McLaren 720S Review
Car Tested: McLaren 720S Coupe; Road Test No. 1182; Test Location: Germany
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5 crores (est.)
The McLaren 720S is not only faster than its rivals but also looks the part and has a quirky cabin to go along with it
In the recent years, McLaren has emerged as one of the finest car brands in the world. Based in Surrey, England, the company has built its reputation by making supercars that are high on precision and incredible to drive. We had a chance to sample one of their range-topping supercars, the 720S, an arch-rival to cars like the Lamborghini Huracan and Ferrari F8 Tributo. We find out if the 720S really deserves the hype and the title of being the best supercar in the world.
Motor Quest: McLaren was founded in 1985 in England. The company's most popular car, the F1, was revealed in 1992 and since then the supercar maker came instantly in the limelight. Designed by Gordon Murray, the F1 was a revolutionary supercar with 3 seats, a gold-plated engine and the tag of being the fastest car in the world for 13 years! The company also teamed up with Mercedes-Benz and developed the SLR McLaren- one of the most iconic Mercedes-Benz cars of all time. In 2010, McLaren was re-founded as McLaren Automotive. Since 2011, the company has pushed the envelope and raised the bar with every car that they have launched. From their state-of-the-art factory in Surrey, the company has around 14 cars in their portfolio, under three broad categories – Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series.
Exteriors - The 720S is one of those cars that will stop you dead in your tracks. Chances are, even a person with no knowledge about cars would stare, admire and click pictures of the 720S. It is a stunning, futuristic and sensational design to say the least. There's so much going on, in the name of aerodynamics, yet all of it comes together very beautifully. The front of the car has tremendous presence. It is low, yes but that angry front resembles someone shouting "Get out of my way, I'm coming at you in full speed". There are numerous cuts and creases and pathways on the front to ensure the car slices through the air. But it also makes the car look incredibly beautiful, almost a work of art.
The 720S' aerodynamic and space-age design has all the supercar elements including the butterfly doors
Come to the side and the 720S appears as if it was being carved out of a single block of metal. The smooth flowing lines, subtle hints of more aero kit like the cuts on the door and the large alloys look pretty awesome. Despite aerodynamics given a priority, the side profile does not look awkward like it did on the Ferrari 488 GTB. The door handle is neatly tucked away in the air-passage, making it more clutter-free. The wing-mirrors are quite the lookers in their own way. From the back, you get more smooth flowing lines and the taillights resemble those of the McLaren P1 hypercar. We absolutely love the placement of the exhaust and the fact that the engine bay glows red when you unlock the car. How cool is that! The attention to detail is simply mesmerising on this car and we are only getting started. So, safe to say that the 720S is probably one of the sexiest cars on sale at the moment.
Interiors - You need some strength to open those beautiful looking doors. Entering the cabin is not a straight forward affair, as one needs to scoot in. That is only expected from a supercar though. The cabin looks like it is a video game set-up! It looks absolutely phenomenal. The neatly angled dashboard, multiple rotary dials to adjust the suspension, traction control etc, toggle switches for selecting the gear, simple yet high-quality steering wheel, beautifully shaped paddle-shifters, the sense of occasion in here is simply tremendous. Even the usual controls and equipment exude a certain charm. Some quirky features take things to another level.
The instrument cluster can flip down to show only the most essential data while you are out on the race track
Things like the instrument cluster that flips open for a larger screen as you get into the car. This screen gives you a host of information and also incorporates the reversing camera. When you keep the car in 'Track' mode, the screen flips down revealing a thin set-up giving you only the essential info like the gear you are in, the rev counter and the speed. McLaren may have done this to keep the driver-focussed while flying laps on the track. It is so cool the way the instrument-cluster flips in and out with the change of settings. The instrumentation, in any mode, boasts of excellent clarity.
The portrait infotainment screen is sharply angled towards the driver aiding its use while driving. The screen has all your usual functions but we did not find it very intuitive to use. Some practice is essential before you can master it. We loved the rotary dials to control your suspension, steering and traction control. The placement is spot on and the buttons feel built to last. The driving position, in general, is terrific. You feel at ease the moment you step in. The design of the glass area around the door helps in making the cabin feel airier. The seats are comfortable but a little firm. Space isn't lavish, of course, but suffices for most body sizes.
While low on practicality, the cabin is made of up of the finest quality of materials and has a lot of quirky bits
The highlight inside is really the quality of materials. Everything feels like it is built to impeccable standards of excellence. The fit, finish, attention to detail, quality of smaller elements like stalks – all feels brilliantly well done. It almost gives you a sense of being in a luxury car. Even the audio system sounds fantastic. The 720S' interior is amongst the finest we have experienced in a supercar. Our only complaint is that, it isn't practical enough. There is no glovebox and only one cup-holder. Storage space around the back is limited and the boot isn't terribly large.
