This is the kind of thing that I love talking about and bringing to your attention, especially as a fan of McLaren. When the 720S was released at Geneva earlier this year, it raised the bar even higher than the glorious 675LT had set before it. While technically it was a replacement for the 650S, McLaren still used the higher performing 675LT as the benchmark. It received glowing reviews from just about every automotive publication because it was faster, more capable, more comfortable, and arguably the most well-rounded supercar on the market today. Now there are rumors circulating around the automotive world that the 720S might even be better than McLaren led us to believe.
McLaren likes to advertise the cars power output in the name, for example, the 720S has a total of 720PS, or metric horsepower, which equates to 710hp here in the states. Let me just say that again because it rolls so well off the tongue, the 720S has over 700hp, 710 to be exact. That is a monstrous amount of power coming from the 4.0L Twin Turbo V8 and that correlates to some incredible performance numbers such as 0-60 in under three seconds, and a top speed well over 200mph. As powerful as that may be, what if it were actually more powerful than that? What if McLaren was sandbagging the numbers a wee bit?
First I should explain something. When a car manufacturer advertises a horsepower figure, more often than not they are referring to the amount of power coming from the crank. But as you all know, that power has to travel through the transmission and driveline before it actually gets put to the wheels. During that transfer of power, friction and other scientific things are happening which results in a loss of power. It’s usually between 10 and 15 percent once all is said and done, and that gives you the “wheel horsepower,” or “WHP.” And it’s the wheel horsepower that really matters, that’s the actual amount of power that’s propelling the car forward. Tuning shops measure the wheel horsepower using a dynamometer, or dyno for short, and that is what they work tirelessly to increase when trying to add performance to a car.
So theoretically, if the 720S was put on the dyno it should be putting out roughly 640hp to the wheels. But here’s the thing, according to reports coming from BoostAddict, the 720S puts down quite a bit more than that. How much more you ask? Over the three runs, they put down 698.56, 696.40, and 694.07.That is a significant jump over the 640whp that it should have put down.
Let’s assume this is true and the 720S is actually putting 690-699hp to the rear wheels. That would mean that the twin turbo V8 is actually producing closer to 780hp! And since it’s common to see an even bigger percentage of drivetrain loss with the more power you produce, it’s possible that it’s even higher than 780. Assuming you’re following the rest of the car world, you’ll quickly realize that puts the 720S into Ferrari 812 Superfast territory, not to mention leaves it’s direct competition like the Ferrari 488 and even the Porsche GT2 RS in the dust.
You can’t help but wonder how far this conspiracy goes and what other vehicles in the McLaren lineup have also been sandbagged. There are a few reports talking about the 570S putting down 532whp, even though it was rated at 562hp. Granted that’s not as much of a difference as the one claimed on the 720S, but it’s a difference nonetheless. What if it’s the same on the P1? Or better yet, what about the upcoming secret projects code named P15, and BP23? Needless to say, McLarens are badass machines and they are going to continue to make their mark on the supercar and hypercar worlds, and show no signs on slowing down.
McLaren has yet to confirm or deny these claims and it’s unlikely that they ever will. I mean why would they, it’s great advertising.