Road Test: Angus Davies gets behind the wheel of the McLaren 720S and regales readers with his experience of driving this incredible supercar
This review of the McLaren 720S includes details of the technical specification and pricing.
I walked along a gravelled path and my senses were heightened to every sound and each movement underfoot. My mind and body were in a state of heightened awareness.
The prospect of driving a car costing £218,020 tends to imbue the psyche with a sense of disquietude. One lapse of concentration has the potential to result in an inordinate amount of credit card strain.
My press car was a Glacier White McLaren 720S Luxury. Opening the dihedral doors, immediately fanfared that this was a special car. The sense of occasion was clear. Climbing into the leather clad interior, I noted the rotating dashboard proffer itself to me, reinforcing the notion of automotive theatre. I could tell this was going to be an experience to savour.
The interior was a blend of cassis and black leather. The seats were snug but extremely comfortable, unlike the seats in some supercars which restrict the flow of blood. However, I found the control switches for the electric seats a tad fiddly to reach.
The passenger compartment was bathed in light courtesy of the glazed carbon fibre Monocage II structure. The aluminium bodywork on this car is draped over a carbon fibre structure which confers incredible strength and rigidity. The abundance of windows provides a light and airy cabin while delivering peerless levels of visibility.
The array of buttons and variety of driving modes seemed bewildering at first. Faced with negotiating twisty roads in Staffordshire, I chose to run the car in its ‘comfort’ setting and put the gear selector in ‘drive’. I already knew at this stage, with damp tarmac beneath my wheels, exploring the extremes of this car’s performance envelope would have been foolhardy.
Rest assured, this car is civilised. Unlike some supercars I have driven previously, there is no annoying drone as the car advances with minimal throttle. Indeed, the sound is subdued and the engine only makes its presence known as the revs increase to meaningful levels. The McLaren never reached the raucous levels of a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, but, in my opinion, that was a benefit rather than any failing. This is a car that can be driven every day, albeit it is anything but an everyday vehicle.
Entering corners, I found the car sat flat, making it feel incredibly planted and remarkably neutral.
The handling flatters the driver’s abilities owing to its user-friendly set-up. The steering is electro-hydraulic and power assisted and usurps the steering found on some rival cars which can feel a tad artificial.
At legal road speeds I found there was no dramatic oversteer or irritating understeer. In terms of handling I found this car to be one of the finest car I had ever driven and certainly no more challenging to handle than a family saloon.
Acceleration and retardation
Power is provided by a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8, transmitted through the rear wheels. Unlike some turbocharged cars I found there was no discernible lag. Indeed, a blip of the throttle caused this car to hunt the horizon with amazing alacrity.
The 720S accelerates to 60mph from rest in a mere 2.8 seconds and continues to a maximum speed of 212mph. Shedding speed is equally as impressive, courtesy of carbon ceramic brake discs and aluminium brake callipers.
On the few occasions I entered a corner with just a tad too much zeal I was able to impressively shed speed with just one dab of my right foot.
The 720S reformulates one’s expectations of a car and, more specifically, a supercar. It is comfortable with a light, airy cabin. The seats, with their impressive levels of comfort and support, do not necessitate remedial treatment by a chiropractor. The handling is neutral at ‘real world’ speeds and the car proves no more challenging to drive than a family hatchback.
However, it is the performance which stands out as the most incredible element of this car’s repertoire. Pressing the throttle delivers colossal performance, although at no stage did I ever feel I had approached its limits. Quite simply, this car has redefined my notion of a supercar.
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.