Performance - Rarely does it happen that an automaker under-quotes the output number on its car but McLaren has done so with the 720S which is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. As the name suggests, it produces 720 PS of power which ideally should be at the crank but here, it's at the wheel, meaning the crank power is upwards of 780 PS! The result? 0-100 km/hr in 2.9 seconds, 0-200 km/hr in 7.8 seconds, 0-300 km/hr in around 20 seconds and a top whack of 340 km/hr, this is a blisteringly quick car even by supercar standards. But making this even more exciting is the fact that there is lag lower down and the mid-range is where the action is as it simply gallops ahead with a sense of urgency and fright which puts the rear wheels in a tizzy.
As soon as the turbos kick in, this McLaren just flies leaving behind a loud and throaty exhaust note
Redline comes close to 7000 RPM and the sound from the motor is pure aural symphony as you climb the revs. Even at start-up, it's so loud that I wonder how it clears sound compliance. The 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox is lightning fast with shifts and there are paddles too which aren't of much use because you simply can't keep up with manual shifts (the gear shifts so fast in automatic mode that a data logger can't keep up). Fuel economy is of little concern in a McLaren but should you care, it will do 2-3 km/l, sipping the highest of high octane gasoline for optimal performance which can only be truly exploited on a race track.
Driving Dynamics - Getting inside the car is a task, it's low but once you are in, you can be a bit confused with the buttons on the centre console. They are of course for the drive modes - one set for traction (including an off button) and the other set for gear shifts. Plus you can deploy the spoiler and engage active aero bits which come handy on a race track. The steering feels heavy and that's because it's a hydraulic unit while giving stellar feel and feedback at higher speeds. The ride quality is nothing to talk about - it's stiff and uncomfortable and not the car you would like to drive over bad roads, especially because of the poor ground clearance (there is a lift function which you have to use almost always).
Ride is brutal but on the flip side, the 720S is very nimble around the corners
Handling is surreal, body roll is an alien concept here with the McLaren 720S offering pinpoint accuracy. Grip levels are so good that you might believe this to be an all-wheel-drive but it's a rear-wheel-drive supercar which channels power in such a stupendous way that it freaks you out yet keeps you in control, this can be credited to the complex ECU controlled hydraulic suspension (no anti-roll bars needed). The brakes on the 720S are stupendously powerful but the feel isn't the best we have encountered on a supercar.
Safety - The 720S gets a carbon-fibre tub which inherently makes it very safe. You get multiple airbags and an advanced traction-control system to ensure you don't get carried away with all that power. The high-speed stability is mighty impressive and this car does inspire a lot of confidence when being driven hard. Safety is truly well taken care of.
Verdict - The McLaren 720S is how a supercar should be. It is ferociously fast, has incredible dynamics, looks like it is from a different planet and is overflowing with tech. Despite being a serious performance machine, the 720S is impressively refined and civilised. The ride quality is astonishingly good and it helps in making this an every-day supercar. It is this sheer breadth of abilities coupled with unreal attention to detail and thirst for perfection is what makes the 720S one of the greatest supercars of our times. Of course, there is a hefty asking price but the biggest put-off is no imminent plans to launch it in India. It is a shame, really and we sincerely pray McLaren brings their line-up to India sooner than later.
* Exquisite and attention-grabbing design
* Feature loaded cabin with great quality all around
* Punchy motor with lightning-fast gearbox
* Magnificent steering and grip levels
What's Not So Cool
* Infotainment system isn't very intuitive
* Low ground clearance
Alternatives: - Lamborghini Huracan, Ferrari 488 Pista, Audi R8 V10 Plus, Porsche GT2 RS, Aston Martin V8 Vantage
McLaren 720S Specifications
* Engine: 3994cc, Twin-Turbo, V8, Petrol
* Power: 720 PS @ 7500 RPM
* Torque: 770 Nm @ 5500 RPM
* 0-100 km/hr: 2.9 seconds
* Top Speed: 340 km/hr
* Transmission: 7-Speed AT
* Fuel Consumption: 2-3 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Tyre Size: 245/35/19 (Front), 305/30/20 (Rear)
* Suspension: Double Wishbone (Front & Rear)
* Brakes: Disc (Front & Rear)
* Safety: 6 Airbags, ABS with EBD, TCS, Variable Drift Control, Hill Hold Assist
McLaren 720S Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4544 mm X 2161 mm X 1196 mm
* Wheelbase: 2670 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 72-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1437 kgs
McLaren 720S Review
McLaren 720S Review
The McLaren 720S is a supercar which is just out of this world thanks to its gorgeous design and the way this car drives. It is a proper enthusiasts’ car and the way it has been built shows how serious McLaren is with attention-to-detail. This car drives amazingly well out on the roads as well as on the tracks and this is definitely one of the best supercars out there.