This year’s Geneva Motor show has featured an ensemble of highly anticipated cars from all the major manufacturers. The Daimler group presented the unexpected but very welcome AMG GT Concept and Lamborghini pulled the covers off the new Huracan Perfomante. But undoubtedly, the star of the show has to be McLaren’s latest offering: The 720S.
As is the current trend with supercar makers, with the exception of Lamborghini, recently released high performance cars seem to be visually unappealing: The Bugatti Chiron, the Ferrari 812 Superfast, the Aventador S aren’t very attractive propositions lookswise. Shortly before launch, there was a widely circulated photograph of the 720S which did a great disservice to the final product that the new McLaren is.
Ron Dennis may no longer be the CEO of McLaren Automotive but his DNA still flows through the company’s employees. The 720S has been built almost obsessively and with a keen eye for detail. The most visually striking element of the new McLaren is the deep set lights, buried in the “eye sockets” of the car. They are both functional and aesthetically appealing. There is a groove behind the DRLs(Daytime Running Lights)that funnels air into the radiators upfront. The doors have what McLaren calls a double skin. There is a groove in between the two ‘skins’ which channels air to the radiators that cool the engine. This has been used in place of the slits that graced the 650S and 12C before it.
Picking up the reigns from where the 675LT left off McLaren’s legacy lives on through the 720S. There is a new engine on offer: a twin turbo charged 4.0 litre V8, dubbed M840T, churning out a fearsome 537kw of power at 7500rpm and 770Nm of torque. This rivals the 488 GTB’s 492kw of power and 760Nm of torque. Power is sent to the car’s rear wheels through McLaren’s SSG dual clutxh transmission. This endows the 720S with a claimed acceleration time of 2.9s to 100kph, 7.8s to 200kph and a top speed of 340kph.
McLaren has built the 720s around a new carbon fibre tub known as Monocage 2. This is a further development of Monocage 1 first employed in the P1. The tub features an upper structure connecting the front and rear of the tub. This has not only boosted the structural rigidity of the car but has enabled McLaren to craft thinner c-pillars and feature more glass all round. This not only aids visibility but has helped create a very airy cabin. The dihedral doors encroach into the cars roof adding to the car’s visual drama when opened.
The interior of the 720S is all new featuring a retractable instrument binnacle. This is McLaren’s party piece.When the car is being driven in comfort or sport mode the instrument binnacle rises out of the dash and features a fully digital display. In track mode or at the touch of a button the display retracts into the dash board to reveal a mini display that only shows relevant information such as engine revs, speed and gear engaged. This has been designed with the end goal of giving the driver an unobstructed view out of the car. The center console is now angled towards the driver and the dials that control the chassis and transmission settings have been moved further up.
The 720S’ true rival is the 488 GTB. We would have mentioned the Lamborghini Huracan Perfomante but it seems inappropriate. The Lamborghini has a naturally aspirated V10 which sends power to all four wheels. Both the Ferrari and McLaren feature almost similar capacity engines that are twin turbo charged and both are rear wheel drive only. The 488 can’t hope to match the McLaren for looks this time round but the Lamborghini is close behind.
The 720S is available to pre-order from McLaren dealerships worldwide and will be in show rooms in May this year.