Driven: 2017 McLaren 720s Review
You can only imagine the sheer joy we felt at being invited to test out the latest McLaren has to offer – the 720s.
What’s the McLaren 720s All About?
While designed to fit in with McLaren’s Super Series range, the 720s is in a class of its own. It’s just one step down from the famous P1, and all the lessons McLaren learned from that model have been transferred into this supreme sports car.
The 720s truly is a superb-looking supercar. Coming from the Super Series, you wouldn’t really expect anything less. The model we got our hands on came with a stunning Glacier White paint job. McLaren sure haven’t skimped on the super sporty look with this one. Smooth curves, sharp edges and stunning detailing combine together to create this worthy addition to the Super Series. The sleek design and powerful performance certainly don’t leave you wanting for much. Although the 720s is currently only offered as a coupé, it’s not unrealistic to assume a Spider is on the way.
Sporting a massive 4.0-litre V8 twin turbo engine, the 720s can reach 0-60 mph in an impressive 2.8 seconds. The engine pumps out 710 bhp (720 PS) and 770 Nm of torque. On a straight, it can hit a hefty 212 mph. Aided by a Seamless Shift 7-speed gearbox and masses of aerodynamic efficiency, the 720s is one serious supercar.
How Does it Drive?
If you want more bang for your buck, as it were, the McLaren 720s is the way to go. It is quite possibly the best driving experience you can buy for this amount of money. The interior is well designed, with the steering wheel and pedals placed directly in front of the driver. Fitted with a new carbon-fibre tub, the 720s is much easier to get into than the 650s – the door sills have become smaller and part of the roof now removes itself as the doors open. As soon as you punch the start button, the ferocious V8 bursts to life, sparking off your adrenaline in the process. Pressing the D button automatically puts the car into first gear, releases the handbrake, and you’re good to go. It’s no lie that getting into the 720s and getting on the road couldn’t be more simple.
Perhaps the first thing to notice about this car is its flat out, straight line performance. It’s simply monstrous. 0-124 mph takes a staggeringly short 7.8 seconds. 0-186 mph isn’t far behind at just 21.4 seconds. When you’re behind the wheel of this beast, it accelerates faster than you can respond. It simply wants to go. Once at the top of the rev range, the gear shifts, and the relentless acceleration begins again. All this acceleration is aided by a zero turbo lag and solid power from the idle RPM.
The McLaren lets you decide how you want to drive. Depending on the road or track, you have almost complete control over how harsh or soft things become. Ride quality all round is top class for a supercar of this stature. Even with the car on the soft side, you’re still hunkered down to the ground, making cornering a breeze.
If you’re feeling brave, put the McLaren into Sport mode; it’s exciting, dramatic, and honestly quite breathtaking. For me, it’s quite probably the most fun you can have behind the wheel without scaring yourself half to death.
The 720s has huge high spec brakes as standard, giving it awesome stopping power. McLaren have finely tuned the brake pedal feel in the 720s; it’s very hard, and the brake modulation is consistent throughout the range. This advanced adjustment actually plays a big part in your overall awareness of what the car is doing at all times, allowing you to feel everything through the wheel and pedals. The 720s also has active aerodynamics and a rear air brake, so if you hit the brakes hard, a near vertical spoiler emerges at the rear for additional braking power. Considering the McLaren isn’t a plane, this is a little unconventional, but also a great feature that really adds to the sporty feel of the model.
So the McLaren 720s clearly has top-shelf supercar performance. It’s a prime example of just how far the manufacturers have come since the launch of the P1 over 5 years ago. It’s a superb supercar that fulfils all of your petrolhead needs at a fraction of the cost of other models.
What’s it Like Inside?
Visibility, both front and back, is exceptional. The interior adopts a minimal design concept, with emphasis placed on the race-like feel. The interior leather wrap does add a level of luxury to this car, however – it feels like a premium model both inside and out.
The dials and the steering wheel are very well designed and have a special look and feel about them. The 720s features a portrait entertainment system that is neatly housed in the central console in the car. Underneath that, you’ll find the control buttons for the system, and a lovely bright red start button, then D, N and R for putting the car in gear.
However, by far the most impressive thing inside the 720s is in the boot; the 4.0 litre V8. There is a mesh window on the rear section of the car so you can look in from time to time and make sure it’s still there.
One thing is for certain. The McLaren 720s definitely delivers. In fact, it exceeds the usual supercar experience. One glance at the exterior makes it clear that this car means business. It’s a mean, lean, racing machine that’s just raring to go. Sitting just inches from the ground, it’s a beastly model that’s always ready to pounce. Getting into any car with butterfly doors always feels impressive, and is a constant reminder that you’re going to experience something different to most cars.
While simple to use for the average driver, the 720s also offers a challenge to the more experienced, making it a sound choice for any consumer looking for a fierce drive.
The McLaren 720s is quite possibly the ultimate supercar package. It’s beautifully designed, perfectly engineered and brilliantly well packaged together. We knew McLaren had done a great job moving from nothing less than 10 years ago to a car as good as the 720s, but who would have thought it would have been this good?
- Price: £218,020
- Engine: 4.0-litre V8 Twin Turbo
- Power: 710bhp
- Torque: 770Nm
- Transmission: 7 Speed Dual clutch – Seamless Shift
- 0-60mph: 2.8 Seconds
- 0-124mph: 7.8 Seconds
- Top speed: 212 mph
- Weight: 1,282 kg (Lightest Dry Weight)
- Economy combined: 26.4 mpg
- CO2: 249 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley