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McLaren 720S Spider
The Top Gear car review:McLaren 720S Spider
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
Two things set the 720S coupe apart from other supercars: practicality and inventiveness. It’s a theme McLaren was obviously keen to reinforce with the drop-top. So McLaren has once again ensured that besides the 150-litre nose bay, you can flip up the tonneau cover and shove another 58 litres of gear in there. Just don’t go trying to drop the roof. There’s also useful wallet/phone/key/cup space on the centre console.
Forward visibility has long been a McLaren strong point, and it’s great that the Spider has the same comparatively slender A-pillars as the coupe. And that the gains in chassis stiffness between this and the old 650S has enabled McLaren to move the header rail forwards by 85mm. It means that there’s a bigger opening above your head. Like most modern sports convertibles, you’re still sat a long way down and snug in the car, so don’t go expecting a vast amount of open air above your head, but on the flip side the reduced turbulence (it really is calm with the roof down) means this is a car that can accomodate even the wildest hairstyles.
When you think about the amount of stuff piled behind the seats – well, specifically the engine and roof – McLaren has done a blinding job of keeping the rear deck low. 145mm lower than the 650S, it claims, much to the benefit of rear visibility. And those glass buttresses? They really do make a difference, opening up the rear-view mirror angles a little, improving over the shoulder visibility a lot.
Inventiveness. Yes, this 720S still has the rotating dash, and it’s still a treat. But It’s the £7,500 electrochromic roof that’s the star of the show. You can have your 720S Spider with a tin top, or you can spec this, a glass roof that at the press of a button darkens to reduce light penetration by 90 per cent. Just two settings (the other a 30 per cent tint from ambient), when surely there was scope for more…
Couple of drawbacks that haven’t been addressed. Dash reflections if you go for an anything-other-than-black dashtop are bad, and assuming you have the electric sports seats, the switch positions are daft (tucked in next to the transmission tunnel) and hard to fathom. Those seats are maybe slightly over-stuffed and firm.
But other than that this is a wonderful car to spend time in. It just feels special. You sit low, the driving position is perfect, the steering wheel fabulous to hold. It just feels like the design has had more thought and attention put into it than a Ferrari or Lamborghini, that the functionality is better. And yes, we know McLaren’s struggled with electronic glitches, but over the course of three days this car failed to conform to stereotype.