It was only a matter of time before the McLaren 720S got its roof chopped off. All supercars seem to eventually do that. In photos, the rear visibility on the 720S seems like it would be horrible because its designers included a head fairing-type design, the hump or humps you sometimes see behind the seats of a convertible like the Jaguar D-Type. But McLaren’s engineers were smarter than that and solved the visibility problem before it was even became a problem at all.
Cars that have big head fairing designs are often striking to look at, but a pain in the ass to actually use. The Mazda Miata RF is probably the worst offender currently on the market. From the driver’s seat, you can hardly see anything if you turn your head and look over your shoulder to change lanes.
The 720S Spider has both head fairings and buttresses in the rear (to aid with rollover protection structure and aerodynamics), but here’s the thing—those buttresses are actually made of darkened panes of glass. So while they are functional, they also don’t inhibit over-the-shoulder visibility because they’re clear.
Here are some numbers from McLaren’s press release about the glass, if you’re curious:
During the test and development phase of the 720S Spider, advancements made by the design and engineering team led to the thickness of the glass being reduced from an initial 0.2 in (3.85 mm), to just 0.1 in (3.15 mm). This saved an additional 1.1 lb, from a crucial position above the center of gravity.
So, if McLaren hadn’t done that, I’d probably climb into the Spider and complain loudly about not being able to see anything out of it because visibility matters very much to me. And now I don’t have to because the issue was dealt with immediately.
Did McLaren have to do this? Not at all. It could have easily used an opaque piece of carbon fiber or aluminum to craft those buttresses. But instead, they are see-through. It’s a very considerate feature.
Keep an eye on this space for the full 2019 McLaren 720S Spider first drive review, coming soon.
(h/t to Matt Farah’s Instagram!)