2018 McLaren 570S Spider

It has long been held that chopping off a car’s roof inevitably dulls performance due to the extra weight from structural bracing and folding-top mechanisms, but does it have to be that way? McLaren rejects that paradigm with the new Spider version of the 570S supercar, which, despite carrying a complex retractable-hardtop mechanism, keeps extra weight to a minimum and doesn’t give up much compared with its sharp-edged hardtop sibling.

2018 McLaren 570S

The 570S gains just 101 pounds in its transformation to Spider form and, according to McLaren, loses no stiffness at all in its carbon-fiber tub. The claimed zero-to-60-mph time of 3.1 seconds is unchanged from McLaren’s estimate for the 570S coupe (we tested one at 2.9 seconds), and top speed is undiminished, at 204 mph—with the top up, that is. You’ll have to settle for 196 mph with the top lowered.

The retractable roof itself is similar to the unit in the more powerful 650S Spider, being a two-piece arrangement that folds under a tonneau cover in 15 seconds and at speeds of up to 25 mph. There’s a power-operated wind deflector that’s said to reduce buffeting when raised with the top down. McLaren also reworked certain elements of the car’s aerodynamic profile to compensate for the different body shape, raising the rear spoiler by half an inch to provide additional downforce.

Otherwise, the 570S Spider keeps the same twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 pumping out 562 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The suspension setup also is unchanged from the coupe, as are the parameters for the Normal, Sport, and Track selectable driving modes. As with any McLaren, visuals are a key consideration, and the Spider gets three new exterior colors added to its palette: Curaçao Blue, Vega Blue, and Sicilian Yellow. There also are attractive new 10-spoke wheels available as an option on the Spider.

The 570S Spider starts at a cool $211,300, or $20,200 more than the coupe. But we think that might be one sacrifice that McLaren buyers will be more than willing to make in exchange for open-top thrills.