Car news

04 March 2014

Meet the McLaren 650S Spider

It has no roof, but it’s more closely related to the coupe than you’d expect

Ollie Marraige
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In an entirely expected turn of events, McLaren has showed the Spider version of its new 650S at the Geneva Motor Show. And boy is it a radical departure from the coupe. It's got... no, only joking, it's just as you would expect, mechanically identical but with the addition of a two-part folding hardtop that either hides or shows itself in 17 seconds at up to 30kph.

The similarities are worth dwelling on though, because, thanks to McLaren's carbon chassis, the coupe, which you can read about here, and Spider are far more closely related than other hard top/soft top siblings. Both use an identical ‘Monocell' with all the strength in the tub, so the biggest difference between the pair is the extra 40kg of weight required for the Spiders roof motors and covers.

That means the Spider is every bit as quick as the coupe. 0-100kph takes an identical 3.0secs, and at 200kph the 40kg of weight has exacted a penalty of just 0.2secs, with 8.6secs playing 8.4. The Spider will hit 328kph all out, the loss of 5kph to the coupe presumably attributable to the aero turbulence caused by the upright rear window. The economy figures of 8.5kpl and 275g/km are identical.

McLaren makes no mention of any changes to the suspension, but does point out that this particular shade, Tarocco Orange, is a new one. The engine? Well, the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 still develops 641bhp and 678Nm of torque of course and, if McLaren is to be believed, the 650S does feel noticeably quicker than the 12C. And yes, the 12C is still on sale. As far as I can work out the only reason you'd want one over a 650S is because you didn't think the P1 nose graft has worked that well here, which, to be frank, it hasn't.

But even so it would be hard to tick the 12C box instead of the 650S given not only the small but significant changes that seem to have been wrought, but also the improved standard kit. The Spider gains carbon ceramic brakes, DAB radio, Pirelli Corsa tyres, wireless tethering and Alcantara upholstery.

Tags: mclaren, geneva 14, 650s, 650s spider

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