I recently had the chance to check out the new McLaren 720S Spider, which is a convertible version of the McLaren 720S supercar. Of course, that’s what it is on paper. What it is in practice is an amazing, monstrously fast, tremendously enjoyable exotic car that is, without a doubt, my favorite McLaren. Or, at least, my favorite McLaren that doesn’t have an ultra-limited production run and a price tag of over a million bucks.
Here are the specs: the 720S Spider starts around $310,000, but that's before options, and options are plentiful -- the one I drove had a sticker price of around $395,000, which is just ridiculously expensive. Except, when you start to consider performance, it actually starts to seem reasonable: the 720S has 710 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque, it'll do 0-to-60 mph in 2.8 seconds, and it'll hit 212 mph. Those are "hypercar" numbers, closely rivaling the Porsche 918 Spyder and the McLaren P1 -- two vehicles that both cost well over $1 million.
But, regardless of its market position relative to rivals, the 720S is tremendously expensive -- and so it had better be good. And it is. Oh, boy, it is.
The driving experience is really second to none, with some of the sharpest handling and the most communicative steering in the entire car industry -- right up there with the Lamborghini Huracan and the Porsche 911 GT2RS, which I think are some of the most precise, excellent-handling cars on the planet. The acceleration is absolutely brutal, unbelievably fast, raucously crazily insanely quick. It's truly amazing.
And then there's the roof. I love the regular 720S, as it's a fantastic car with a crazy appearance -- but the Spider brings a new dimension to the whole thing. The main benefit, of course, is that you can enjoy all the wonderful things about the 720S's performance while now also enjoying an open-air driving experience that just makes you happier and more involved in the actual process of being in the car, driving along and having fun. The other benefit is the noise: you can hear the engine quite a bit better when you're cruising with the top down.
But the top's ability to go down wasn't actually my favorite thing about the roof of the 720S Spider. Instead, that honor goes to the "electrochromic roof" that McLaren installed in the car -- an unbelievable option that costs $9,100 and has the ability to make the roof go from fully clear to dark in a split-second. It's incredible to press the button and watch the roof change, going from "shade mode" to "full sunlight."
The other interesting thing about the 720S is how easy it is to drive normally. I was really surprised by this, because I've always viewed this car as a totally insane one -- and that's very apparent when you look at the numbers. But you can just cruise around if you want, like a normal person, doing normal person thing. The ride is harsher than a luxury car, sure, but nowhere near as punishing as a track-focused exotic like a Ferrari 488 Pista, a Lamborghini Huracan Performante or McLaren's own 600LT. Instead, it's a usable, and surprisingly comfortable, driving experience that can be enjoyable for simple top-down cruising even if you aren't going fast.
And that's why this is (clearly) my favorite McLaren. This car really has it all: amazing acceleration, crazy, head-turning styling, fantastic steering and handling, an open roof for enjoying the world and the ability to drive it frequently if you want it -- an ability not all exotic cars offer. It's one of my very favorite new cars, and I think one could make the argument that it's actually worth the price McLaren is asking for it. Find a McLaren 720S for sale