BBC Autos

In Geneva, McLaren lops top off of its 650S

HIDE CAPTION

In an entirely expected turn of events, McLaren has showed the Spider version of its new 650S at the Geneva motor show.

And boy is it a radical departure from the coupe. It's got... no, only joking, it's just as you would expect, mechanically identical but with the addition of a two-part folding hardtop that either hides or shows itself in 17 seconds at up to 19mph.

The similarities are worth dwelling on, though, because, thanks to McLaren's carbon chassis, the coupe and Spider are far more closely related than other hard top/soft top siblings. Both use an identical “Monocell” with all the strength in the tub, so the biggest difference between the pair is the extra 40kg of weight required for the Spiders roof motors and covers.

That means the Spider is every bit as quick as the coupe. Zero to 62mph takes an identical 3 seconds, and at 124mph the 40kg of weight has exacted a penalty of just 0.2 seconds, with 8.6 seconds playing 8.4. The Spider will hit 204mph all out, the loss of 3mph to the coupe presumably attributable to the aero turbulence caused by the upright rear window. The economy figures of 24.2mpg and 275g/km are identical.

McLaren makes no mention of any changes to the suspension, but does point out that this particular shade, Tarocco Orange, is a new one. The engine? Well, the 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 still develops 641 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque of course and, if McLaren is to be believed, the 650S does feel noticeably quicker than the 12C. And yes, the 12C is still on sale. As far as I can work out the only reason you'd want one over a 650S is because you didn't think the P1 nose graft has worked that well here, which, to be frank, it hasn't.

But even so it would be hard to tick the 12C box instead of the 650S given not only the small but significant changes that seem to have been wrought, but also the improved standard kit. The Spider gains carbon ceramic brakes, DAB radio, Pirelli Corsa tyres, wireless tethering and Alcantara upholstery. The price rise does lift the 650S Spider beyond the £200k mark though – it costs £215,250 before you've indulged in the options list.

This story originally appeared on TopGear.com.