The 720S Spider will arrive nearly two years after the 720S coupe, which went on sale in May 2017. But development of both vehicles began at the same time, in 2013. The product team spent the first two years developing the coupe and the spider in conjunction with each other, Digman said during a presentation.
"What that meant was that any requirement of the spider was built into the base vehicle, requiring zero compromise as we went forward."
Spider development paused in 2015 when McLaren focused on getting the 720S coupe into production. As coupe output began, the brand resumed the spider's development, focusing heavily on the open top's visibility and usability.
That process led to the 720S Spider's retractable hard top, the star of the vehicle's design, aside from its twin-turbo V-8 engine.
Unlike with previous convertibles, McLaren adopted a hard top for the 720S Spider that is electric rather than hydraulic, Digman noted.
Powered by eight electric motors, the top on the 720S Spider can be raised or lowered in 11 seconds, down from 17 seconds for the outgoing model, the 650S Spider. It can be operated at vehicle speeds up to 31 mph.