McLaren Spider

raises the roof

McLaren 570S Spider, 2017, front, static
McLaren 570S Spider, 2017, side, static
McLaren 570S Spider, 2017, front, action
McLaren 570S Spider, 2017, rear, action
McLaren 570S Spider, 2017, instrument panel
McLaren 570S Spider, 2017, interior
McLaren 570S Spider, 2017, doors
McLaren 570S Spider, 2017, rear, static
McLaren 570S Spider, 2017, boot

WE Brits can be a bit strange. Despite the vagaries of our climate, we insist on being the biggest buyers of convertibles in Europe.

It is understandable. After all, we spend so many hours locked away in soulless, airless offices who wouldn't want to make the most of our wonderful fresh air?

Topless motoring is definitely one of the most pleasurable driving experiences you can have - wind in the hair, your senses wide open to the sun on your face and the sounds and smells of everyday life.

There are now a huge number of cars on the market which can offer open top motoring of some sort, at prices to match all levels.

If you have the budget to meet the £164,750 base price, the new McLaren 570S Spider is simply one of the best.

Undoubtedly a serious amount of cash but you're buying into a supercar born and raised on the track by a company now using its racing technology and expertise to create some of the most advanced performance cars in the world.

And, boy, does the world love them. The 400 launch editions of the 570S Spider are already sold out - the usual phenomenon when it comes to McLaren. Order one now, and you'll get it in time for next summer.

Hand-crafted in Woking, the 570S is the ‘most attainable' McLaren Spider ever, which means, if you have the dosh, supercar attributes such as a lightweight carbon-fibre tub, a mid-engined layout and bonkers performance - the 0-62mph sprint flashes by in a mere 3.2 seconds.

Importantly, McLaren have made no compromises in taking the roof off its superb 570S Coupe - the Spider has the same electrifying pace, racecar ability and impressive refinement.There's just a 46kg weight gain, which is all down to the roof mechanism.

Positioned behind the driver, the incredibly potent 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine produces 570PS and a massive 600Nm of torque.

Hit the accelerator and the power comes through instantly. This is matched with a seamless seven-speed gearbox which you can leave in auto or operate manually via paddles.

Believe me, it is remarkably seamless. With such power and capability, you almost don't have to think about overtaking, you just go. Then laugh and grin.

Yet, it is perfectly happy cruising comfortably in seventh gear at slightly over 1,000rpm.

Top speed is 204mph with the roof up - identical to the Coupe - and even with the roof lowered, the new Spider can reach, should you really want to try it and are in a place where it's legal, 196mph.

Official fuel economy is 26.6mpg - though you'll be having too much fun to get anywhere near that - with CO2 emissions of 249g/km.

There's racecar-style, double wishbone suspension all round with adaptive dampers so the ride, even in Sport mode - there's also Normal and Track - is surprisingly comfortable. None of the stiffness you might expect from a high-performance supercar.

Body control is exceptional - throw it through the most challenging corners at speed and the Spider goes where you point it with no body roll at all.

It's wonderfully easy to drive at speed through the most twisty routes without having to wrestle with it.

This road-holding is made possible by Brake Steer, developed originally for F1, which aids cornering and reduces understeer by subtly applying braking to the inside rear wheel as the driver turns into a corner.

Expertly calibrated Performance Traction Control and Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres also help maintain huge grip. I pushed the Spider through some challenging corners at speed and only once squeaked the tiniest of squeals out of the tyres. Huge carbon-ceramic brakes also breed immense confidence.

In the snug but comfy cockpit, the driver is at the centre of the action with all important functions close to hand.

A 10-inch adjustable instrument cluster in front of the driver has all the info you could ask for but there's also a seven-inch centrally-mounted touchscreen through which you manage all infotainment functions, aircon etc. With the roof off and sun out it can be difficult to see.

As a luxury sportscar, the cabin is a splendid place to be, plenty of high-quality, bespoke switchgear - McLaren don't do off the shelf - and, hand-stitched leather on the seats, door casing, dashboard, and centre console.

At the touch of a button, the two-piece roof stows away in 15 seconds and can be done on the move at up to 25mph. With the raised buttresses behind the seats, it looks fabulous.

There's a wind deflector which can be electrically raised or lowered. It's supposed to reduce wind-buffeting when the roof is down but it didn't seem noticeably different. With the roof up, you can enjoy more of that lovely V8 howl though.

Some 70 per cent of McLaren Sport Series owners tend to opt for the sports exhaust system to enjoy that sound even more - even if it is synthesized. I'd go for it too.

With every new model, McLaren seem to raise the bar, with the sublime, sleek and sexy 570S Spider, they've quite literally taken the roof off.


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