Roof down, sat­is­fac­tion up

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents - TONY O’KANE

Drop top cedes lit­tle to the coupe. Was that a spoiler?

IT’S CU­RI­OUS that one of Mclaren’s most ‘af­ford­able’ mod­els is also one of its most tac­tile, en­gag­ing and ap­peal­ing of­fer­ings. Sim­ple minds might think of an en­try-level con­vert­ible as be­ing the poser’s choice, but in re­al­ity it’s closer to be­ing the con­nois­seur’s dar­ling.

Having good DNA helps. As with all Mclarens, the 570S Spi­der is built around a car­bon tub with the tor­sional rigid­ity of Uluru. Top-down scut­tle-shake is nonex­is­tent as a re­sult. The pow­er­ret ractable hard top adds 46kg of ex­tra mass over a 570S Coupe, but that’s mi­nus­cule, and the Spi­der’s 0-100km/h sprint of 3.2 sec­onds is iden­ti­cal to the coupe’s – and so is its roof-up top speed of 328km/h. So much for con­vert­ibles be­ing the com­pro­mised choice.

Fur­ther­more, the Spi­der has some­thing fixed-roof Mclarens tend to lack – a sem­blance of sonic sat­is­fac­tion. A re­tractable rear screen lets more en­gine noise into the cabin when the side glass is up and brings plenty of cross-flow when the win­dows are wound down. The sound? Still not the purest, but it’s def­i­nitely more pro­nounced in the Spi­der.

It’s a joy on the road. The hy­draulic steer­ing is light but com­mu­nica­tive and fol­lows the road’s cam­ber with the slight­est of nudges. The sus­pen­sion is ad­mirably pli­ant in both Nor­mal and Sport modes.

And though the twin-turbo 3.8 litre V8 may be at the lower end of Mclaren’s horse­power spectrum, per­for­mance is mega. Both tur­bos are at full puff at just 2500rpm and ac­cel­er­a­tion is re­lent­less to the 8000rpm red­line. Grab the next gear, and you’re dropped right back into the meaty bit of the torque band to do it all over again. The seven-cog dual-clutch is nicely punchy at full-bore but can be snatchy in stop-go traf­fic.

How­ever the best part about the 570S Spi­der is just how ef­fort­less it is to switch from boule­vard cruis­ing to back­road blast­ing. It’s docile and com­fort­able when the Han­dling and Pow­er­train tog­gles are ro­tated to ‘N’ (for Nor­mal), but trans­form­ing it into a sharper in­stru­ment is as sim­ple as twist­ing both knobs a click or two to the right to place it in Sport or Track. With those big switches lo­cated high on the cen­tre con­sole, right where your left hand nat­u­rally falls, it can all be done en­tirely by feel.

The Mclaren works with you, and few mid-en­gined su­per­cars feel as user-friendly. The Spi­der’s abil­ity to throw some sun­light on your scalp and send more deci­bels to your ears en­hances the base 570S experience. Per­haps the only real stum­bling block is whether go­ing top­less is worth the con­sid­er­able $40,750 pre­mium over the sim­i­larly ex­cel­lent Coupe.

Model En­gine Max power Max torque Trans­mis­sion Weight 0-100km/h Econ­omy Price On sale Mclaren 570S Spi­der 3799cc V8, 32v, dohc, twin-turbo 419kw @ 7500rpm 600Nm @ 5000-6500rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1498kg 3.2sec (claimed) 10.7L/100km $435,750 Now

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