McLaren 720S Raises the Bar for Supercars at Geneva

After a lot of teasing and speculation, the McLaren 720S has been officially unveiled, completely ready to replace the outgoing 650S with a refreshed design and a ton of tech and performance enhancements. Let’s just get this part clear right now — the McLaren 720S is a beauty. It looks devilish up front with its massive sockets around the headlights, something you can’t really appreciate until the lights are fully on at night. They’re dual functioning as air ducts and proving once again that McLaren’s aim is consistently about function as much as it is about design. Blend those ducts with the channels in the doors, remove the side intakes we’re accustomed to from previous-generation McLarens and you’ll see that cooling efficiency is still up 15 percent. Read the social chatter around the 720S and you’ll see many, including current McLaren P1 owners, are saying this is one of the best McLaren designs to date, second only to the F1.

Bold statements being thrown out left and right but the McLaren 720S is backing them up in stride. The side profile shows a good bit of those ducts that house the LED headlights while giving some attention to the air being channeled through the double-skin shape of the butterfly doors. The attention then shifts to the rear where the hydraulic wing extends the entire width of the 720S and acts as an air brake with the rear diffuser helps to increase downforce. Look to the back for twin exhausts and a string of engine air intakes right atop the fender, helping to delivering additional aero support while the wing is fully active. And if the wing’s a full go, McLaren’s assuming you’ll need to stop eventually so they’ve pulled some F1 tech to brake the inside rear wheel to reduce understeer and transfer power to wherever there’s greater traction. Let’s. Go.

As with the 650S and all other McLarens really, this mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive two-seater is all about the driver. Approaching the McLaren 720S kicks off the “Welcome Sequence”, which unfolds the mirrors, lights the indicators and courtesy lights, illuminates the engine bay and highlights the McLaren logo atop the engine in a red light. Step inside and you’ll notice the fronts seats are pushed back from the dash a bit while there’s some space behind the driver and passenger for small bags and whatnot. The infotainment screen comes in the form of an eight-inch display which allows you to control everything from audio and media to navigation and mood lighting. We’ve loved it in previous McLarens and this one, along with other controls, looks to be slightly tilted towards the driver in traditional McLaren fashion. Pick from one of three drive modes (comfort, sport, and track) that will adjust to the level of adrenaline you feel like pumping. Decide to go fast and the Folding Driver Display hides away with essential info showing up on the thin side to avoid taking up your field of view. Impressive.

Early info says this car’s going to be a lot more comfortable than the 650S, allowing you to driving it on a regular basis with ease. The hyper-light carbon-fiber chassis that underpins the McLaren 720S ensures a low curb weight, something the engineers at Woking are continuously working to improve. A lot of the components have shed pounds, making this McLaren roughly 40 pounds lighter than its predecessor. The performance figures tell just a part of this supercar’s story but they’re worth noting. the 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 churns out 710 traditional horsepower (720 metric horsepower) and 568 lb-ft of torque. Mate that to a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission and the 720S is another member of the 2-second club with a 0 to 60mph time of 2.8 seconds.

You can actually configure your own McLaren 720S now through the British automaker’s website. You’ll notice the 720S comes with a ton of customization options with a wide range of colors and wheels to change from. You can even pick from various carbon fiber trimmings and a slew of tech edits. The list includes a Bowers & Wilkins sound system, parking sensors, a reverse camera, and 360-degree park assist. And if that’s not enough, then you can partner with McLaren Special Operations to build your 720S virtually from scratch and without a detail overlooked.

Check out the McLaren 720S in the gallery above and look for deliveries to begin this May.


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