shapes produce an overall appearance akin to a futuristic sculpture, formed by the air that flows over, under, around and through it. A new, electrically actuated Retractable Hard Top (RHT) is seamlessly integrated into the design, as are new buttresses.
Like all McLaren cars, the new 720S Spider has a carbon fibre structure at its core, in this case designated Monocage II-S. The strength, rigidity and light weight of the McLaren Monocage is the base for the dynamic excellence for which McLarens are renowned. The Monocage II-S is a development of the Coupé ’s Monocage II, without the central ‘spine’ running front to rear above the cabin. The rearmost section of the upper structure is also unique to the Spider, to accommodate the Retractable Hard Top; additionally, the header rail across the top of the windscreen has been revised, to integrate the central latching mechanism.
McLaren’s engineering ingenuity, underpinned by the inherent strength and rigidity of carbon fibre, means that despite the removal of the fixed roof there is no need for additional strengthening; even the unusually slim but incredibly strong windscreen A-pillars first seen on the 720S Coupé remain. To provide enhanced rollover protection for occupants, fixed carbon fibre structural supports are integrated into the rear of the Monocage II-S, additionally providing the main anchor points for the roof system and the seatbelts. In the first-generation Super Series, steel supports featured and the switch to carbon fibre has contributed to the Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) in the 720S Spider being 6.8kg lighter than in the 650S.
Overall, the new 720S Spider is just 49kg – or less than 4% – heavier than the 720S Coupé. The increased weight is primarily associated with the RHT and tonneau system. With a lightest dry weight of 1,332kg the 720S Spider is comfortably the lightest car in its competitive set, at 88kg less than the 1,420kg dry weight of its closest rival. The low weight is the foundation for the dynamic, performance and efficiency benefits that McLaren is so adept at exploiting for the greater enjoyment of its customers.
The canopy-like design of the 720S Coupé is recognised for the sense of 360-degree vision it provides, allowing light to flood into the cabin and setting a new benchmark for visibility. This philosophy of unrivalled vision is central to the second-generation Super Series and the new Spider moves the game on again, with unique, glazed flying buttresses further aiding driver visibility as well as adding visual drama to the car.
The leading edge of the buttress features an aerodynamic carrier to guide airflow, before dramatically tapering off to expose darkened glazing; the design and the use of glass delivers a 12% improvement in over-the-shoulder visibility compared to the previous McLaren Super Series Spider.
To accommodate the Retractable Hard Top, the Monocage II-S features a new carbon fibre upper structure engineered to sit as close as possible to the air charge coolers and intake plenum. This maximises luggage space; there is 58 litres of stowage available under the tonneau cover with the roof raised. The tonneau cover also sits lower than that of a 650S Spider – again by 25mm – extending visibility by 7.5m in length.
The 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 engine that powers the 720S Spider is unchanged from the Coupé. Mid-mounted for exceptional handling and purity of response, it produces 720PS and 770Nm and –given the lightest-in-class weight of the 720S Spider and resulting power-to-weight ratio of 540PS-per-tonne at lightest dry weight – it is no surprise that performance is extreme.
Acceleration is nothing short of phenomenal, with 0-100km/h covered in 2.9 seconds and 0-200km/h achieved in just 7.9 seconds – just 0.1 seconds off the pace of the Coupé. The standing quarter mile sprint is dispatched in 10.4 seconds – again, only 0.1 seconds slower than the Coupé – and where conditions allow, the 720S Spider will continue accelerating to a Coupé-matching top speed of 341km/h with the roof raised.
Even with the roof lowered, maximum speed remains extraordinary at 325km/h. The minor variations in performance arise from differing aerodynamics and the additional 49kg the Spider carries.
The 720S Spider has the same dramatic ‘eye sockets’ cut deep into the front fenders and double-skinned dihedral doors immediately obvious on the Coupé – just two of the body design elements that play an integral role in delivering the extraordinary aerodynamic efficiency and balance the 720S possesses. Beyond this, the front splitter and contoured bonnet, for example, dictate and control the airflow through, over, around and under the rest of the vehicle, while behind the front splitter, the underfloor aerodynamics have been revised to work in harmony with the new rear bodywork and full-width active rear spoiler of the 720S Spider.
The rollover protection technology brings an advantage in respect of size as well as weight, the compact system having allowed McLaren’s design and engineering team to create incredibly slim tonneau buttress. This improves over-the-shoulder visibility for the driver and contributes to a sensation of exceptional space overall, while also increasing aerodynamic downforce.
A new 10-spoke, Lightweight forged alloy wheel design has been developed for the new Spider. Tyres are Pirelli P ZERO™, designed in conjunction with McLaren Technology Partner, Pirelli, to provide the optimum balance of performance, grip, handling and comfort over a wide range of road conditions. A more track-focused Pirelli P ZERO™ CORSA tyre can be specified instead, at no additional cost, while Pirelli SOTTOZERO™ winter tyres and Pirelli TROFEO R ultra-high performance tyres are available from McLaren retailers.