MHH International Drives The McLaren 570S Spider
There’s no harm in dreaming about the day when a supercar could be part of our lives and if there’s a choice to be made then the lucky buyer could do worse than the new McLaren 570S Spider which is, as you can see from the images, stunning. Compared to the 570S Coupé, the Spider adds a neatly integrated, retractable hardtop which, when lowered and automatically stowed between the passenger cage and the engine, delivers an immense driving experience – if your hair can cope.
There are no performance compromises because the Spider has at its heart the McLaren fibre MonoCell II chassis and does not suffer any reduction in strength or stiffness in convertible guise, or indeed require any additional structural actions.
The 3799cc V8 powerplant maintains the same electrifying pace, dynamic excellence and impressive refinement that is shared by its siblings. With 562bhp (hence 570S) it is arguably the most affable and easy to drive of the McLaren range but it is more than enough for British roads, we can confirm.
Not being a small fellow I fell into, rather than climbed into, the driving seat. Astonishingly easy to get to grips with, the Spider and I were soon as one. The fine leather and Alcantara-lined cockpit is snug but very comfortable once seated and the driving position is, well, perfect with the dihedral wing doors surprisingly light and easy to use. The interior is minimalist yet finely made. The usual technology is there, accessed via the central screen; there are no buttons on the steering wheel. It has just the one job.
Driving through a seven-speed ‘seamless shift’ twin clutch automatic gearbox with well-sited paddles, once on the move the steering changes direction at the merest hint of driver input and the driver is instantly in awe of the performance with 62mph from rest arriving in a scant 3.2 seconds and on to 198mph (where allowed, obviously). Remember, this is the baby of the family. With three driving modes to choose from in-gear performance was even more startling and at speed we could really feel the true meaning of downforce. The grip is astonishing.
With the hard top in position it is possible to lower the rear glass window for fresh air and to harken to the aural delights of the V8 symphony but therein lies a slight disappointment. Certainly it is loud yet is strangely sonorous; you could argue that it lacked that excitement, that thrill, you get when a powerful engine is truly on song. On the overrun and downshifts, where were the pops, crackles and bangs that enthusiastic drivers get with, say, the Jaguar F Type? It’s a minor gripe when the rest of the experience is so sensational though. Can we have a trick exhaust please McLaren?
With the roof up, the space behind allows for the storage of small items. The main trunk is in the front. It is a surprisingly deep well that will hold a weekend bag and a few bits and pieces. In fact there is a little more space here than in the similar boot space of the Audi R8. You wouldn’t call this vehicle totally practical but it is not unreasonable to suggest it is a car that could be used every day.
Exiting the vehicle was even more ungainly than the entry. Not being in the first flush of lithe youthfulness I had to extricate my long limbs in the manner of a real spider trying to get out of a porcelain bath. It wasn’t pretty and the adrenaline-soaked pilot had to insist, with dire threats, that no photographs were taken. No doubt exiting gracefully from low-slung cars is something to be learned.
Without a doubt the McLaren 570S Spider is a remarkable automotive engineering achievement. It has beauty in spades and is a privilege to drive. The performance defies description. If you want a brand new one then you’ll have to wait until later next year if you order now. The base UK price is around £167,000 and the featured car, with options, is closer to the thick end of £200,000. Still, we can but dream.