I’ve been lucky enough to familiarise myself with most of McLaren’s current lineup. The 570S Spider remains one of my favourite modern supercars, the 720S coupe is literally capable of warp speed, and now I’ve driven one without the roof.
If I’m being perfectly honest all McLarens drive and feel the same, the only difference is as the more power you get the more dollars you have to hand over. So, with the $369,990 570S Spider still being my favourite McLaren, is the considerably more expensive $525,000 720S Spider worth the $155,010 premium?
After spending a few days with the 720S Spider here are five things I liked and five things I didn’t to see if it’s worth spending more for McLaren’s droptop Super Series car.
Five Things I Liked About the McLaren 720S Spider
The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 in the 720S pumps out 530kW and can slingshot the 1332kg supercar from 0-100 km/h in just 2.9 seconds. Say what you will about McLaren but you can’t fault those figures. That’s just the “on paper” performance, in reality those numbers are meaningless. Launch the 720S and it’s quite possibly the closest thing we have to a teleportation device. It’s surreal how quickly the 720S can move from point a to point b. Blink and you’ll literally miss it.
It’s not a one trick pony either, the 720S handles brilliantly thanks to its advanced MonoCage II carbon fibre tub. It’s thanks to this technology McLaren has been able to keep the weight of the 720S down. The added benefit of the MonoCage II is it retains most of the Coupe’s rigidity despite losing the fixed roof. It’s all very clever stuff. That combined with the sharp hydraulic-assisted power steering makes for an absolutely stunning handling car.
Along with the incredible handling, the 720S also grips like no rear-wheel drive supercar has any business gripping. It’s right up there with some of the best AWD corner crusher (looking at you Nissan GT-R). Just be careful of pushing this to its limits because once you’re past it, the 720S will not forgive most drivers.
Proper supercar looks
Love it or hate it, you won’t mistake for anything else on the road. The alien-like face has grown on me since it was first released in 2017. The rest of the car has an artistic style previously not seen on McLaren models. There’s a sculpture like presence to the body, I especially love the two-layer door panels. Speaking of the doors, like every other McLaren, they go up adding to the whole experience. You want a supercar to look and feel childish, which this does and some.
Comfortable enough to use daily but…
One of my favourite things about McLarens is that they’re no more uncomfortable than a regular car. Sure, the seats aren’t great for trips longer than two hours, but that’s pretty much it. The new MonoCage II makes it easy to get in and out of, the ride is exceptional for a car this low to the ground, and it’s got usable boot space up front.
Five Things I Didn’t Like About the McLaren 720S Spider
Wouldn’t want it to be your only car
However, McLaren’s questionable reliability stops me from suggesting this would be an ideal everyday supercar. In theory you could, but you’d risk having to deal with the many electrical and build issues that plague so many McLaren owners. During my time with the 720S Spider the infotainment screen would crash every time I tried to pair my iPhone with it via Bluetooth. The only way to fix it was to turn the car off and wait for at least five minutes then turn it back on. I ended up having to plug my phone into the car via a USB cable like a peasant. It’s not the first time I’ve had to deal with McLaren issues; the 570S Spider had issues operating the roof, the 720S coupe had wonky exhaust tips, and door trim would literally pop out on the 540C Coupe I had every time I opened and closed the door. I’m not the only one, owners around the world have experienced all these issues with McLaren cars, some even catching fire and McLaren have yet to officially address these.
Needs to be driven fast to be fun
This sounds like an awful complaint but to really have any sort of “fun” in this car you have to be at its limits. Which, in a car this fast and powerful, is at very high speeds. At lower speeds it just feels like walking pace for the 720S, like you’re only using 1% of its potential. You’d have to be a certified racing driver to be able to get the most of out of it. It’s just too damn powerful and good.
Since McLaren seem to think their cars are as disposable as iPhones, they’re pumping them out left right and centre. There seems to be a new McLaren model introduced every three weeks. That means the used car market gets flooded with older models and bringing prices down. Even McLaren’s limited edition halo cars such as the Senna, P1, and 675LT values have taken a hammering since the introduction of the Speedtail, Elva, and Senna LM.
Infotainment isn’t great
As mentioned earlier, the infotainment screen on my particular car was a bit buggy but even when it isn’t crashing the system itself isn’t very good. It’s McLaren’s own system and while it’s easy enough to use, it isn’t quick to respond. Unlike the car’s handling. The navigation screen also looks like its from a 90s Nintendo game which doesn’t suit a car from a “technological forward” company like McLaren.
Same experience you get from the much cheaper 570S
At the end of the day the 570S Spider felt pretty much the same as this, minute the extra 150hp. But really you don’t need that extra power. Most people aren’t even going to be able to tell the difference between the two. Both cars look exotic, both are convertibles, and both have doors that go up. That’s all the really matters and to be frank, the 570S drives better. It’s the sweet spot of the McLaren range having the grip and handling without having to go beyond your own limits. It’s the purest McLaren experience and it just so happens to be the least expensive way to get one with a folding roof.