Not just fast, McLaren claims the 720S Spider’s Retractable Hard Top to be the fastest operating in its class, with the RHT lowered or raised in just 11 seconds — 6 seconds quicker than in the 650S Spider. It can be operated at speeds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph).
Buyers can also choose a carbon fibre framed, glazed RHT option with electrochromic glass which can switch between a transparent or tinted state at the touch of a button.
Overall, the new 720S Spider is just 49 kg — or less than 4% — heavier than the 720S Coupé. The increased weight is primarily associated with the RHT and tonneau system. With a dry weight of 1,332 kg (1,468 kg DIN weight), McLaren claims the 720S Spider to be the lightest car in its competitive set, at 88 kg less than the 1,420 kg dry weight of its closest rival.
Furthermore, the glazed flying buttresses aid rear visibility. Apparently, the design and the use of glass delivers a 12% improvement in over-the-shoulder visibility compared to the previous McLaren Super Series Spider.
The doors are now frameless to accommodate the RHT system. The dual-zone climate control system has been recalibrated for the 720S Spider and is able to detect if the RHT position changes from raised to lowered or vice versa. The temperature and airflow are automatically adjusted.
To accommodate the RHT, the Monocage II-S features a new carbon fibre upper structure engineered to sit as close as possible to the air charge coolers and the 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 25 mm — extending visibility by 7.5 m in length.
While the active rear spoiler is identical on both Coupé and Spider, the deployment mapping is bespoke to each bodystyle, the aero settings differing depending on whether the RHT is raised or lowered and the vehicle electronics being automatically aware of which condition it is in.
The 4.0L V8 biturbo puts out the same 720 PS and 770 Nm of torque, and so is the 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 2.9 seconds. With the roof lowered, the 720S Spider claims a top speed of 325 km/h.
Deliveries commence in March 2019; UK prices start from £237,000.