IN my previous life, I used to design pages of The Sun that didn’t necessarily have cars on them.
One story was about a killer Colombian spider found in a bunch of bananas.
I remember it because Mrs Rose, from Tunbridge Wells, phoned in to complain the life-size picture nearly sent her to hospital with heart attack.
As it happens, fear of spiders is Britain’s number one phobia.
From that point on, The Sun had a policy to issue a warning if there’s anything creepy or scary on the following page.
I have done my due diligence and put an alert on Page 39 but I make no apologies for printing a giant spider in this column. Actually, make that two.
The gold one is called the McLaren 720S Spider and the orange one is the McLaren 600LT Spider, and you won’t be the least bit surprised to learn that they’ve got serious bite.
Let’s start with the 720S Spider.
It’s just as incredible as the 720S coupe in terms of performance: 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, 0-124mph in 7.9 and two postcodes before you know it.
But perhaps even more exhilarating and satisfying, when you’ve got that 720hp V8 indulging your lugholes. There’s no need for a stereo in this car, put it that way.
Top speed is 212mph roof up — and an extraordinary 202mph roof down, which is the equivalent of a free facelift.
Other things to note. It has the fastest roof folding mechanism in the supercar world (11 seconds). Of course it does. It’s a McLaren. As well as being the lightest car in class by some distance. As well as having the coolest folding driver display. It also has gearshift tech adopted from F1. A momentary cut of the ignition spark allows for faster downshifts in Sport mode.
The Track mode ensures uninterrupted acceleration by employing the built-up kinetic energy of the flywheel to deliver an impulse of torque as the next forward gear is engaged.
But aside from its monstrous capabilities, the 720S Spider is just as pleasing to the eye.
You just want to drive it over the horizon and into the sunset.
Now let’s run the rule over the 600LT Spider.
After day one of this twin test in Arizona, I told myself I’d buy a 720S Spider should my ship come in.
McLaren Senna aside, obviously.
But then I drove the limited-for-a-year 600LT Spider and I immediately decided I’d have that instead, even though it is £36,000 cheaper.
Oh my days. What a car. This is more stripped-out racer. More extreme.
Lovely top-mounted flame-spitting exhaust. Fixed rear wing. Stiffer anti-roll bars. And a chassis fit for dancing. Most definitely worthy of the famous Longtail name.
The engineering monks at McLaren tell me that every 100kg saved is the equivalent of 60hp, as well as five per cent more cornering grip, as well as better braking.
Quick maths. This is 100kg lighter than the 570hp 570S Spider it is based on, plus 30hp because it is 600hp, so that’s the equivalent of 90hp.
But just as impressive as its wild performance, the 600LT Spider can slow from 124mph to zero in just 121 metres. That’s only five metres more than a P1.
To sum up then, there’s no antidote for any McLaren Spider. Try one and you’ll be trapped in Woking’s web.
KEY FACTS – McLAREN 720S SPIDER
Engine: 4-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 720hp, 770Nm
0-62mph: 2.9 secs
0-124mph: 7.9 secs
Top speed: 212mph
KEY FACTS – McLAREN 600LT SPIDER
Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 600hp, 620Nm
0-62mph: 2.9 secs
0-124mph: 8.4 secs
Top speed: 201mph
HE wants a hot hatch, she wants an SUV.
He wants a Golf R, she wants a T-Roc.
Stop arguing, you dafties, and get a T-Roc R.
It’s 300hp, 4WD and can box off 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds, leaving a Porsche Cayman in its rear-view mirrors.
Top speed is 155mph. VW has also added race mode, launch control, quad exhausts and a traction control system that can be disengaged, as in crash-slidey-off. Sounds fun.
Prices from £36,000 to match the same-but-different Audi SQ2 and Cupra Ateca.
Note: To avoid gender stereotyping, please swap he/she for she/he or he/he or she/she, as you like in the opening paragraph.
You XE thing
The Jaguar XE was always a beautiful drive, but now it’s the total package it should have been[/caption]
It’s fair to say the XE hasn’t done the numbers Jaguar bosses had hoped. Brilliant to drive but the bang-average interior couldn’t hold a candle to anything from Audi, Mercedes and BMW.
Now we have the facelifted XE, which is the car it should have been all along. The cabin is brimful and overflowing with tech such as twin touchscreen, 12.3in digital driver’s display and a smart rear-view mirror that doubles as an HD screen for a rear-facing camera.
It also gets new soft-touch materials, premium veneers and a gearshift selector nicked from the F-Type. Tip-top. Prices from £33,915.
MOST READ IN MOTORS
You’d buy a Tesla if A) You love tech and/or B) You’re a speed hound. You’d buy a Volvo if C) You love Scandi design and/or D) You want something safer than a padded cell.
Now you can have all of the above in the Polestar 2, an all-electric fastback with vegan interior, Google interface, upended iPad, phone-as-key technology and a throughly modern subscription rental service. Quick? Very.
It’s 408hp, AWD and bangs out 0-62mph in less than five seconds. Range: 300 miles. Price: From £40,000. On sale: Early 2020. Cancel that Tesla Model 3.