Everything you need to know about the McLaren 720S
Brief yourself on the 720S’s crazy performance before Chris Harris tests it
What is it?
It’s the latest McLaren Super Series car – the heartland of McLaren’s range. The 720S is also something new for McLaren – it’s the first time the company has directly replaced a car in its range. The 12C morphed into the 650S and was spectacularly concluded with the lighter 675LT. The 720S however is almost completely new. And manages to be even faster than the ‘Longtail’…Advertisement - Page continues below
What engine is in the McLaren 720S?
It’s codenamed the M840T, which literally means McLaren V8 4.0-litre turbo. And that’s about the size of it. McLaren says 70 per cent of the new 4.0-litre engine’s components are new versus the older 3.8-litre engine. It’s twin-turbocharged, and the outputs rip up the rulebook for this class of supercar. As the name suggests, the motor develops 720PS (710bhp) at 7,500rpm and a towering 568lb ft at 5,500rpm.
How fast is the McLaren 720S?
Unholy fast. Perhaps too fast. McLaren claims – and we’ve verified – 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds. The top speed is 212mph. Inbetween, the 720S annihilates the likes of the Ferrari 488 GTB and Lamborghini Huracan. It’s so fast, when we strapped the Top Gear timing gear to it, the new Super Series recorded speed runs as near as dammit quicker than the mighty McLaren P1 super-hybrid. That’s the pace of progress at Woking.Advertisement - Page continues below
Tell me about the McLaren 720S’s tech
Like the 650S, the 720S rides on a set of crosslinked hydraulic dampers which can transfer high-pressure fluid laterally and longitudinally across the car to keep it level in the corners, stable under the brakes, but slackened off on bumpy roads for uncanny ride comfort. McLaren’s also integrated a Variable Drift Control mode into the traction safety net, which allows you to choose how much angle you want from your drift before the car saves you.
Then there’s the rotating instrument binnacle, which automatically retracts into a narrower display mode when you’re in Track Mode, to help you focus on the rapidly approaching apex. This is McLaren at its best, proving cutting edge go-faster tech and a sense of humour can go hand in hand.
How much is the McLaren 720S?
It’s £208,600, which is a chunk more than the likes of the ‘basic’ Lambo Huracan, Ferrari 488 GTB and Porsche 911 Turbo, but on a par with the Huracan Performante, 488 Pista and 911 GT2 RS, which have performance more local to the McLaren’s insane speed. There are many carbon options available for the 720S that send its price rocketing. And if you’re a kid of the 1990s and want a supercar that looks like it’s been tie-dyed, you can spec the Velocity edition with its strange two-tone paint. It’ll set you back a hefty £335,000.
Tell me something interesting about the McLaren 720S
There’s a silly start-up Easter egg hidden in the car’s systems. Here’s how it works. Drop inside, press the engine start button to wake up the car, but don’t press the brake pedal. You don’t want the V8 to start yet.
Now, press the Active button and turn both switches into Track Mode. Now hold the brake down and start the engine. The engine will blare into life with a big flourish of revs, fire a dollop of petrol into the exhaust and ignite it, which emits a very loud CRACK sound. It’s not big or clever, but it shows McLaren can do supercars that aren’t just mind-scramblers. Well done Woking.