Geneva ’17. New McLaren 720S

*NOW UPDATED WITH VIDEO* McLaren reveals both the replacement to the 650S, the new 720S, and its new twin-turbo V8 engine at the Geneva Motor Show

Engine Power Torque 0-100kph Top speed Weight (dry) Basic price
V8, twin-turbo, 3,994cc 710bhp @ 7,500rpm 770Nm (568lb ft) @ 5,500rpm 2.9 secs 341kph 1238kg (574bhp/ton) $254,300

Out with the 650S, in with the 720S, which headlines the McLaren stand at the Geneva Motor Show, marking the first time Woking has ever launched a successor to an existing model line. Should that, for some reason, not be intriguing enough, the new Super Series model has also been touted as having ‘the widest breadth of road and track capability of any McLaren so far.’ Hmm, tantalising…

First things first though, and that would be the brand new engine, McLaren’s established 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 having been set aside in favour of a heavily revised 4-litre twin-turbo example. Up to 41 per cent of the original componentry has been replaced, the new V8 now featuring a new cast aluminium inlet plenum and revised turbochargers for 710bhp and a massive 568lb ft of torque (versus 641bhp and 500lb ft for the 650S its replaces). Punchy little bastard it proves too, the 720S nailing 0-100kph in 2.9 seconds, two-tenths less than the 650S and one-tenth less than its main rival, the Ferrari 488 GTB. Top speed is also up 8kph on the 650S at 341kph, the 720S also outgunning the Ferrari’s 330+kph. The drivetrain is completed by a revised version of McLaren’s seven-speed transmission.

Another notable is the 720S revised look, described as ‘functional layering’ by McLaren’s chief designer Rob Melville with the aluminium bodywork ‘shrink-wrapped’ around the lightweight carbon fibre MonoCell base beneath to create a tauter, more purposeful presence. Interestingly, in developing the new monocoque, McLaren engineers have lowered the doorsills to improve ease of access and exit, as well as reduced the thickness of the C-pillars for improved visibility. Eagle-eyed readers will note that the dihedral doors also incorporate part of the roof too, the grooves also aiding in engine cooling by feeding airflow to the aggressively cut intakes on the wheel arches. 

McLaren’s Proactive Chassis Control II makes its debut on the new 720S as part of both a drive for yet further improved performance capabilities and a reduced kerb weight: at 1283kg (dry), the 720S is 18kg lighter than the 650S, 16kg of which comes from the reengineered and lightened aluminum components in the double wishbone suspension (the stiffer chassis means mechanical grip has gone up six percent over the 650S too). Suspension geometry meanwhile has been revised to improve steering feel and road holding, new Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres ensuring grip is maximized too. Peer behind the lightweight alloys and you’ll find new carbon-ceramic brakes (390mm at the front, 380mm at the rear).

Big changes inside, the most notable of which is the Folding Driver Display that can be used in upright mode with a TFT display screen, or slim mode showing just essential driving info. An 8in touchscreen dominates the heavily redesigned centre console. Not bad for $255K, eh?

  • Technical specifications available on page 2

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Categories: Road


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