McLaren surprises Geneva crowds with new convertible

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014. Filed under: Destinations Motoring
The McLaren 650S Spider and 650S Coupé Soft top or hard top, McLaren promises no performance compromises. ©McLaren Automotive

The McLaren 650S Spider and 650S Coupé
Soft top or hard top, McLaren promises no performance compromises.
©McLaren Automotive

(Relaxnews) – The British supercar company had already announced that it was set to launch a new super-fast sports coupe at the motor show, but then proceeded to take the wraps off a spider version too.

Like the McLaren 650S, the 650S Spider has an output of 650PS (641bhp) and combines elements of the company’s existing range of supercars to create something faster than the 12C, yet more comfortable than the rang-topping P1.

McLaren describes the car as a ‘no compromise’ high-performance open-top sports car, and looking at the performance figures, that’s no exaggeration.

With a 0-62mph (100km/h) time of 3.0 seconds, it is equally as fast as the hardtop version off the line but does lose out by 0.2 seconds in the 0-124mph (200km/h) — 8.6 seconds compared with 8.4 seconds for the coupe. However, it’s still good for a top speed of 204mph (329km/h) and 24.2mpg (11.7 l/100km) on the combined cycle.

The fact that the figures for the spider are so close to those for the hardtop are a testament to McLaren’s engineering expertise. The convertible is only 40kg heavier and most of this weight is due to the two-piece roof and the motor that retracts it. And that motor is no slouch either. The roof can be raised or lowered in under 17 seconds and at speeds of up to 19mph (30km/h).

No one ever doubts McLaren’s technical abilities, but sometimes the company is criticized for its lack of adventure. For example, the traction control systems in its cars are difficult to turn off, and sometimes the cars, though fabulous to drive, can lack personality.

The 650S Spider attempts to address this via its rear window. With the roof down, it can be kept in place as an extra wind buffer, or, with the roof up can be lowered to let air and engine noise into the cabin for more drama.

It’s a small step, but one in the right direction for people who would usually be heading to the Ferrari or Lamborghini dealership.

The coupe version of the 650S will cost £195,250 (roughly €240,000 or $325,000) while the Spider will cost a little more at £215,250 (€260,000 or $350,000).

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