It’s fair to say we do some pretty epic things here at EFTM. But I’d like to think our audience appreciate the fact we’re literally just battlers doing our best. How we get our mittens on some things I’ll never know, but hey you only live once right? Over the weekend I was given the keys to the new Mclaren 720S Spider. This is a $556,000 supercar, one that comes suitably insured with an enormous excess. It’s also arguably the fastest convertible on the planet. On Saturday morning I strapped myself in and made a beeline to the home of motorsport, Bathurst and the iconic Mount Panorama.
What is it?
I’m sure most people associate the brand McLaren with Formula 1 and rightly so. But McLaren Automotive is now the company’s core business. Any McLaren road car is epically quick, but once you enter its Super Series range things really do start to get silly.
The 720S Spider follows the 720S Coupe, the only real difference being the retractable hard-top roof. The two-seater flyer weighs a mere 1,332kg thanks to the use of carbon fibre in just about every nook and cranny.
But really all you need to know is this. There’d be few cars on Australian roads that can match its performance, those that do only better it by a whisker.
Behind the wheel
The McLaren 720S Spider certainly reminds you that you’re no athlete. The dihedral doors open almost straight up. There’s nothing more embarrassing than 10 onlookers at a servo watch you try and perform this manoeuvre. Have you ever tripped in public but then tried to smother by performing a strange little dance? Well that’s me every time I enter the 720S Spider.
I haven’t in the past been a massive fan OF McLaren cabins, but the tan leather used in our test car really made it a pleasant space to sit. There’s not much to report when it comes to the infotainment system, but really that’s the last thing on your mind. Although the Bowers and Wilkins sound system is very good.
The biggest problem with a car like this is reviewing it. I have no plans to lose any more demerit points, as a result all of my time in the car was spent at the posted speed limit. I had one perhaps two solid cracks from a set of lights. Let me just say this, based on just those two moments the acceleration is simply violent and despite the traction control systems the back end wants to go quicker than the front. I’m tipping it hits 80km/h in a about a second. That’s without using launch control, it’s simply ferocious and demands some serious respect.
But on the flip side the 720S Spider is a perfectly capable runabout, for those who own a bank anyway. I’ve always said that McLaren do an excellent job of blending mind-boggling performance with comfortable road manners.
Some supercars are just a nightmare, with poor visibility and often produce a sense of being generally loud and overly mechanical. They’re great on the track, but a punish on the road.
The mid-engine 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 delivers 537kW and 770Nm of torque. All that firepower is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed DSG gearbox. Now compare that to what claims to be Australia’s fasted ever production car, the HSV GTSR W1. Its 6.2-litre V8 was capable of 474kW and 815Nm of torque, handy stats but I think you get my point.
0-100km/h takes a mere 2.8 seconds, hence my earlier remark about demerit points. If someone was able to lend me a runway to try the claimed top speed of 341km/h I would, but that’s unlikely.
Turn away if you’re expecting me to wax lyrical about Apple CarPlay et al because there’s none of that here, you’ll have to make do with a simple 8.0-inch touchscreen. All of that is superfluous when it comes to a car like this anyway. But it’s certainly not bereft of technology. For example, the glass above your head that acts as a roof is glazed with an electrochromic panel that switches between tinted and transparent states at the push of a button.
That roof can go up and down in just 11 seconds at speeds up to 50km/h, trust me I tried it!
The body structure is made of carbon fibre, as is a large portion of the roof should you not elect to go for the fancy glass option.
There’s nothing better than seeing the active rear spoiler pop up and down every time you apply the brakes, in everyday traffic. I’m sure other motorists thought what a tosser, but hey why not!
Deliveries have started in Australia with a price tag of $556,000 before on-roads and options. Fuel economy is rated at 11.6L/100km on the combined cycle, I pulled 13.5L/100km, which is a miracle.
Why would you buy one?
Aside from having the cash the McLaren brand has a unique allure to it. It certainly turns more heads than any Ferrari or Lamborghini I’ve driven.
The McLaren 720S Spider is a ground-based fighter jet, few will ever extract its true abilities. But those that do are pushing the absolute limits of automotive perfection. It’s a 9.5 out of 10 from me.
Chris is EFTM’s Motoring Editor, driving everything from your entry level hatch to the latest Luxury cars through to the Rolls Royce.
He has been in the media for 20 years, produced three Olympic games broadcasts, attending Beijing 2008 & London 2012.
Strangely he owns a Toyota Camry Hybrid, he defiantly rejects the knockers.
Chris is married to Gillian and resides in Sydney’s North West. They have Sam the English Springer Spaniel and Felix the Burmese cat to keep them company, and recently welcomed baby Henry to the family.