The McLaren 720 S is positioned in the exclusive and very fast world of mid-engined berlinettas, whose price is around 250,000 euros. Its direct competitors are born in Emilia and configure a challenge made up of design and performance. The first is very original and the second are of an absolute level, as the name of the car explains, which is, quite simply, referring to power. The 4-liter V8-biturbo, in fact, has 720 hp and 770 Nm of torque, without using any type of electrification.
Given the dry weight of just 1,283kg, it’s no wonder this McLaren takes just 2.9 seconds to sprint from 0-100km / h, and 7.8 seconds to hit 200km / h. Incredible numbers, which are practically impossible to verify during our test drive in the hills around Geneva. The narrow and busy roads, the very strict Swiss speed limits and the incessant bad weather have only given us a glimpse of what the berlinetta made in Woking is capable of.
Most surprisingly, the McLaren 720S is simple to use in the city. Getting into the driver’s seat is the most complex part, since it is practically at the level of the asphalt. In addition, the door that opens and rotates upwards requires a minimum of contortion. But once you are seated in the very thin (carbon) shell seat, the spaciousness of the passenger compartment leaves you astonished, as does the visibility defined by the large glass surfaces: the driver has 306 ° of visibility at his disposal. The 7-speed double clutch gearbox, which becomes lightning-fast in the most exasperated use, also knows how to be fluid in the urban one and for this Geneva is an excellent test bed, given the quantity and density of traffic lights.
Even the steering wheel becomes light, and it is a pleasure to touch the Alcantara-coated crown that does not exceed in thickness. The only annoyance given by the racing soul of the 720S is the feeling of the brake pedal: when the carbon ceramic discs are cold, the modulation in stop and go is poor.
Furthermore, the hardness of the pedal, which is very popular and gives sensitivity in busy driving, becomes tiring in the city, when you have to keep it pushed to stay still in the queue. But the 720S was certainly not born for this use. So, as soon as we have the opportunity, we step on the right pedal and let the tachometer needle go up. The thrust is immediate and impetuous, it attacks the seat like few others. Concentration must be kept high and the steering wheel without any command helps a lot in this, apart from the balance wheel to manage the gearbox. The paddles are connected, like those of Formula 1, so theoretically you can only use the right one by pulling to upshift and pushing to downshift. Essentiality, for McLaren, is a philosophy.
Thus the knobs and buttons for adjusting the car’s behavior are all on the center console, next to the small screen of the infotainment system. The upper knob adjusts the trim and dynamic controls, the lower one adjusts the response of the engine and gearbox.
The instrumentation is also very original. In the standard position, the digital panel provides all the indications, while in the “rotated” position only the speedometer, the gear indicator and the bar tachometer indicator remain. To see them all, regardless of the gear engaged, you need a certain courage and also the right asphalt strip.
In fact, when you exceed 8,000 rpm, the eight-cylinder is still pushing like crazy and to explore all its madness you need the right conditions. Luckily the braking is just as decisive. In addition to the mechanical action of the discs there is also the aerodynamic action of the rear wing; the sum of the two leads to decelerations in the order of 1.3 g. Again, numbers not suitable for the faint of heart. But the 720 S recipe is a winner, as evidenced by its success within the Woking range. She is the one who accounts for half of all McLaren sales.
McLaren 720S, the card
What is that: in the range of British sports cars, the 720S belongs to the Supercar series, which is halfway between the GT and the Ultimate Series
Dimensions: length 4.54 meters, width 1.94 m, height 1.20 m, pitch 2.67 m
Trunk: 150 liters in the front compartment + 210 liters behind the seats
Motor: 4-liter turbocharged, 8-cylinder 90 V, maximum power 720 HP at 7,250 rpm, maximum torque 770 Nm at 5,500 rpm.
Exchange: 7-speed double clutch
Benefits: performance, design, technology, exclusivity
Defects: brake feeling, obsolete infotainment
Production: Woking, England
Prices: The McLaren 720S starts at 266,500 euros, while for the Spider version it goes up to 293,000 euros