Ever wonder how well a drop-top McLaren 720S compares to the coupe version? This video shows how the two compare in real-world testing.
Last December, McLaren introduced us to the new 720S Spider, a retractable hardtop version of the dauntless 720S. Generally speaking, the elimination of a car’s roof usually harms performance by adding drag and weight--two things that a performance car hates, and a carmaker like McLaren absolutely despises.
However, McLaren maintained its uncompromising stance when it came to vehicle performance. They said that the 720S Spider wouldn’t sacrifice an even the tiniest bit of performance in the name of a folding roof. McLaren admitted that the Spider did add 108 lbs over the coupe in terms of weight, but said that it would still post the same zero to sixty time and have the same top speed with the roof up.
DragTimes recently got his hands on a new Spider and decided to test it against his 720S to see how the two compared. What he found out was a little shocking.
But first, a brief tour to highlight the car’s differences. Most of the Spider is the same as the coupe, but there are some refinements that set the Spider apart. To start, the doors are redesigned to be lighter and raise closer to the body than on the coupe version since there’s no roof to put hinges on. That retractable hardtop also can come with an electrochromatic option that will tint the glass at the press of a button.
There’s less storage in the Spider since the rear cargo area is now mostly occupied by a roof, but that’s to be expected. You don’t buy a McLaren to do groceries.
Now to the performance numbers, and they’re truly astounding. On an un-prepped drag strip, the coupe 720S went from zero to sixty in 3.16 seconds. The Spider with the top down did it in 2.71 seconds, and the top up did it in 2.97 seconds, which was faster than the coupe.
This continued on with the quarter-mile times as well. The coupe finished the quarter-mile drag race in 10.5 seconds at 141.98 mph, while the Spider did it in 10.2 seconds at 140.14 mph with the top down. With the top up, it did it in 10.4 seconds at 141.82 mph.
There were a few performance metrics where the coupe actually did outperform the Spider, such as 60-130 mph time and ½-mile overall speed, but by and large, the Spider outperformed the coupe.
We don’t know how that’s possible given the fact the Spider weighs more and has the exact same engine. Maybe DragTimes’ coupe is in need of maintenance or new tires? Regardless, the 720S Spider really does seem to maintain the 720S’s legendary performance but with the option of taking the roof down on a hot summer’s day.