All posts in “2018 mclaren 720s”

2018 McLaren 720S Drivers’ Notes | Menacing middle child

It’s been seven years since McLaren launched the MP4-12C (later simplified to just 12C), the vehicle that kicked off the British brand’s three-tiered assault on the supercar market. The Sports Series is currently made up of the 540, 570, and 600 lineups. The 720S is the only member of the Super Series, one rung higher up the ladder from Sport and one below the Ultimate level of the McLaren Senna.

The McLaren 720S is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that spins out 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. That’s sufficient to push the sinewy supercar from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 212 miles per hour.

We tested two different 720S models. The silver car pictured here boasts a number of options, including a Luxury package that adds exterior trim in Dark Palladium, engine bay ambient lighting, and premium leather for the heated and power-operated seats. Our test car was also fitted with a front splitter, air intakes, and door mirrors in carbon fiber, and a sports exhaust system. Total price came to $342,135.

McLaren 720S door open

Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski: The McLaren 720S is one of the most impressive vehicles available to buy today. It looks incredible, with swoopy good looks that capitalize on air intakes that cut deep into the car’s bodywork to create negative space and add drama to the supercar’s design. And it drives even better.

My test car was a shade of silver that I don’t really think does the car any favors, and doesn’t stand out like the purple-hued 720S my colleagues in Michigan drove. Still, as I shrieked down highways and byways in and around Seattle, the McLaren had no problem attracting admiring stares and inciting impromptu rolling drag race offers. These, naturally, I declined. I already knew I had the fastest car on the block.

The 720S is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that feels like a major advancement from the company’s older 3.8-liter unit. It revs like an F1 car, plowing through first and second gears so fast that its driver is squarely into suspended-license speeds in the blink of an eye. But despite its headline-grabbing spec sheet, the 720S can actually be quite docile out on the road.

Comfort mode softens the 720S nicely for bumpy, potholed roads. Sport mode stiffens everything up perfectly, and Track mode loosens up the electronic nannies so far that I wouldn’t use it on the street. It is Track mode, after all. Another impressive parlor trick: A push of a different dash-mounted button pops the rear spoiler up high on its hydraulic stanchions. A slam of the brakes moves that spoiler vertical and turns it into an air brake.

Shenanigans like that are meant for the race track, and really, that’s got to be the best place to experience the McLaren 720S. But even on the street, the level of accessible performance is amazing considering how easy it is to live with the the car on a daily basis. The McLaren 720S proves that even the fastest cars in the world can still be easy to drive.

McLaren 720S profile
McLaren 720S frontMcLaren 720S rear doors open

Associate Editor Reese Counts: I wasn’t bowled over by the 570GT we had a few weeks ago. Sure, it was fast, but it lacked flair. It was just too buttoned up for my taste. Despite the positive things I’d heard, I was afraid things were going to be much the same way in the 720S. Maybe it’s the flashy design or the extra power or the purple on purple color scheme on our tester here in Detroit, but I was smitten with Woking’s mid-engine monster.

Everything felt a little sharper than it did in both the 570S and GTs I’ve driven. At the same time, there was an bit more excitement to the driving experience. The updated 4.0-liter V8 sounds better than the 570’s 3.8-liter unit. It made me want to keep dipping into the throttle. There’s an underpass near my house where I can get the exhaust to crackle off the walls for about 1,000 feet. I must have gone back and forth five or six times, slowing down just so I could goose it. It was giggle inducing, though my wife continued to roll her eyes.

I dig the looks, too. Just look at the headlights. It’s purposeful without being overwrought and doesn’t look like anything else on the road. I’m a little less sold on the interior, but it’s still a comfortable place to be. Like other McLarens, the 720S’ ride manages to balance comfort and performance better than nearly any other performance car around.

I’m still not sure I love the McLaren more than the Ferrari 488 Spider I reviewed last year, but it’s certainly heading in the right direction.

McLaren 720S badgeMcLaren 720S badge
McLaren 720S engineMcLaren 720S wheel brake

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: There’s a lot about the McLaren 720S that makes it a fun car to drive. The steering is damn near perfectly weighted and is full of feedback. The engine rockets the little thing away from every stoplight, the transmission is impeccably smooth and fast. I could go on. But I’d rather spend a little time talking about the other thing that makes it great: It feels like piloting a spaceship.

