Test driving the McLaren 720s – best of British supercar
by Dan Woods
A supercar is, by definition, three things: unnecessarily fast, achingly beautiful and unattainably expensive. That’s why for most of us, they are cars we admire but never really strive to own.
The Italians are well-known for supercars – Ferrari and Lamborghini spring immediately to mind – but let’s not forget McLaren. This once-small company from Woking gave us the F1, a car which held the title of world’s fastest production car from 1993 until 2005.
Since then McLaren has grown significantly. It has a fuller line-up – split into Sports, Super and Ultimate series – and the company now produces 20 hand-built cars every day.
The car you see here is the 720S; one of the latest models in its Super series. And let me assure you, ‘super’ doesn’t even begin to do this car justice.
Number one on the supercar checklist is speed, and the 720S has this in abundance. Its 4.0-litre, midmounted longitudinal V8 has two turbochargers, resulting in a power output of 720PS and 770Nm of torque.
“Every vent, every curve, every channel is there to carve the cleanest possible path through the air”
Acceleration is, understandably, brutal. 0-62mph takes 2.9 seconds. 124mph comes up in 7.8 seconds. 186mph is upon you in 21.4 seconds. And the top speed is a supercarworthy 212mph. Next on the list is looks. The design philosophy at McLaren is simple: “everything for a reason”. That means every vent, every curve, every channel is there to carve the cleanest possible path through the air.
Dihedral doors – a McLaren signature – are a styling masterpiece. A 720S with its doors open is about as pin-up worthy as car photographs get.
Last on the list is a hefty price tag, and the 720S does not disappoint, with a starting price of an eyewatering £225,000. Options on my test car added a further £60,000 and brought the price up to a full eyebrow-raising £285,000. Many of the options are carbon fibre oriented, with everything from the headlight surrounds to the steering wheel available in the lightweight – and expensive – material.
Another connotation of the supercar is lack of practicality, but that’s not the case with the 720S. An incredibly strong carbon fibre mono-cage allows for larger windows and thinner pillars, so visibility is surprisingly good. It’s also easy to get in and out of, and options such as a 360-degree camera and nose lift make it easy to live with.
With the 720S McLaren has made a supercar you actually want to own, which is commendable. Better get saving…