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 flavor, 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 fiber wheels and aluminum swingarm (it only weighs 434 pounds), the S1000RR produces 204 horsepower at 13,500 RPM 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. Weighing just around 1,300 pounds, the bareboned sports car can do wonders with a 320-hp 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-liter twin-turbocharged engine that churns out 710 hp 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