‘McLaren is the new Lotus of ride, handling and steering – but with more power’
The McLaren 720S Spider may well be the most all-round-capable supercar currently on sale. I can’t think of any sports car that can mix 200mph-plus and sub-3.0sec 0-62mph time, blissful ease of driving at low speed, ride and refinement, plus convertible wind-in-the-hair charm. In lesser cars, chopping the roof slashes capability: a bit more chassis flex to blunt the handling, a bit less speed due to inferior aero. Thus, most roadsters are marketed more on romance than race cred.
Rather, the 720S Spider loses nothing dynamically to the equally outstanding 720S Coupe (just 0.1 sec 0-124mph is something not even Lewis Hamilton at his sharpest would notice). Aero is just as good, roof up (and it still exceeds 200mph, roof down). It feels just as taut and sharp thanks to that outstanding F1-style carbonfibre chassis, mildly fettled and improved for this Spider.
Another key reason for the brilliance is the latest Proactive Chassis Control II (to use the full McLaren terminology) hydraulic suspension with adaptive damping. No supercar – especially a Spider – rides with such suppleness and aplomb, no fast car steers and handles better at speed. Plus the steering is the best in class.
McLaren is the new Lotus of ride, handling and steering – but with more power, more thorough engineering and, apparently, far deeper development pockets than poor Lotus has ever managed.
So, let’s come to that old McLaren chestnut. Does it the tug the emotions like the finest rival Ferrari and Lamborghini convertibles? The styling, to my eyes, is less pleasing, the engine note less soulful. Perhaps the wonderful 488 still feels more zestful and hyperactively eager, though it’s a tad slower by the watch. Plus the McLaren is more expensive. Their minor performance and dynamic disadvantages will, to many, be irrelevant. Buyers will be won over by their style, their entertainment, their aura and their names (especially the Ferrari).
But if you want the best all-round driving droptop supercar in the world, with a wider skill set than any other fast car on the planet, then the McLaren 720S Spider is surely it.