Which open-air vehicle is the fastest in a straight-line race?

The feeling of the air combing through your hair as you drive along a mountain pass or a freeway – that's what convertibles offer. These roofless vehicles date back to the very first automobile as the first samples of engine-powered transport on wheels, like the Benz Patent Motorwagen, don't have a roof or even side panels.

Fast-forward to today, convertibles or cabriolets still live on across many brands and names. Even supercars have open-top versions, such as the 720S under the Spider moniker. Just imagine the feeling of driving one of the fastest cars of today without the roof on.

Gallery: McLaren 720S vs BMW S1000RR vs Ariel Atom 4 Drag Race

However, your options for open-air driving doesn't end with convertibles. Motorcycles offer the same feeling, albeit, in a slightly different flavour, as well as the Ariel Atom 4 stripped down sports car. With that in mind, Autocar asked, which is the fastest among the open-air speed machines in the market today? Enter the BMW S1000RR, McLaren 720S Spider, and the Ariel Atom 4 drag race.

Let's crunch their spec sheet numbers below, shall we?

The BMW S1000RR is a superbike that's powered by an inline four-pot engine. Considering its lightweight construction of carbon fibre wheels and aluminium swingarm, the S1000RR produces 204 bhp at 13,500 rom and a max torque of 83 pound-feet at 11,000 rpm.

The Ariel Atom 4, on the other hand, banks on lightweight goodness as well. The bareboned sports car can do wonders with a 320-bhp Honda Civic Type R engine behind its roofless cockpit. Plus, it has a manual transmission. 

Of course, the ultimate vehicle of them all, the McLaren 720S Spider boasts an extremely potent 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine that churns out 710 bhp and 568 lb-ft torque. Understandably, it's slightly heavier than its coupe sibling.

With all these numbers laid out, which do you think would win in a standing quarter-mile and half-mile drag race? Watch the video on top of this page to find out.

Source: Autocar via Youtube