New Super Series
A scant six years ago, McLaren returned to the sports car market with the MP4 12C. At that time the UK-based automaker promised there would be more to come, and that declaration turned out to be a bit of an understatement. Since 2011 McLaren has launched multiple sports cars, ranging from the 540 / 570 in the Sports Series to the extreme P1 in the aptly-named Ultimate Series. In between those two is the Super Series, offering extreme performance with everyday drivability. The second-generation Super Series debuted this year in Geneva — the all-new 720S.
Better In Every Way
Replacing the 650S is no easy task, but it looks as if the 720S will be better in practically every way. The new model is lighter, stiffer and more powerful than the already-impressive 650S. McLaren’s goal with the new 720S was to combine the refinement of the 570GT with the extreme performance of the 675LT. The result is a wider range of abilities, providing excellent performance both on the road and on the track.
At the heart of the 720S is a new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, placed — of course — behind the cabin. As the name indicates, power is rated at 720 PS (710 horsepower). Torque is listed at 568 lb-ft — an increase of 68 lb-ft over the outgoing 3.8-liter V8 — while at the same time emissions have decreased.
Performance stats are quite impressive: 62 mph arrives in 2.9 seconds, 124 mph in 7.8 seconds and at 21.4 seconds the speedometer will be eclipsing 186 mph. Maximum velocity is approximately 212 mph, and the 720S can blow through a quarter mile in a mere 10.3 seconds.
If ride and handling are just as important as big power, then this McLaren should deliver. The 720S features an all-new suspension system incorporating new geometry, which shaves about 35 pounds versus the 650S. Adding to overall drivability is McLaren’s latest Proactive Chassis Control system. The PCC has an accelerometer at each corner, two pressure sensors on each damper and 12 more sensors than the previous version.
“As well as delivering the outstanding driver involvement and enjoyment for which the brand is renowned, McLaren’s new supercar will also excel in everyday driving,” explained Chris Goodwin, chief test driver for McLaren Automotive. “The extreme performance and dynamic prowess of the second-generation Super Series, honed by testing at the limits and beyond, provides the perfect foundation for it to be the most complete supercar across the full range of use,” noted Goodwin.
The driver can choose from three different modes: Comfort, Sport or Track. The system adjusts roll, stiffness and damping, and there’s even a variable drift control that McLaren says allows for “more driver involvement.”
McLaren engineers also worked with Pirelli to develop a new Pirelli P Zero Corsa tire that provides a 6 percent improvement in mechanical grip compared to the McLaren 650S. The Corsa is one of a range of Pirelli tires developed specifically for the new 720S, all of which are designed to provide superb driver feedback as well as ensure extreme levels of grip and braking performance.
All three series of McLarens possess similar styling cues with swooping headlights and integrated rear exhausts. The 720S has a new look with more expressive headlights that give the car a wider presence. The large air intakes behind the rear doors of the 650S have been hidden in the door on the new model, giving the new 720S a much cleaner profile.
The iconic dihedral doors that open up rather than out are improved considerably on the 720S. The doors open with part of the roof which makes for much easier entry and exit – drivers will no longer be bumping their heads when maneuvering into the car.
The exhaust outlets are once again integrated into the rear, with stylish taillights matching the curve of the rear deck. We expect that as new generations of the Sports and Ultimate Series are introduced, the designs will be in line with the 720S.
Inside, the 720S has a site-specific combination of leather, aluminum and carbon fiber providing an elegant yet performance-oriented cockpit. Unique to the 720S is a new driver interface that features a folding instrument readout. The driver has the option of a full display with all information visible, such as the trip computer and engine gauges. But if the driver prefers less distraction, the display can fold to show only the tachometer and speed.
“The new McLaren Driver Interface is a matchless example of advanced driver engagement built around two separate high-definition screens; a Folding Driver Display and a Central Infotainment Touchscreen,” explained Mark Vinnels, the executive director of product development at McLaren Automotive. “The Folding Driver Display is revolutionary in offering both a choice of information shown and physical position, seamlessly complementing driver preferences while at the same time furnishing a glorious piece of engineering theatre.”
On Sale Soon
The new 720S will start arriving in showrooms this summer with a starting price of $284,475.