Audi may have just revealed a Spyder version of its R8 Plus, but McLaren has already prepared its rebuttal in the form of the 570S Spider. In all honesty, we have been in wait for a drop-top version of McLaren’s excellent Sports Series supercar for quite some time now, and now that the car has been revealed at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed it seems we're unlikely to be disappointed.
The 570S and its variants may be considered 'entry level' in the McLaren line up, but their capability and pure pace mean they never feel it. Building on the coupe’s carbon tub and 3.8-litre twin turbo V8, the Spider adds a folding rigid roof mechanism, opening up the Sports Series range to an open-air experience for the first time. Similar in principle to the folding arrangement in the larger 650S and 675LT, the two-piece roof folds into a cubby behind the driver, leaving the tall buttresses in place.
Subscribe to evo magazine
Operational at up to 30mph, the Spider's folding roof will drop in just 15 seconds and has the same ability to remain in place with the rear screen dropped as the canopy on the R8 Spyder.
Thanks to a variation in aerodynamics on the rear deck, McLaren has included a 12mm taller rear wing similar to that on the 570GT to retain a similar downforce rating as on the standard hardtop model. Unlike many drop-top rivals, the 570S Spider has not required significant re-engineering to make up for the loss of rigidity that removing a roof would usually entail. This is due to the 570’s Monocell carbon tub structure, helping keep the weight penalty over the hardtop to an impressive 46kg.
The Spider’s 564bhp 3.8-litre twin turbo flat plane V8 and dual clutch gearbox are unchanged, so performance figures have been mostly unaffected. 0-62mph is dealt with in 3.2 seconds and 0-124 in just 9.6, much the same as the coupe, while top speed is 204mph with the roof up.
Unlike the more expensive Super Series 650S and 675LT, the 570S does without the clever Pro-Active chassis, maintaining more conventional coilover suspension and anti-roll bars. Part of the reason why we think so much of the Sports Series models is because of this, maintaining an extra layer of feedback that can be lost on the Super Series’ hydraulic set up.
Steering is via an electro-hydraulic system as in other McLarens, so the lovely granular feel that often writhes its way through the steering rack should be maintained. McLaren’s refusal to fit a limited slip differential is also true on the Spider. Instead the car utilises the Brake-Steer function that has been slowly perfected in McLaren models over the years.
Aesthetically, not much has changed bar the roof mechanism, although the yellow car depicted does feature a new set of alloy wheels and three new colours will be available at launch. For early adopters, the 570S Spider will be specified in an exclusive launch edition specification on the first 400 units.
The 570S Spider is available to order, with the first units reaching customers in August.