McLaren 765LT Spider

Such is the rigidity of the car’s carbonfibre structure that very little retuning was required for any of the hardware. In fact, the most significant alteration has been to the calibration of the car’s trademark active rear spoiler, which now has different angle-of-attack strategies to deal with the differing aero pressures from having the roof opened or closed, which is kind of cool.

It all looks very promising on paper, but does it stack up? We’re sent out, roof up, onto the challenging Navara circuit in Spain to start with, and from where we’re sitting, slung low and legs outstretched in typical recumbent McLaren style, the differences between coupé and cabrio are as good as indiscernible. There’s the same deliciously precise and feelsome hydraulically assisted steering, plus the incredible grip and balance that allow you to push harder and faster with every lap. It feels every bit as ferociously fast, too – the LT’s extra grunt and the closely stacked intermediate ratios of its seven-speed transmission allowing it to gobble up straights with the rampant energy of a nuclear reactor experiencing thermal runaway.

As with the coupé, that wider front track promotes stronger turn-in bite for greater mid-corner rotation that allows you to alter your exit angle of dangle at will. You still need to be on your toes when the electronic safety nets are gradually lifted, but no other McLaren is quite as willing to play the fool.

Yet to really experience the Spider’s enhanced appeal, you need to exit the track, lower the roof and head out onto the road, where you can immerse yourself in the sights, smells and surround-sound backing track that all come as standard with alfresco motoring.

This 4.0-litre V8 has never been the most musical of performers, but when your ears are so much closer to its bespoke quad-exit titanium tailpipes, it’s hard not to smile – especially in Sport or Track mode, where the hard-edged mechanical blare is augmented with some theatrical pops and gurgles. You can even continue enjoying the aural onslaught when it’s raining, thanks to the ability to lower the small glass rear window at the touch of a button.

Like the coupé, the ride is just the right side of unacceptably stiff for the road, but it’s also just as engaging and involving. Such is the connection between driver and machine that you don’t have to be driving the LT in extremis to enjoy its finely honed dynamics: the constant stream of messages being fed back to you even when pottering about act as a constant reminder that you are at the wheel of one of the finest driver’s cars to be wheeled out of Woking.


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