by Karl Furlong
30% new or changed components, 30 more horsepower, and a numeric value in its name that has jumped by 30 - that's the new McLaren 750S Spider in a nutshell compared to its predecessor, the 720S Spider. Of course, that doesn't tell the full story.
Typically, when it comes to choosing a high-performance convertible or coupe, one has to accept some sacrifices with the open-top version. But with the new McLaren 750S Spider convertible, you can go the roofless route and very likely not notice any difference in acceleration or handling, all thanks to the incredibly strong carbon fiber monocoque that requires no additional reinforcement in this application.
The 750S Spider shares its foundations with the 720S Spider but is lighter, more powerful, and has an updated driver-centric interior. It's twin-turbocharged V8 now produces 740 horsepower, and its soundtrack is amplified when the Retractable Hard Top (RHT) is lowered. Along with the 750S Coupe, this is also one of the last newly introduced McLaren supercars to do without any form of electrification.
It's not known exactly when the release date for the McLaren 750S Spider will be, but it should be coming out before the end of the year, since orders have already opened in the USA.
The price of the 2024 McLaren 750S Spider is $343,700, which works out to $19,700 more than the 750S Coupe's MSRP. This cost does not include the Americas Accessory pack that goes for $2,240 and the destination charge of $5,500.
At this price point, rivals are unsurprisingly special machines in their own right. The Ferrari F8 Spider is in the same ballpark in terms of price, and it also has a twin-turbo V8 engine. We'd argue that the F8 Spider is even more of a design knockout, but choosing between this and the McLaren is a privileged predicament to find oneself in. Costing a bit less is the Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder, which has a naturally-aspirated V10 and is available with all-wheel drive.
The exterior design of the McLaren 750S Spider is clearly based on the 720S Spider, and it looks every bit the exclusive exotic that it is. Narrower 'eye socket' intakes enclose the headlights, and these are still one of the signature styling cues that instantly identify this as a McLaren.
Elsewhere around the front of the car, there is a new lower nose section with a front splitter that has been extended. This has no effect on the approach angle, however. Customers can optionally finish the headlight surrounds in either body color or carbon fiber, and carbon fiber can also adorn the new front bumper vents.
The Spider is set apart from the coupe by its glazed flying buttresses and Retractable Hard Top. This roof panel can be specified with electrochromic glass that enhances the open-air feel even when the roof is closed. It can be automatically opened in below 11 seconds at up to 31 mph. Eagle-eyed fans will also pick up the shorter door, frameless window surround, and longer front wing as differences between this and the coupe.
The wheels are the lightest ones to ever be equipped to a series-production McLaren as standard, and these measure 19 inches in front and 20 inches at the back. They have an ultra-lightweight forged design, and various finishes are available. Pirelli P Zero tires are standard, but there are two options for more hardcore enthusiasts: Pirelli P Zero Corsa or Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires.
At the back, the 750S Spider sports new wheel arch vents and a carbon fiber active rear wing that has been lengthened. It takes under half a second for this spoiler to deploy, and it has multiple roles, be it increasing rear downforce or reducing braking distances. Not only does the wing have a 20% greater surface area than the one on the 720S, but it's 3.5 pounds lighter. Beneath it sits a new stainless steel central-exit exhaust system, which has a more emotive soundtrack than before.
Although the colors of the McLaren 750S Spider's exterior haven't been detailed, there will likely be an almost limitless selection on offer.
The dimensions of the McLaren 750S Spider are the same as those of the coupe, with a length of 180 inches, a height of 47 inches, and a width of 85 inches, including the side mirrors. The wheelbase comes in at 105 inches.
But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Spider is that it has a lightest dry weight that, at 2,923 pounds, is only 108 lbs heavier than the 750S Coupe. The DIN weight with fluids and 90% fuel is 3,170 lbs.
The minimal weight gain of the Spider is thanks to the carbon fiber construction, including the fact that the upper part of the monocoque can support the convertible's roof-opening structure. Therefore, McLaren did not have to add any heavy structural reinforcement. A lighter exhaust, lighter seats, and lighter wheels all combine to keep the overall mass down - even the windshield contributes to weight-saving efforts.
The engine in the McLaren 750S Spider is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo flat-plane crank V8 with specs of 740 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque - up from 710 hp and 568 lb-ft in the 720S Spider. The boost pressure of the twin-scroll turbos has been upped, which, in turn, increases air pressure in the cylinders.
A seven-speed sequential transmission now comes with a shorter final drive ratio to improve acceleration, with the 0-60 mph time now down to 2.7 seconds - exactly the same as the coupe. The coupe only pulls ahead at higher speeds, with its 0-124 mph time being 7.2 seconds, a smidge quicker than the Spider's 7.3-second effort. And, if you can find the space to blast from 0-186 mph, the rear-wheel-drive Spider will get there in 20.4 seconds, just 0.6 seconds behind the coupe. The quarter-mile sprint for the Spider takes 10.3 seconds, and it will go on to reach a top speed of 206 mph.
The 750S Spider comes with the latest linked-hydraulic suspension from McLaren, which has lightweight springs (softer in front but firmer at the back compared to the 720S) and dampers, along with revised geometry. Sharper electro-hydraulic steering and a wider front track combine with all the other refinements to create a car that is said to deliver both a more engaging driving experience, but also more comfort, than before. The 720S Spider was already a masterclass in the art of blending a compliant ride with telepathic handling, so it's quite something that McLaren worked so hard to improve it further in the 750S.
For customers who will regularly be using the 750S Spider for track driving, a worthwhile option is the track brake upgrade that is derived from the system in the Senna. It includes ceramic discs and monobloc calipers, plus a new brake booster and vacuum pump. But if you will be sticking to road use most of the time, you'll appreciate the fact that the re-engineered lift system can raise the front of the car in four seconds, much quicker than the 10 seconds it took in the 720S. This feature is especially relevant since the 750S has a lengthened front splitter.
There are no official EPA ratings for the McLaren 750S Spider yet, but it should closely match the 720S Spider's figures of 15/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined. Assuming these figures, the 750S Spider should manage around 340 miles on a tank of gas. Fuel tank capacity is 19 gallons.
Although very clearly based on the 720S, the interior of the McLaren 750S Spider comes with its fair share of upgrades. It can still look a little somber in darker colors, but owners can opt for a variety of brighter red or orange colorways to brighten things up.
High-grade materials include standard Alcantara, but this can be upgraded to a mix of Alcantara and fine Nappa leather with the Performance interior. There is also the TechLux interior which substitutes the Alcantara fittings for Nappa leather throughout.
Ahead of the driver is a new instrument display that moves with the steering column when the latter is adjusted. From here, it's easy to switch between Comfort, Sport, and Track driving modes, and McLaren has smartly resisted cramming controls on the steering wheel.
To the right of the driver is a portrait-style touchscreen that is also upgraded with crisper graphics than before. The driver can access settings for media, navigation, ambient lighting, the new integration of Apple CarPlay, and more from this touchscreen. Between the driver and passenger are two switches to control the roof panel and rear window glass. Although many of the most advanced driver aids are still missing in action, there is at least a rearview camera and a surround-view camera, both of which have been updated with higher-definition imagery.
The standard seats inside the McLaren 750S Spider are carbon fiber-shelled racing items, which save almost 40 lbs of weight compared to the seats in the 720S. Super-lightweight carbon fiber racing seats are optional and are made using a double-skin shell technology that even further lowers weight.
Although the McLaren 750S Spider's cargo space still consists of a front luggage area that measures 5.3 cubic feet, the rear luggage area drops from 7.4 to two cubic feet compared to the coupe because of the roof mechanism.
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