If MSO’s most recent projects have taught us anything, it’s that there are many more MSO-prepared 720S Spiders around the corner

The McLaren 720S Spider is the roofless version of one of the most revered models in McLaren’s Super Series. McLaren’s Special Operations division (MSO) brought a one-off 720S Spider to the Geneva Motor Show to show off the kind of modifications possible with a run-of-the-mill 720S Spider. The result is a tri-color beast with tons of exposed carbon fiber.

Are we getting to the point when personalization has gone too far? Henry Ford used to say that you could have any color on your Ford Model T as long as the color was black. Now, every luxury manufacturer brags about its "nearly infinite" choices, and depending on how deep are your pockets, each is willing to open before you a whole world of options. The MSO division offers multiple worlds, one for each of McLaren’s models, and the 720S Spider has just joined this exclusive group at the Geneva Motor Show.

  • 2019 McLaren 720S Spider by MSO
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    4.0 L
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    200 mph
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It was inevitable the 720S Spider would get the magic MSO touch

2019 McLaren 720S Spider by MSO
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This McLaren 720S Spider by MSO is an easel to showcase a nice gradation of grey, black, and blue.

Granted, it may be the world’s most powerful easel as it’s powered by a 710 horsepower engine, but we’ll talk hair-raising numbers a little bit later. For now, let’s just take a look at the exterior of this car.

According to McLaren, each aerodynamic appendage on the 720S Spider features the combo of the following three tints: Cerulean Blue, Burton Blue – as used on the McLaren 720S GT3 – and Abyss Black. The combo was given the name "Coriolis" and it took no less than 260 hours to be applied on the car.

2019 McLaren 720S Spider by MSO
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In the front, you’ll notice tints of blue emerging around the edges of the protruding splitter, as well as around the opening of the vertical air inlet just before the front wheel arches. More blue can be found on the walls of the cavities that are dug in the car’s nose where the headlights reside. Also, the frames of the two elongated vents on the hood are covered in the same gradation of paint that goes from pitch black to blue from one side to the other. The exterior rear-view mirrors are blue towards their forward-pointing tip and the paint grows darker approaching the edges.

The same kind of treatment was applied to the rocker panels with the vertical fin-like element that rises from under the door being the perfect place to blend blue and black together. There’s more blue poking out on the side skirt just before the rear wheel arches, surrounding that circular vent that directs air to the rear brakes and also aft of the wheel arches on the short rear overhangs.

In fact, the whole of the rear bumper is painted in "Coriolis." Same goes for the bottom side of the moveable rear wing and the curved surfaces right above the 720S Spider's taillights.

Finally, the alloy 10-spoke wheels are black and sit in front of blue brake calipers. The bulk of the bodywork, though, is painted in Meteorite Grey.

"Aerodynamic innovation is such an integral part of the 720S Spider that using this new paint design to highlight areas that work hard to manage how air flows over the car – literally how the car ‘breathes’ – was the natural approach to take," said Darryl Scriven, MSO Chief Designer at McLaren Automotive. "This is a car that truly merges artistry with the science of aerodynamics." In other words, the folks over at McLaren looked at a CFD rendering of the 720S Spider in a wind tunnel and painted it accordingly, covering the areas that channel air most efficiently. They probably used a render such as this one to help them visualize where the ’Coriolis’ combo should be applied.

2019 McLaren 720S Spider by MSO
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As is the case with any MSO car, this 720S Spider with a number of special parts.

The seamless cover for the one-piece retractable top is wrapped in carbon fiber and there’s more of it on the rear hood, around the exhaust tips, the diffuser, and the B-pillars. The Stealth Pack is also on the car and it adds a darker finish to the exhaust, airbrake mechanism, exterior window frames, and the electrochromic glass of the hardtop - a $10,000 option on its own.

2019 McLaren 720S Spider by MSO
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Inside, Burton Blue Alcantara leather goes in tandem with Jet Black leather and a lot of carbon fiber inserts. The tall doorsills, for instance, are covered in visible carbon fiber. These are the most visible elements of the Monocage II-S, the car’s monocoque chassis. The seatbacks are also covered in carbon fiber and the same material is present on the dash and interior door panels to complete the look.

What’s under those fancy colors?

2019 McLaren 720S Spider by MSO
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With an MSO defined paint job or without one, the 720S Spider is a very capable road car and McLaren's fastest spider.

Due to the stiffness of the Monocage, that in this application no longer features the spine that connects the windshield structure to the back of the chassis, the 720S Spider is almost as heavy as the coupe with the only addition being the hardtop that seats hidden behind a tonneau behind the two flying buttresses in the rear. In all, the car weighs 3,267 pounds, 100 pounds more than the coupe. To put it into perspective, that’s about 200 pounds less than the newly-launched 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster and some 220 pounds more than the Ferrari 488 Pista Spider, which tips the scales at just 3,042 pounds, 220 pounds more than the Pista Coupe (which, in turn, is almost 200 pounds lighter than a standard 488 GTB and little over 100 pounds lighter than the

2020 F8 Tributo

drove one earlier this year and called it "practically the perfect supercar," saying that "there are other fast cars out there, but none have the effortlessness about them that the 720S does." The cost of this effortlessness? Unknown for this one-of-one MSO example but a standard one starts at $306,000 while the ’luxury’ edition tested by R&T has a sticker price of $317,000. That’s about $30,000 less than a Pista Spider though and Ferrari’s striped beast isn’t as practical as the McLaren, nor does it ride over the bumps as smoothly. The Ferrari might be better on a track, but that’s a different discussion altogether.

What other cool 720S MSO models are out there?

2019 McLaren 720S Spider by MSO
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Well, there are plenty. The first is the McLaren 720S Velocity launched in March of 2017. It features a Nerello Red and Volcano Red paint scheme, a carbon fiber engine lid, and special metallic bronze wheels. After this car presented at the Geneva Auto Show basically in tandem with the standard 720S, a wave of MSO models followed.

Take the Atlantic Blue model unveiled precisely one year later that showcases what MSO can do, chiefly through the Atlantic Blue exterior paint and the special wheels, the same ones as on the Velocity but polished on this one. Then there was the 720S Stealth Theme that flew under the radar as a tribute to the Le Mans-winning 1995 McLaren F1 GTR with which it only shared the grey paint. Oh, and let’s not forget the purple MSO 720S that was sold at an auction and raised $60,000 for a children’s charity organization.

A number of Themed models also emerged, such as the Track Theme or the Pacific Theme. These cars feature a cabin that matches the colors used on the exterior for a fluent color combination inside and out. Most recently, in December, McLaren took the wraps off the Spa ’68 Special Edition. Spa ’68 is important to McLaren because then and there the company recorded its first ever victory in the F1 World Championship. Company founder Bruce McLaren drove a Ford/Cosworth-powered McLaren M7A to victory in what was the Belgian Grand Prix after starting from sixth place.

2019 McLaren 720S Spider by MSO
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McLaren 720S Drivetrain And Performance
Engine 4.0-litre twin-turbo V-8
Power 710 HP @ 7,500 RPM
Torque 568 LB-FT @ 5,500 RPM
Transmission 7 Speed SSG
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) 2.8 seconds
0-200 km/h (0-124 mph) 7.8 seconds
Top Speed 212 mph
Weight 2,828 Lbs

Further Reading

2019 McLaren 720S Spider Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

2018 McLaren 720S High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 McLaren 720S.

McLaren 720S Velocity Is The First MSO Special-Edition Super Series High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 McLaren 720S Velocity.

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