You get a sense of that walking up to the car. The entire car is smooth and undulating. There are hardly any extrusions poking out from the organic lines. It looks far more advanced than anything else on the road. Then the butterfly door opens to welcome you, and the interior hammers home the futuristic feeling. All around you is glass; in front, behind, to the side, in the corners, even above your head. It’s almost like a bubble, something people of the 1950s would have expected of their future flying cars. Then you look at the dashboard and the seats. It’s all still curves and flowing features. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the car was some strange combination of the biological and the mechanical. And in the case of the purple example we had in Michigan, it’s as close to a Covenant spacecraft from the Halo video game series as you’re going to get.

Like any proper spaceship, it also attracts oodles of attention when driven among the common cars. Everywhere I went, people were gawking, and cell phones would whip out for photos. In fact, along Woodward, a lady in some nondescript crossover I can’t remember nearly hit the car in front of her as she tried to get a photo. That snafu aside, it’s a great feeling that just seeing this car brightens other people’s days.

This really is what makes the McLaren special beyond just its impressive performance. It’s got the look and feel of something futuristic and jawdropping. It makes even just normal cruising an event for you and the people around you.

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2018 McLaren 720S – The Best of Britain

Blurred Lines

While romping around in the new McLaren 720S, things around you quickly become a blur as you accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds. Pavement markings aren’t the only lines being blurred though – thanks to the 720S, so too is the line between supercars and hypercars.

These days, the McLaren 720S is leading the charge of a growing number of cars – a raucous gang of automobiles which are causing a disturbance to the metrics in which we define what a hypercar is. Government restrictions and traffic laws put a ceiling over just how far a road-worthy car can go, and the 720S – a supercar – pushes ever closer to that limit.

2018 McLaren 720S

The great thing about the McLaren 720S is that it perfectly blends the best of both the supercar and hypercar worlds – you get all the performance (if not more) of today’s ridiculously expensive hypercars, but at a relatively low supercar-price.

Starting at $288,845 USD the 720S looks like the bargain of the century, as you quickly realize that a million-dollar budget won’t necessarily net you a more capable car. In fact, even when fully optioned out, it remains less than a third of the price of most “entry-level” hypercars.

With such pedigree, the successor to the 650S gets to rub shoulders with some very elite company. It completes the quarter-mile in 10.1 seconds (227.7 km/h)faster than a Bugatti Veyron – and according to Motor Trend, is the fastest purely gasoline-powered car they’ve tested.

Only hybrid hypercars such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari are running the stretch just fractions of a second quicker.

It is also remarkably refined and amenable, making it comfortable enough for daily use. McLaren engineered the 720S to be a supercar which begs to be driven under all circumstances and conditions while precluding any notion of being a ‘garage queen’.

The McLaren 720S could very well be the new template for the modern (and future) supercar.

Features And Highlights


The 720S employs a twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 engine, which produces 710-horsepower @ 7,500 rpm and 568 lb-ft of torque @ 5,500 rpm.

As the numbers suggest, you do need to keep the revs above 5,000 rpm to really get the most from the engine. That is not to say that the car feels in anyway gutless in the lower range – the 720S surges forward with smooth linearity throughout the rev range, transitioning into peak power in a progressive, yet dramatic way.


The engine is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. This gearbox is a technological marvel – upshifts and downshifts are completed in the blink of an eye in either automatic or manual shifting mode.

McLaren engineers also delivered some programming ingenuity into the transmission’s behavior while in Track mode. Dubbed ‘Inertia Push’, the clutch slams shut for the next cog during high rpm upshifts, enabling the engine to spin slightly faster than the input shaft. According to McLaren, this “uses the inertia of the rotating engine components to deliver a torque pulse to the wheels that improves acceleration”.

The 720S’ Comfort mode allows for a car that feels just as capable of daily driving as it does for track use. Suspension dampers are hydraulically linked and each has two pressure sensors. There are twelve additional sensors which analyze data in real-time for each of the car’s driving modes to determine the best damping settings in each situation.

