McLaren has released the first image of its upcoming 720S Spider in the run up its December 8th reveal, although it barely shows that the 720hp supercar will get a folding hard top because half of the car is draped in shadow. We've had a go at lightening the image, the result of which you can see at the bottom, but really the only thing we can be certain of are the obvious bits. Like, for example, that the Spider will use the same 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 to offer performance in a similar region to its hard top sibling - 0-62 in 2.9 seconds and a 212mph top speed - just now with the option for your noggin to be exposed to the elements. Further technical details are as yet a secret.
The biggest question for the Spider relates to how the 720S's Monocage II structure will have been affected by the loss of its lid. Of course, the challenge befitting the 720S Spider is greater than that faced by its Monocell-based predecessors for the simple reason that its structural rigidity relies in part on a roof bar. Monocell cars like the 650S Spider had no worry of reduced stiffness because the tub-shaped base never came with a top section. The Monocage design incorporates a T-top-like arm that connects the windscreen and rear section in the 720S.
If the 720S Spider's preview picture is anything to go by, the drop-top supercar won't retain this bar but instead adopt a more conventional folding hard top like its convertible predecessors. Does this mean McLaren's engineers have had to bolster the rest of the Monocage's structure in order to claw back some lost rigidity? We'd assume so, which suggests the 720S Spider might gain a little more weight than we've become accustomed to in convertible McLarens. Then again, with 720hp and 568lb ft of torque, would anyone actually be able to notice?
We'll know more when the car's revealed online in a little over two weeks. Watch this space...