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McLaren 765LT Spider takes drop-top performance to a new level

The McLaren 765LT Spider.
The McLaren 765LT Spider.

A company like McLaren isn’t one to rest on its laurels.

So while it dealt out a killer blow to competitors with the 765LT Coupe, it hasn’t wasted any time in creating a drop-top version to appeal to even more buyers – the 765LT Spider.

Incorporating the same mad-hat engine as the coupe version but with the added flexibility of a folding metal roof, the Spider aims to be an ever-so-slightly more road-focused model compared with its track-devouring stablemate.

So what does this £310,000, 205mph Spider bring to the table? Obviously, the most striking difference between this car and the Coupe is the addition of a folding carbon fibre roof.

It’s a really striking piece of engineering and one which works in that efficient and precise fashion that you’d expect from McLaren.

You can’t fault the theatre that the 765LT Spider provides, with its huge scoops, flared arches and huge active rear wing

But despite this addition, a variety of weight-saving measures – including a full titanium exhaust system which we’ll look at further on – means that the Spider tips the scales at only 49kg more than the Coupe.

Plus, McLaren has given the Spider its own setup for steering and dampers, ensuring that it feels slightly different to the fixed-top version.

Under the bonnet

Needless to say, the 765LT Spider has performance on its side. It uses a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 755bhp and 800Nm of torque, sending power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

As a result, the Spider’s acceleration figures are impressive with 0-60mph coming in 2.7 seconds and 0-124mph taking just 7.2 seconds. Flat-out, it’ll do 205mph.

When it comes to efficiency, things aren’t quite as bad as you might expect. Sure, this is no ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid, but 23mpg combined isn’t all that atrocious, and during our time with the car, we actually exceeded that. Emissions stand at 280g/km.

The first thing that you notice with the 765LT Spider is the noise and boy, what a noise it is. Even with the roof in place, the titanium exhaust gives the V8 engine a proper edge, rasping as it starts up at the press of a button.

But moving off, the ride quality seems to contrast this race feel, with the 765LT’s dampers soaking up the worst of the bumps impressively well. It’s even comfortable on the motorway.

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But find a clear stretch of open road ahead of you and it’s a car that’ll gain pace with a fearsome hunger. However, this brutal acceleration is backed by wonderfully judged steering and powerful brakes. It feels slightly less nervous than the Coupe, which makes it into the ideal road car – albeit a massively fast one.

Good looks

The 765LT Spider, McLaren’s most powerful convertible supercar ever produced.

If there was ever a car to turn heads, it’s the 765LT Spider. Our test car in bright red got smartphones snapping and people staring, so for those who prefer a more discrete mode of transport it’s probably not the best option.

But you can’t fault the theatre that the 765LT Spider provides, with its huge scoops, flared arches and huge active rear wing giving the eye loads to look at.

That folding roof is at the heart of the whole look, too. It can be raised or lowered in just 11 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. There’s also a retractable rear window that can be raised or lowered independently of the roof, allowing you to let more exhaust sound into the cabin even with the roof up.

What’s it like inside?

Stripped back and lightweight, there’s not an awful lot of extra furnishing inside the cabin of the 765LT Spider. Our car came with super-lightweight carbon bucket seats – a £6,250 extra – which despite looking quite fearsome, are actually quite comfortable.

There’s Alcantara and carbon everywhere you look, while the thin-rimmed steering wheel is both great to look at and great to use, too.

There’s not a lot of space for your things, mind you, though the 150-litre storage area under the bonnet is square and easy to access. There’s also an extra 58 litres under the tonneau, but whichever way you look at it, you’ll be travelling light.

What’s the spec like?

At over £310,000, the 765LT Spider occupies a space at a very premium end of the motoring spectrum.

Of course, a bulk of that price is going into the engineering and performance that this car offers, with the Spider’s huge acceleration and accurate handling feeling every bit what you’d expect from a car of this price.

It’s exciting, dramatic to look at and brutally fast, which makes it one of the very best supercars around

Though air conditioning and the audio system are removed as standard, you can add these back in at no extra cost.

You also get an eight-inch touchscreen display, but as we’ve found in other McLarens it’s clunky and doesn’t offer the same level of smartphone integration as you’d get from cars costing a tenth of what the Spider commands.

It’s often the case that the convertible version of a car is the lesser option. They can often be wallowy, a little inaccurate and not as engaging, which is why many enthusiasts lean towards hard tops.

However, this isn’t the case with the 765LT Spider – it’s just as involving as the Coupe, but feels more rounded and better suited to life on the road rather than the track.

It’s exciting, dramatic to look at and brutally fast, which makes it one of the very best supercars around.

The Facts

Model: McLaren 765LT Spider

Price: £310,500

0-60mph: 2.7 seconds

Top speed: 205mph

Economy: 23mpg

CO2 emissions: 280g/km

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