Check out what happens when a McLaren 720S Spider takes on an Ariel Atom 4 and a BMW S1000RR superbike in a drag race.
It’s springtime, and that means it’s time to bust out the topless cars. We’d certainly approve of a convertible Mustang or a drop-top Mazda MX-5, but we’ll take the recently unveiled McLaren 720S Spider if it’s offered. Just like the regular 720S, it comes with a 710 horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine and the addition of a retractable roof only adds 100 lbs to the overall weight with only a tiny sacrifice to the car’s 0-60 performance.
So the McLaren is perhaps the fastest way to get around with the top down, but what if we went beyond mere cars and stepped over to see what a few alternatives can do?
The Ariel Atom 4 is another British-built supercar that takes the ethos of “lightness makes speed” to its logical conclusion. Little more than a tube frame with a Honda Civic Type R engine, the Atom 4 is the closest you’ll ever come to driving in Formula 1 without a lifetime of driving experience.
Zero to sixty takes 2.8 seconds while top speed is 162 mph, and when there’s nothing in between you and the wind, 162 mph is very, very fast.
But it’s not superbike fast. That’s where the 2019 BMW S1000RR comes in. Its 999cc inline 4-cylinder motor makes 207 hp, which makes for a much better power-to-weight ratio than the McLaren when you consider the bike weighs just 434 lbs. It also comes with launch control so the driver doesn’t have to worry about popping a wheelie off the line.
Thanks to Autocar, we get to see these three vehicles line up and race. So which one is the fastest way to drive without a roof?
In the first race, it looks like the BMW got a bit of a head start and managed to pull ahead of the 720S off the line, but then the 720S clawed its way back into the lead. Then the BMW once again proved to be the faster accelerator and pulled into the lead for a photo finish at the half-mile mark.
However, things are different in the second race when the BMW bike doesn’t jump the start. Check out the video to see how these three options stack up.