Carbon-ceramic brakes and Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires respectively provide the stopping power and grip required to harmonize with the overall performance of the car, while perfectly weighted and world-class steering feedback allows the driver to conduct the chassis with true precision.

Design & Interior

The 720S is inundated with functional exterior body parts which improve aerodynamics, air-flow efficiency and cooling – the aggressive front spoiler, bonnet gills and active rear wing amongst the many parts working in harmony to generate up to 50 percent more downforce, double the overall aerodynamic efficiency and 15 percent more efficient cooling over its predecessor, the 650S.

Underneath the cornucopia of its predominantly carbon fiber shell, is the ‘Monocage II’ chassis structure which incorporates an upper structure and windscreen surround, making it more rigid than the 650S. It also lowers its center of gravity by 3 percent and is the lightest of the Super Series cars, with a dry weight of 1,286 kg – over 135 kg lighter than a Ferrari 488 GTB.

Inside, the 720S is deftly ergonomic and comfortable, while the driver’s seating position and visibility are terrific. This is thanks in part due to the bubble-style cabin and A-pillars with transparent roof panels. The butterfly doors and center cutouts also make it easier for driver and passenger to enter/exit the vehicle.

The interior is adorned with high-quality Nappa leather, carbon fiber and Alcantara trim finishing. Cleverly appointed digital instruments provide key vehicle data and infotainment for the driver.


Compared to its most obvious rivals – the Lamborghini Huracán Performante ($274,390 USD) and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS ($294,250 USD) – the McLaren 720S is priced right in the middle at $288,845 USD.

In my opinion, the 720S offers the most daily-usability and its performance, to put it lightly, is not lagging behind its competition. This makes it more approachable and all-around-capable than any other supercar in its class.

Then we also must remember how it fares against cars that should be out of its league. Million-dollar cars (in some cases, twice over) barely manage to cope with the 720S’ performance arsenal.

If not for an undying loyalty to the more historic marques, or a decades-long love affair with a certain poster car, the 720S is the pragmatist’s choice.

The McLaren 720 is the complete supercar.

Specifications And Performance Summary

Pricing And Model Info

Make McLaren
Model 720S
Generation 2017 – Present
Car type Coupe
Category Series Production Car
Built At Surrey, UK
Base Price (USD) $288,845

Chassis And Powertrain

Curb Weight 1,434 kg (3,161 lbs)
Layout Mid-engine
Driven wheels Rear-wheel drive
Engine V8, aluminum block and heads
Aspiration Twin-turbocharged
Displacement 4.0 Litres
Transmission 7-speed DCT

Engine Output

Power 710 hp @ 7,500 rpm
Power / litre 177.5 hp / litre
Power-to-weight ratio 4.45 lb / hp
Torque 568 lb-ft @ 5,500 rpm


0-60 mph 2.5 seconds
0-100 mph 5.3 seconds
¼ mile 10.1 seconds
Top Speed 212 mph (342 km/h)m

Photo Gallery

Video Reviews

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A lighter, faster long-tail version of the McLaren 720S is on the way

The latest and greatest from Woking has barely broken cover, but McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt has confirmed to Car and Driver that there will be an even faster LT version sometime in the future. Flewitt said that the 675LT, a variant of the 650S, was so successful that it makes perfect sense to create a follow up. This will be great news for those McLaren enthusiasts that may be tempted to jump ship for the obscenely fast Lamborghini Huracán Performante that debuted in Geneva alongside the 720S.

Flewitt said there was a great deal of both internal and external enthusiasm surrounding the 675LT. Expect the new version to be a lot like the 675LT: lighter, sharper, and more powerful, with some mild styling changes but not a completely overhauled design. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter in the McLaren already makes 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. Remember, that’s just the baseline. A mild bump in output is assured.

No word on when the car may debut, but don’t look for it anytime soon. McLaren most likely wants to give the 720S a bit of breathing room before it introduces a new model. Flewitt also suggested that an LT version of the 570S isn’t off the table. As long as it’s lighter, faster, and more powerful, we won’t complain.

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