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MOTORING

2021 McLaren 720S Spider test drive

Words by Rob Chilton

Rob Chilton realigns his vertebrae to climb inside McLaren’s new Spider

What’s that smudge on the rear view mirror? Oh, it’s hair wax from when I bumped my head on the mirror while clambering into the astonishing McLaren 720S Spider.

Once inside – the eye-catching dihedral door having closed with a thump – the first thing that strikes me is the cockpit. It’s low to the ground, snug and extremely sporty. The dashboard and central console curves around the driving seat and steering wheel, almost rendering the passenger a bystander to the drive. The electronic rectangular instrument panel – which can be flipped into a streamline letterbox racing version at the touch of a button – looks like a motorsport video game.

Controls are, thankfully, pretty easy: two simple knobs for handling and powertrain offer three settings: comfort, sport and track. With the capability to reach 100kmh in 2.9 gut-churning seconds, I’ll stick to comfort, thanks. Reverse, drive and neutral are activated with sturdy push keys.

In Pictures. McLaren 720S Spider

Photos.

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The tight cockpit

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The tight cockpit

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Life in the fast lane

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The view most other cars will see of the Spider

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The view most other cars will see of the Spider

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Bucket seats to hold you in place at chaotic speeds

Lifted

The front end of this carbon fibre beauty can be lowered or raised with a button to navigate speed bumps, which is handy for Dubai; the roof retracts in a lightning fast 11 seconds (perfect for a quick change at a red traffic light), and the back window can be dropped to allow noise from the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine into the car.

The sky roof is transparent but one button sends a charge through the electrochromic glass panel to turn it shady sky blue. The rear spoiler that acts as an airbrake can also be flipped up or down. It’s a muscular, aggressive car that actually works my abs as I corner through Knowledge Village.

It’s not a car to dash to the shops to buy a pint of milk but, as EDGAR’s passenger points out, if you can afford to drop AED 1.2m on a McLaren, then you probably have people to arrange your dairy delivery.

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