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A day with the McLaren 720S

Monday 15th October 2018

It’s ballistic. Relentless. Yet even on a damp autumn day, the 720S feels planted. Despite all this power though, it is immensely useable. As the boost builds up, twin-scroll turbos making for minimal lag, you are simply catapulted forwards. It’s the closest I’ve been to a big-screen style Sci-Fi jump to warp speed. When you’re on the throttle, you’re there already.

Invited to a small event in October hosted by The Tyre Kicker Club, I followed the GT40 of James Cottingham from our base in Chorleywood to Daylesford in the Cotswolds. The route offered a mix of roads and surfaces, albeit mostly wet, but a good opportunity to get to know the car nonetheless.

McLaren Automotive, as we know it today, was only started in 2010. In the past eight years we have the witnessed non-stop development of their foray into road and race cars alike through the likes of the 12C, 650S and more recently with the 675LT and P1. Each taking a leap forwards in terms of development over their predecessor.

When the 720S launched in 2017, it marked the first occasion of McLaren replacing a car. With over 90% of parts new, the jump from the 650S to 720S was significant. The 720S offers a more accessible, faster(!) and even more capable supercar. Offered the opportunity to drive this example, I leapt at the chance.

Tipping the scales at just over 1400kgs and offering 710bhp from its twin-turbo, 4.0 litre V8, the 720 breaches the magical 500bhp/ton. Sixty in under three seconds. One hundred and twenty four in under eight seconds, and one hundred and eighty six in under twenty two seconds. It recalibrates the mind, and seemingly bends physics. Aerodynamics have be significantly reworked over the outgoing car, it feels reassuringly stable at all speeds; the airbrake makes deceleration even more intense.

Its superb. Despite standing in at 6ft7 - ‘above average’- the cabin still manages to feel hugely spacious. Great visibility is afforded by the Gorilla glass panels in the roof and the rear ¾ glass panels credited to the revised Monocage II, the next generation of carbon tub from McLaren. The advancements are clear to see, not least with the amount of light that can now make its way into the cabin thanks to the much thinner pillars. It also makes parking and spotting cyclists in town a breeze. The seating position is great and dead straight, no offset pedals here. The steering wheel has plenty of reach and rake adjustment- more so than my Golf! The dihedral doors and now much lower sill over the outgoing 650S make respectable entrances and exits the norm.

The ride too is fantastic, it copes superbly on our British A roads - not always the smoothest; motorways - never the quietest and well in town too, even amongst the speed bumps of Warwick. It is compliant yet confident, with plenty of grip on offer and the traction control keeping you in check without feeling restrictive.

Despite an early start, a mix of motorways, A-road driving and slow stuff in town, there were no aches to contend with at the end of the day.

The 720S is a true Swiss Army Knife of supercars.

McLaren 720S for sale at DK Engineering