McLaren 720S07 | 11 | 2017Scotcars rating

    The McLaren 720S is one of the best supercars ever ... and yet it can be a 212mph pussycat

    IT’S NOT OFTEN you’ll find the word ‘exquisite’ used on Scotcars; in fact, I don’t think I’ve actually ever used it before. But here it is: in the space of two paragraphs it’s appeared twice, because the new McLaren 720S is simply exquisite.

    Not only is the latest model in the McLaren Super Series range a true supercar — as confirmed by its phenomenal 0-62mph in 2.8sec and 100mph in 7.8sec — but it’s as docile and easy to drive in a sleepy, countryside town centre as a Nissan Micra.

    The 720S is McLaren’s second-generation Super Series model, sitting between the Sports Series and Ultimate Series; the latter the domain of McLaren’s hybrid hypercar, the P1. (Related: Check out the latest stock of McLarens at Scotland's award-winning centre, McLaren Glasgow)

    Boasting an all-new Monocage II carbonfibre chassis and McLaren’s next-generation Proactive Chassis Control II system, the 720S is powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine, which has been enlarged to 4.0 litres, and delivers 710bhp and 770Nm of torque.

    Add in the fact the car tips the scales at only 1283kg dry, and you realise the car’s massive performance potential.

    To even attempt to experience just a hint of the 720S’s performance is, more than likely, to step the wrong side of the law, unless you’re on a private road or enjoying the motorsport surroundings of a track like Knockhill.

    McLaren-720S-3.jpg

    Use the car’s launch control, and the sensation is akin to what Marty McFly must have experienced as his old friend, maverick scientist Doc Brown, catapulted their time-travelling DeLorean back through the years in Back to the Future.

    Believe me, you’ll find yourself having to consciously gently tease that dropped-jaw back into place as your mind tries to come to terms and rationalise the powers of physics you experience as the horizon gallops towards you at an ever-increasing rate.

    But to concentrate solely on the car’s eye-wateringly impressive performance figures is to perhaps miss the bigger picture.

    Being a Super Series McLaren, the 720S is road-focused, so it needs to be comfortable in everyday use. And with the car’s chassis setting set to ‘Normal’, there’s no denying the 720S is a comfortable as some rival GT cars. There’s a taut, composed firmness to the suspension as it flows over the all-too-common uneven surfaces which dominate Britain’s roads.

    McLaren-720S-5.jpg

    Of course, you can ramp things up, either on public roads, or when you head for the track — or your own private road — by engaging McLaren’s Active Dynamics Panel to independently select different modes for the chassis and powertrain.

    In ’Sport’, the adaptive dampers are more rigid, while the damping remains plush even in ‘Track’ mode. That said, the latter setting also rules body and wheel movement with iron discipline.

    Through corners, the system is further helped by the interconnected hydraulic suspension — replacing the conventional roll bar — which keeps the car flat and level.

    And, oh, the steering. It’s fantastic. As with all McLarens, it’s electro-hydraulically assisted, and the feedback is just lovely. You always know what the wheels and tyres are doing, and it feeds back exactly how much grip the car is enjoying. As for the seating position? It’s spot on.

    McLaren-720S-6.jpg

    Of course, to live with a car demands certain practicalities. Sure we’d all love a supercar, but said supercar will require to carry some baggage should said owner and partner desire to head to some posh, luxury hotel for a weekend’s break.

    Just as well then that the front boot is a generous 150 litres, and the back deck adds 210 litres to that.

    But don’t expect to keep anything in the doors. The stunning new dihedral doors cut into the roof and make entry and exit easy. But naturally, if McLaren had inserted any stowage bins into them, then — yup, you’re ahead of me — the goodies would fall out every time you open the doors.

    There’s a bit of storage space in the centre console — enough for a slim wallet, and perhaps slimmer mobile phone — but that’s about it.

    Visibility is brilliant. Ok, with its low-slung looks, in traffic you’ll find yourself eyeing the centre wheelhub of an articulated lorry, or double-decker bus, but visibility is superb. And thanks to a new lower sill — and the new doors that require 155mm less space to swing open — getting in and out is much simpler.

    McLaren-720S-9a.jpg

    Perhaps worth mentioning here, the 720S is 4543mm long and 1930mm wide, which makes it just 5cm longer than a Porsche 911. It is though more than 10cm wider than its German rival. 

    One of the 720S’s many strengths — and a facet which is familiar to all McLarens — is that it bestows so much confidence right from the off that before long you realise it’s desperately longing to be pushed.

    The results are intense. It also completely re-writes your thought process regarding overtaking gaps. Before you answer the question you ask yourself, “have I got space?” … you’ll find you’ve already completed the manoeuvre, and the car which was in front of you is now a small dot disappearing in your rear view mirror!

    In so many ways, the McLaren 720S is special. It’s the most user-friendly 212mph supercar I can think of, and its levels of performance are simply obscene. Yet it’s a pussycat when you need it to be, and with its knockout aesthetics it’s an emotional winner.

    The McLaren 720S. Simply exquisite …. as I may have said before.

    Related: Roadtest — McLaren 570GT

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on twitter.com/Scotcars

    Jim McGill

     

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £218,020 / £244,630
    Engine / Power: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, with 7sp dual-clutch auto / 710bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 2.9sec / Max 212mph
    How big/heavy?: L4543mm W2161mm (incl mirrors) H1196mm / 1419kg (incl fluids and 90% fuel)
    How thirsty/CO2?: 26.6mpg combined / 249g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: Ferrari 488, Lamborghini Huracan, Porsche 911

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