McLaren has launched what might be one of its most dramatic cars ever, as well as one of the last ones to use its mighty 4.0-litre turbo V8 engine.
Waiting for the V6 hybrid...
As we wait for McLaren to launch its hybrid V6 powertrain, the British supercar maker is making the most of its venerable V8 (which actually has its roots in a 1990s Nissan Le Mans engine...) and has cranked it up to 765hp and 800Nm of torque. Having already produced a limited number of 765LT coupes with this engine, now it's the turn of the drop-top - the 765LT Spider.
LT stands for Longtail, of course - a name with particular resonance for McLaren, dating back to the F1 GTR Le Mans racers of the late nineties. While the 765LT's bodywork isn't quite so dramatic as that, it is a little longer (by 48mm) than the 720S on which it's based, with much of that extra length built into the active rear wing.
As with all McLarens, that rear wing also pivots forward to act as both an air brake and an aero stabilisation device under heavy braking, and while it does sit down to reduce drag at a cruise, McLaren says that even in the lowest position, it's still producing more downforce than the standard 720S wing. It also helps to draw more hot air out of the engine bay, improving cooling and overall efficiency.
Although longer, the 765LT is actually lighter than the standard 720S Spider, by 80kg at 13,88kg (although that's the DIN weight, not the kerb weight). McLaren claims that's 100kg lighter than its closest competitor, by which we assume they mean the Ferrari F8 Tributo. Some of the weight saving comes from using lighter transmission components, leaning on McLaren's F1 expertise, as well as thinner glass.
It is a fraction heavier than the 765LT coupe, though - buy 49kg, which is almost all in the electric roof mechanism. That roof is all carbon-fibre (natch, this is a McLaren after all) and it actually has slightly better headroom than that of the coupe, thanks to altered windscreen pillars and the lack of a central spine. It can be retracted or put up in as little as 11 secondss.
When you do put it back, there's the titanium quad-exhaust system (also lighter than the standard steel system) to keep you entertained with the machinations of that mighty V8. Thanks to all that oomph, the 765LT Spider will scramble to 100km/h in just 2.8 seconds, and thunder its way to 200km/h in 7.8 seconds - or about the time a good hot hatch takes to find third gear...
25 per cent more downforce
The Longtail rear wing, combined with the rest of the aero package - much more aggressive than that of the standard 720S - gives the 765LT 25 per cent more downforce than the standard car, along with retuned suspension that features increased front track width, lower front ride height and unique software programming for linked-hydraulic Proactive Chassis Control II suspension.
There are also new ten-spoke ultralight forged alloy wheels, which come with bespoke Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo tyres developed especially for the 765LT.
Inside, you get lashings and lashings of carbon-fibre and Alcantara suede, but no air conditioning - it's left out to save weight, but McLaren will put it back in for you if you ask nicely. Same for the audio system.
"As we continue to build the LT sub-brand with the introduction of the new 765LT Spider, it's clear that our customers are increasingly attracted to the Longtail supercar proposition of exhilarating, extreme performance and limited availability. With all 765 examples of the 765LT coupe sold, it's no surprise that as we publicly announce our new LT Spider, production capacity for 2021 is already filled" said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.