McLaren 570S

Roof down, satisfaction up

TONY OíKANE

ITíS CURIOUS that one of McLarenís most Ďaffordableí models is also one of its most tactile, engaging and appealing offerings. Simple minds might think of an entry-level convertible as being the poserís choice, but in reality itís closer to being the connoisseurís darling.

Having good DNA helps. As with all McLarens, the 570S Spider is built around a carbon tub with the torsional rigidity of Uluru. Top-down scuttle-shake is nonexistent as a result. The powerretractable hard top adds 46kg of extra mass over a 570S Coupe, but thatís minuscule, and the Spiderís 0-100km/h sprint of 3.2 seconds is identical to the coupeís Ė and so is its roof-up top speed of 328km/h. So much for convertibles being the compromised choice.

Engaging handling; supple ride; more vocal than Coupe counterpart PLUS & MINUS Hefty price premium over Coupe; engine note still lacklustre, just louder

Model McLaren 570S Spider

Engine 3799cc V8, 32v, dohc, twin-turbo

Max power 419kW @ 7500rpm

Max torque 600Nm @ 5000-6500rpm

Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch

Weight 1498kg

0-100km/h 3.2sec (claimed) Economy 10.7L/100km

Price $435,750

On sale Now

Furthermore, the Spider has something fixed-roof McLarens tend to lack Ė a semblance of sonic satisfaction. A retractable rear screen lets more engine noise into the cabin when the side glass is up and brings plenty of cross-flow when the windows are wound down. The sound? Still not the purest, but itís definitely more pronounced in the Spider.

Itís a joy on the road. The hydraulic steering is light but communicative and follows the roadís camber with the slightest of nudges. The suspension is admirably pliant in both Normal and Sport modes.

And though the twin-turbo 3.8 litre V8 may be at the lower end of McLarenís horsepower spectrum, performance is mega. Both turbos are at full puff at just 2500rpm and acceleration is relentless to the 8000rpm redline. Grab the next gear, and youíre dropped right back into the meaty bit of the torque band to do it all over again. The seven-cog dual-clutch is nicely punchy at full-bore but can be snatchy in stop-go traffic.

However the best part about the 570S Spider is just how effortless it is to switch from boulevard cruising to backroad blasting. Itís docile and comfortable when the Handling and Powertrain toggles are rotated to ĎNí (for Normal), but transforming it into a sharper instrument is as simple as twisting both knobs a click or two to the right to place it in Sport or Track. With those big switches located high on the centre console, right where your left hand naturally falls, it can all be done entirely by feel.

Good bones

The 570S Spiderís steel antiroll bars and conventional multi-mode dampers might not have the techy wowfactor of the hydraulicallylinked undercarriage of upper-echelon McLarens, but it still manages to be supremely sjupple on gnarly pavement, despite rolling stock measuring 19-inches at the front and 20-inches at the back. Credit its superstiff carbon architecture which, astonishingly, didnít require any additional reinforcement in the transition to Spider form.

The McLaren works with you, and few mid-engined supercars feel as user-friendly. The Spiderís ability to throw some sunlight on your scalp and send more decibels to your ears enhances the base 570S experience. Perhaps the only real stumbling block is whether going topless is worth the considerable $40,750 premium over the similarly excellent Coupe.

TONY OíKANE