Wednesday 28 July 2021 2:35 pm

Along came a Spider: Drop-top McLaren 765LT supercar breaks cover

McLaren has pulled the wraps off its new 765LT Spider. The latest ‘Longtail’ combines ferocious performance with a retractable carbon fibre roof. A 765hp twin-turbocharged V8 blasts it to 62mph in 2.8 seconds.

The Spider is the open-air version of McLaren’s track-focused 765LT. A run of 765 individually numbered cars is planned – the same total as the sold-out coupe – priced at £310,500 apiece.

The new folding hard-top disappears in 11 seconds at speeds up to 31mph, or you can lower the rear window to enjoy the ‘searing LT soundtrack’ even when the British weather does its worst. Just take it easy on those Trofeo R tyres…

The big numbers

McLaren 765LT Spider
(McLaren)

Let’s start with some stats. That eponymous 765hp output is combined with 590lb ft of torque, giving the Spider a class-leading power-to-weight ratio. At 1,388kg (DIN weight), it’s 49kg heavier than the 765LT coupe but 80kg lighter than a 720S Spider. 

With a racetrack to hand, that means 0-200kph (124mph) in 7.2 seconds and a standing quarter-mile (400m) in 10 seconds flat. Top speed is 205mph.

Downforce is also 25 percent greater than the 720S. An Aero button in the cabin automatically adjusts the elongated rear spoiler according to speed – and whether the roof is raised or lowered . McLaren says the car posts quicker lap times than either of its Longtail predecessors: the 600LT Spider and 675LT Spider.

Exhilarating, extreme performance

McLaren 765LT Spider
(McLaren)

The Spider’s ‘Monocage II’ carbon fibre chassis is sufficiently stiff that no additional bracing is required over the coupe. Carbon fibre is also used extensively elsewhere to shave vital kilos. The hard-shell ‘Senna’ seats, for example, weigh just 3.35kg each. Forged alloy wheels with titanium bolts save a further 22kg.

Buyers can also dive headlong into the MSO options list. The Clubsport Pack includes track telemetry hardware with three cameras and upgraded brakes from the McLaren Senna. The Black Pack gives the car a more stealthy look, with a gloss finish for the front splitter, diffuser and air intakes. If you insist, you can even have a carbon fibre ignition key.

Ian Howshall, global product manager at McLaren, says: “When you lower the roof of the Spider, there is a step-change in character – almost a theatrical element, like experiencing a live orchestra from right in front of the stage”. Company CEO Mike Flewitt promises “exhilarating, extreme performance”. 

A long tale

(McLaren)

Flewitt is a particular fan of the 765LT – and McLaren’s harder, faster Longtail cars in general. In an interview last year, he told us: “Perhaps the LT brand is what I’m proudest of. The cars are daily usable and very exciting even at low speed, yet they’re amazing on a track. They absolutely hit the spot for McLaren – and for me.”

Referring to the 765LT coupe, he continued: “Before this, I’d have probably said [my favourite McLaren road car was] the 675LT. We took the 650S and made it a little lighter, faster and more aerodynamic, but the result was way more than the sum of its parts.”

Flewitt’s enthusiasm makes an LT version of the forthcoming McLaren Artura look likely. You can read our full preview of the new plug-in hybrid supercar here.

Racing into 2022

(McLaren)

We’re also fans of the 765LT coupe, having named it one of our 10 best supercars of 2021

After driving it on-track at Silverstone, we said: ‘This isn’t a hold-on-and-hope rollercoaster ride. The McLaren’s hydraulic steering overflows with tactility and its chassis is benign and forgiving. Oversteer is there if you want it, of course, but the car rewards tidy lines and accurate inputs, not heavy-footed hooliganism… The 765LT sees Woking flexing its muscles and playing to its strengths.’ 

What are the odds on the 765LT Spider making our ‘10 best supercars of 2022’ list? We’ll find out later this year.

Tim Pitt writes for Motoring Research

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