The 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, designed in collaboration with Ricardo and manufactured in Shoreham, produces 562bhp, or 570PS, to give this McLaren its name. The V8 drives through a seven-speed, “seamless shift” dual-clutch automatic gearbox and power-to-weight ratio is 375bhp per tonne, enabling the Spider to reach 124mph in a whisker under 10 seconds.
Apart from the roof, the rest is pretty much identical to the 570S coupé. The suspension is relatively traditional, with steel coil springs, anti-roll bars and adaptive dampers, although the 570S features sophisticated electronics such as Brake Steer, which acts on the inside rear wheel to overcome any understeer.
Carbon-ceramic brakes with six-pot front and four-pot rear calipers provide the necessary retardation. There are Normal, Sport and Track driving modes and the steering is electro-hydraulic.
The familiar 10.0in TFT main instrument cluster and 7.0in IRIS touchscreen infotainment system are also carried over. The only real changes are that the flying buttresses of the coupé roof are filled in and the rear spoiler gains 12mm in height.
Starting up the 570S Spider
Beautifully finished with a dazzling external presence. It's worth thinking about how you'll get in on the first attempt: bum first and legs second, or left leg first then swing in with the hand on the A-pillar, it’s your choice.
The interior is exquisite and hand-finished at McLaren with acres of Alcantara to gaze at. The driver is confronted with a neat, high-definition digital dash, while the 570S’s three driving modes are selectable separately from the two dials on the floor-mounted centre console and the infotainment touchscreen is sited reasonably high in the centre of the instrument panel.
The 570S Spider fires up into a pleasingly rowdy idle that’s even more in your ear with the roof down. The transmission default is automatic but overridden by the paddles, with fully manual mode selectable at the press of a button.
Once under way, the 570 Spider is easy to drive. One of its great strengths is managing to combine raw power with subtlety and refinement that will appeal even to those drivers who are not especially wowed by the whole Italianate, mid-engine supercar thing. It’s just easy to live with and driving isn’t a challenge unless you want it to be.
Let’s make no mistake, though: for most drivers, even those who fancy themselves as experienced hands, 562bhp is a colossal amount of power in a road-focused car. Floor the throttle and the Spider lets rip with a kind of composed ferocity that is well worth being mentally prepared for. There’s no fuss, no scrabbling for grip; the McLaren just digs in and leaves in a massive hurry. Brain-off use of the accelerator pedal is not recommended, especially in the lower gears.
That said, the twin-turbo engine is predictably flexible, with completely linear delivery of torque and power from idle right up the 8250rpm red line. Although the turbocharged engine note isn’t as melodic as a naturally aspirated engine, engineers have contrived to deliver a surprising amount of induction noise to the ears.
Gearshifts are instantaneous. On part throttle they’re quick but smooth, with seamless reinstatement of torque, as it says on the tin. Flat shifts in Sport mode are a little more uncompromising, delivering a thump in the back and an enthusiastic bark from the engine.