McLaren has a vast portfolio of talents. It’s also quite fascinating to think that on the one hand, many people’s lives have been saved by its medical technology devices and on the other, these people can potentially land themselves back on a hospital bed if they don’t show any respect to the other devices it produces – its range of demonically fast super-cars.
Even though the sleek shape communicates the company’s current design direction that was first established with the smaller 570C, at first glance, the new McLaren 720S – the replacement for the 650S – is unlike its predecessor. Its aesthetic design is less racy and more graceful, and is abound with delightful details like new doors, which are no long the scissors variant, but swing upwards, gullwing-style, onto the top of the roof, leaving room for a pair of roof-mounted windows. The company likens this optional feature to the appendages of a fighter jet. Introverts can choose carbon fibre to seal off this section, but I reckon that glass should make for a surreal experience when in full flight.
The 720S can be had in three trim levels – Tech, Luxury and Performance. Whichever you choose, it will combine with a dramatically altered cabin. Gone is the flying buttress of a centre console that dominated the business area in the 650S and in place is a flush, compact and touch-operated command screen. The interior feature that begs to be witnessed is the digital screen in direct view of the driver. Under normal conditions, it displays the usual vitals, like speed and revs, but unlike anything else on the market, when Track Mode is engaged, the entire ensemble physically flips out of sight, giving the driver a better view of the fast-approaching road ahead. The car presents only revs, speed and gear-shifts on a strip-size secondary display. It’s such a cool feature!
Presumably, the only thing stopping you from buying this R5 million-odd McLaren is the fact there are cheaper Ferraris and Lamborghinis. I put it to you that the 720S is a world apart from anything that Enzo and Ferruccio’s people are able to sell you locally. It’s powered by a new twin-turbo, 4,0-litre V8 that produces a colossal 537kW at 7 250rpm and 770Nm at 5 500rpm. Combine this with extensive use of lightweight carbon fibre in its construction, which leaves the car weighing a measly 1 420kg, and you have the perfect recipe for blinding speed – but hopefully not a date with a McLaren CT scan machine. For the record, McLaren claim 2,9 seconds to 100km/h and 7,8 seconds to 200km/h and it’s said it will not run out of steam until it reaches 341km/h.
In a nutshell, this is one of the finest, most advanced super-cars in the world right now. And get this: it has a built-in drift function. For a super-car and despite some naked carbon fibre panels, it has a very classy interior. The old 650S was a riot to drive and all of its qualities are not only retained in the new 720S, but magnified to unbelievable levels of innovation. It’s so tech-laden we haven’t a hope of covering it in full at this juncture, but know that it is the most gorgeously sculpted car I’ve seen since, well, perhaps the new Aston Martin DB11.