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Along came two Spiders — from McLaren

Cars like the 600LT and 720S are hard to top, so McLaren resorted to roofless measures.

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The 600LT Spider (above) has the same explosive performance as its coupe counterpart.

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The 720S Spider (above) is a beautiful piece of art in motion that looks like nothing else on the roads.

Scottsdale, Arizona

IT'S hard to top an act like the 600LT, but McLaren has managed it, namely by lopping its top off.

That gives you the 600LT Spider, and if you reckon the drop-top format makes it a poseur's sports car, you might want to think again; the Formula One racing cars that sit at the pinnacle of motorsports are open-top cars in essence, after all.

They are also built around a lightweight and very strong carbon fibre tub, just like the carbon fibre MonoCell II tub found in the McLaren 600LT.

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McLaren reserves the "LT" label for its lightened, visceral, track-ready cars, just like Porsche's cult RS models. It's derived from the F1 GTR "Longtail" of 1997, a car that scooped up race wins by the fistful.

The Spider differs from its coupe counterpart only insofar as the retractable hard-top is concerned. Beyond that, it has the same explosive twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8, an identical 2.9-second 0-100km/h time, sexy dihedral doors and funky functional top-exit tailpipes.

As hardcore as the 600LT coupe is, the Spider is no softie. If anything, the car's ability to attack the track (or your favourite winding roads) with the roof down lets you enjoy an even more intense driving experience. It's one that sees your senses satisfyingly savaged by the sights and sounds associated with McLaren's intimate knowledge of the science of speed.

Yet, what's always been clear with the LT models is that McLaren understands that speed is only part of the equation. Passionate drivers need to enjoy the "feels" as well, and the 600LT Spider delivers it in spades, especially with such analogue thrills in a digital age getting harder to come by.

Like the coupe version, it is 100kg lighter than its counterpart (the 570S Spider), and feels it when you're pushing hard. There's a razor-keen eagerness to the steering and a dainty agility to the chassis that makes it intuitive to drive hard, especially as you adjust the car's angle of attack with the throttle pedal, playing with the shift of weight between the front and rear of the car.

Roof-down, you'll enjoy the driving experience in all its full-bodied ferocity.

From the 600LT Spider's massive hit of adrenaline, we moseyed over to the latest Super Series convertible, the gorgeous 720S Spider.

We did wonder if McLaren made a mistake in launching its 325km/h (that's with the roof down; roof up, it'll clear 340km/h) model in the States, what with 105km/h speed limits for most roads here. The 720S Spider takes just 2.9 seconds to dispatch the sprint to 100km/h, after all.

But the USA is a big market for McLaren, and more importantly, the restraint slowed us down to enjoy the sights and sounds of a slightly different nature, because there's nothing like stopping to smell the flowers every now and again.

The 720S is a beautiful piece of art in motion that looks like nothing else on the roads, and its otherworldly looks segue perfectly into Arizona's otherworldly landscape.

There's a righteous fury to the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 720S coupe, but this was a different experience that demonstrated the Spider's ability to be driven in sanguine fashion, as its pliant Proactive Chassis Control II soaked up and coped with the diverse breadth of surfaces covered.

The lightweight, hard-top roof takes just 11 seconds to open or close, and can be deployed when the car is travelling at speeds of up to 50km/h. That makes for quite the spectacle, especially with something as exotic looking as this to begin with. Come to think of it, a bit of posing here and there never hurt anyone.


McLaren 600LT Spider

Engine 3,799cc, V8, twin-turbocharged
Power 600hp at 7,500rpm
Torque 620Nm at 5,500-6,500rpm
Gearbox 7-speed SSG dual-clutch
0-100km/h 2.9 seconds
Top Speed 324km/h (roof-up) /315km/h (roof-down)
Fuel Efficiency 12.2L/100km
Agent Eurokars Supersports
Price S$889,000 without Certificate Of Entitlement
Available Now

McLaren 720S Spider

Engine 3,994cc, V8, twin-turbocharged
Power 720hp at 7,500rpm
Torque 770Nm at 5,500-6,500rpm
Gearbox 7-speed SSG dual-clutch
0-100km/h 2.9 seconds
Top Speed 341km/h (roof-up) /325km/h (roof-down)
Fuel Efficiency 12.2L/100km
Agent Eurokars Supersports
Price From S$1,085,000 without Certificate Of Entitlement
Available Now