The McLaren 720S Spider brings an open hatch to the fighter jet looks of the coupe. Picture: SUPPLIED
 The McLaren 720S Spider brings an open hatch to the fighter jet looks of the coupe. Picture: SUPPLIED

Arachnophobia is unlikely to set in when you walk into No 1 Whiteley Road, Melrose Park — the brand spanking new Joburg premises of the Daytona Group – merchants of Pagani, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin and McLaren motor cars in SA.

The building is still too new to shelter biological arachnids, however two Spiders have been welcomed into the building that’s said to be the largest McLaren showroom in the world.

The new McLaren 600LT Spider is an open-top derivative of the 600LT Coupe — the doyen of McLaren’s compact but ferocious Sport Series. The 600LT Spider is charged with the same acclaimed track-honed dynamic ability as its hard-top sibling but now with the added hair-messing exhilaration of experiencing it all with roof down.

The powered retractable hardtop roof can be lifted or lowered at vehicle speeds of up to 40km/h.

This is supplemented by carbon fibre bodywork, a big front splitter, side sills, a chunkier diffuser and a fixed rear wing said to offer 100kg of downforce at 250km/h.

With nearly a quarter of the 600LT Spider parts being newly crafted instead of being transplanted from the 570S Spider — the base model on which the LT transformation kicks off upon — this flavour also sees the flagship gain the exclusive top-exit exhausts that debuted with the Coupé.

The 600LT Spider fuses sun-soaking with genuine track ability. Picture: SUPPLIED
The 600LT Spider fuses sun-soaking with genuine track ability. Picture: SUPPLIED

They are certainly going to amplify the aural bliss when that roof is peeled off and stowed away.

The company says the convertible bodystyle weighs 1,297kg — just 50kg more than the Coupé and 100kg lower than a regular 570S Spider. 

With 441kW and 620Nm on tap from a 3.8l twin-turbocharged V8 engine, the 600LT is rated with 2.9 seconds from standstill to 0-100km/h; 8.4 seconds from 0-200km/h and a top speed of 324km/h.

McLaren Super Series-derived forged aluminium double wishbone suspension and stiffer antiroll bars help deliver dynamic precision and new heights of driver engagement.  It’s also equipped with the latest-generation lightweight brake calipers, carbon ceramic discs and a McLaren Senna-inspired brake booster for precise pedal feel and good stopping power.

It’s also shod with special Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres to enhance its track-ability. The 600LT Spider is sold in low volumes and is priced from R5,750,000

Joining the 600LT on its SA debut is the McLaren 720S Spider. It’s powered by a 4.0l twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 530kW.  Torque is a colossal 770Nm. A light yet extremely strong and stiff Monocage carbon fibre core that leaves the drop-top Spider with a feather-light dry weight of only 1,332kg, gives this 720S a power-to-eight ratio of 397kW/ton, translating into biblical performance numbers.

How’s 0-100km/h in 2.9 sec; 0-200km/h in 7.9 sec and a duo of terminal velocities sound? With the retractable roof down McLaren says it’ll reach 325km/h. Spend 11 seconds closing the roof and the car will hit 341km/h. 

Crafty active aero and an optimised chassis link up with a rear spoiler that’s automatically deployed to enhance stability. It also gets an Active Dynamics Panel which allows drivers to select Comfort, Sport or Track modes. The 720S Spider price starts at R6,950,000