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

Evo - - CONTENTS - by R IC H A R D M E A D E N

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.

PHOTOGR A PH Y by DE A N SMIT H

From far left: thin­spoked al­loys a £2690 op­tion; air scoops in­cor­po­rated into the but­tresses; op­tional sports ex­haust an ex­tra £3370

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