MCL A REN 570S SPIDER
The latest Sports Series model to emerge from Woking is the 562bhp 570S Spider, and it could be all the Mclaren you’ll ever need
Mclaren’s use of a carbonfibre tub for its supercars has always given the marque’s drop-top offerings a dynamic edge over more conventionally engineered rivals. Now it’s taken the top off the sublime 570S coupe, potentially unleashing the best Sports Series car to date
THE F1 TEAM MIGHT BE TOUGHING- OUT A TERRIBLE season, but Mclaren Automotive is enjoying a purple patch of productivity and profitability. That looks set to continue with the arrival of this, the eagerly awaited 570S Spider.
Sitting alongside the coupe 570S and the softer, more spacious 570GT, it completes a formidable trio of models that sit at the heart of Mclaren’s Sports Series range. Given the company’s foldinghard-topped convertibles look so similar to their coupe siblings with the roof up, it’s likely the Spider will be the biggest seller in the 570 range.
The roof itself is a really neat installation and takes 15 seconds to raise or lower. The rear window can also be lowered when the roof is up to let in some extra engine noise in all weathers. Another nice touch is that when the roof is raised you can use the space where it otherwise stows as an additional luggage compartment.
There’s a small aero change from the coupe, too, in the shape of a 12mm taller rear spoiler that generates increased downforce to counteract the effects of the Spider’s rear deck, which differs from the coupe’s and looks better, at least to our eyes.
Thanks to the strength and rigidity of the basic Mclaren Monocell II carbon chassis, the 570S Spider requires no additional bracing or reinforcement. This ensures it has no hint of the shakes and wobbles that used to be a part of the open-top sports and supercar driving experience. The Spider is also relatively light – the combined weight saving of the carbon chassis and aluminium body panels results in a kerb weight of 1498kg. That’s 58kg more than the coupe, but the only weight gain is from the roof mechanism.
The guts of the Spider are identical to the regular 570S, with the engine and seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox unchanged. Consequently it’s no surprise to find the performance feels much the same. That’s to say darned rapid: 0-62mph takes just 3.2sec and the top speed with the roof up is 204mph. Both figures are identical to the coupe’s. Roof down it’ll do a toupee-shredding 196mph.
The ubiquitous 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 is hugely potent, but it isn’t the most charismatic engine. The optional sports exhaust fitted to this Spider gives it a properly ballsy note when working hard, and channels some of the sound towards the cockpit via the area beneath the tonneau cover. It sounds a bit sweeter and multilayered as a result, but overall the engine note remains industrial rather than musical.
We know the 570S is the most engaging and connected of Mclaren’s series-production models, so it’s impressive that the
Spider both builds on that enjoyment and engagement with no reduction in outright dynamic ability. It’s worth remembering that the 570S does without the interlinked hydraulic Pro Active Chassis Control system of the Super Series and Ultimate Series Mclarens, opting instead for more conventional anti-roll bars. You still get the Active Dynamics panel, though, which enables you to ramp-up the responsiveness of the powertrain and aggressiveness of the chassis incrementally and – crucially – independently.
Our test route is in Spain, heading out from Barcelona towards Andorra, taking in everything from clogged city streets to inspiring mountain roads. The Spider takes them all in its stride, coping effortlessly with stop-start traffic, cruising well on motorways and eating up the twists and turns of the mountain roads with relish.
When running in its softest modes it rides calmly and makes effortless progress, so you can relax into the drive. You can cruise roofdown on motorways at realistic speeds without significant buffeting, and when you run with the roof up you really wouldn’t know you’re in the Spider, such is its integrity.
When the roads get more interesting the Spider readily raises its game. A click to Sport on the Active Dynamics panel works like a shot of adrenaline, waking up the powertrain and tensing the chassis just enough for sharper reactions without making it too jumpy. Some of the roads are smooth enough to go into Track mode, at which point it’s super-sharp and very, very quick.
One of the stand-out aspects of the Spider (and 570S) is the way you can find a flow. It cuts through corners with incredible precision and tremendous grip, but also a satisfying sense of both ends of the car working in unison. There’s also a perfectly judged uniformity of feel and response between the steering, brakes and throttle, so you can blend braking, turn-in and acceleration inputs seamlessly for dazzlingly smooth and accurate progress.
Bugbears? The IRIS system is slick to look at but the satnav is slowwitted and the verbal directions can be a bit ambiguous. The electricseat adjustment buttons are stupidly fiddly and you need the codebreaking skills of Alan Turing to fully disable the ESC.
List price for the 570S Spider is £164,750, so it finds itself butting heads with Porsche’s 911 Turbo S Cabriolet (£156,381) and Audi’s recently announced R8 Spyder V10 Plus (£147,020). Both are formidable rivals, but it says a lot for Mclaren’s growing maturity and confidence in its own identity that the 570S Spider will give them a hard fight on its own terms. It’s a cracking car.
From far left: thinspoked alloys a £2690 option; air scoops incorporated into the buttresses; optional sports exhaust an extra £3370