When McLaren unveiled the 650S as successor to their first supercar, it was really just a facelifted MP4, albeit a delightful one. The new McLaren 720S they’ve unveiled at the Geneva Motorshow is a completely new model – and McLaren’s first proper effort at entirely replacing its first supercar.
Like its predecessors and current stablemates, the new McLaren 720S is built around a carbon tub, with a now 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 mounted behind two seats, driving the rear wheels. The engine also gets new twin-scroll turbochargers and lighter internal components – 41 percent of which have been replaced from the previous version. Naturally output has increased, with the McLaren 720S producing a staggering 529kW, blowing the 488GTB and Huracan Performante out of the water.
McLaren have also worked to improve the power-to-weight ratio with the 720S benefiting from a lighter monocoque chassis and other weight-reduced components that keep the lightest dry weight down to 1283kg, and the curb weight (with fluids) to 1,419kg – 100kg+ lighter than the 488 or Huracan.
The McLaren 720S also gets a swathe of tasty new tech including a Folding Driver Display and “welcome sequence” which deploys the mirrors, sweeps up the indicator lights, switches on welcome lights, and illuminates the engine bay as the driver approaches. There’s a Variable Drift Control system (ostensibly like the Drift Mode in the Ford Focus RS), and a reprogrammed Proactive Chassis Control II system based on algorithms researched at the University of Cambridge.
From the 650S the McLaren 720S retains the quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the precise electro-hydraulic power steering, hard-gripping carbon-ceramic brakes, brake steer system, and the magnetorheological damper that does away with traditional anti-roll bars.
The resulting performance figures are epic, to say the least, producing a 0-100km dash of 2.9 secs, a quarter mile of 10.3 secs and a top speed of 340km/h.
Building on what was already the most poised road car I’ve ever driven, the McLaren 720S is sure to be the brand’s most significant release to date, going far and beyond its predecessor and, when looking at its figures, the competition.