It might seem like an oxymoron to talk about a “well-rounded” supercar, but that’s exactly what McLaren set out to build with their latest model, the 720S. They wanted to build a car that’s faster than the outgoing 650S, but also more practical and easier to drive on an everyday basis. And from what we can tell, that’s exactly what they’ve done.
When you think of a “well-rounded” supercar, the first that comes to mind will likely be some variation of the Porsche 911. The reason being is that you could drive it every day to work, and then take it out to the track on the weekends and lay down lightning quick lap times. Porsche has been the undisputed king of this particular segment of supercars for quite some time, but according to countless reports on the 720S that title might be changing hands.
The 720S made its debut a few months back and at first, there were mixed feelings regarding the overall looks of the car, myself included. However, the more you see it the car grows on you at a rapid rate. A lot of the things that first appear to be quirky and unnecessary end up being creative and almost beautiful after learning more about it. For example, the front end with those gaudy looking headlights and the holes beneath them. Those holes are designed for force feed air directly into the radiators to keep the massively powerful car from overheating. Same thing applies to the many different inlets located along the side of the car. All of which come together to bring the cooling efficiency down 15% over its predecessor, the 650S. It also plays a major part in the aerodynamic efficiency of the car to keep it planted when it needs to.
As a reminder, the new 720S has a mid-mounted 4.0L twin turbo V8 that produces a whopping 720hp and 568lb-ft of torque and it appears to be spectacular. It’s lightning fast with a 0-60 time of just 2.9 seconds and an even more impressive 0-100mph time of just 5.5 and can top out at 212mph. But not only is it fast, it’s also incredibly smooth which is not normally the case with high boost turbo motors. It’s not quite as smooth as a naturally aspirated engine and you can still feel the immense power surge from the boost kicking in, but it’s reported to be extremely manageable while also maintaining that level of ferocity McLaren’s have become known for.
Having a spectacular drivetrain is only part of the equation the makes up a “well-rounded” supercar. It also needs to handle like it’s on rails no matter where it is or what surface it’s driving on. And that is exactly what the 720S is said to be. On the track, it’s supposed to be nearly as fast as the heavily track focused 675LT, which is really saying something considering the 675LT is an absolute beast. But being fast on the track is something that’s almost become expected from McLaren and according to reports, there is a 720LT in the works that should turn out to be spectacular as well. And when the 570S and 570GT came out McLaren proved that they could also make an extremely comfortable road car as well and it appears as if the 720S is the perfect combination of both.
Being that it’s a McLaren, there’s also a fair amount of electronics involved with the 720S. It has multiple driving modes that range from the standard comfort setting for everyday driving all the way to a variable drift control. The latter of which is actually pretty awesome in my opinion. How I understand it, you can manually adjust what level of “driftability” you want the car to have. If you’re just learning or getting used to the car, you can set it to only let you kick the rear end to a certain angle for before electronic nannies come in to save the day. If you’re a seasoned pro you can completely disable any interference from the car and will give full control to the driver to do as they please.
As you can see, the 720S has all the proper boxes checked so far and that leaves only one thing and that’s the overall ease and drivability. One of the most frustrating things about supercars is the visibility, or usually the lack thereof. But thanks to the redesigned monocoque 2 and A, B, and C pillars the 720S provides unrivaled visibility in all angles. It almost gives you the impression of riding in a “bubble top” car without the ridiculous looks. Granted that might seem unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but if you’re looking for a supercar that you can drive day in, day out, on your daily commute or just down to the grocery store you’ll want to be able to see right? Especially driving a car with a price tag just under $300,000.
As some of you may already know, I’m kind of a sucker for McLaren and I’ll be the first to admit there might be some unintentionally biased opinions about them. However, I know I’m not the only one to feel that way about the 720S. I’d also like to mention that I have a great deal of respect for Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and most other supercar manufacturers, and love them almost equally, so in the end it all comes down to the car itself, not any one person’s opinion of it. And the McLaren 720S is one spectacular machine.