The Ultimate evolution..... test drive of McLaren 720S | McLarenChat
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The Ultimate evolution..... test drive of McLaren 720S

Discussion in 'Super Series (MP4-12C, 650S, 675LT, and 720S)' started by Jas, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. Jas

    Jas Rookie

    Mar 2, 2005
    13
    Kent, UK
    Full Name:
    Jas
    McLaren kindly brought a 720S to my home for me to have an extended test drive. I have previously driven the 570S and the 12C (various tracks, and road, including around my home).

    Spoiler alert: I LOVED the 720S. I never felt even remotely the same way about the 458 Speciale, 488 or Huracan Performante upon driving each of those! The 720S is a seriously special car.



    The aero channels and design are stunning. The double skin doors are very cool. Overall, its design features are utterly stunning in the metal. The much talked about, and often criticised [almost always by those who have never seen a 720S close up in the metal] eye sockets look great and full of detail in the metal, especially when specced in carbon fibre. Photographs and even video absolutely do not do the 720S justice.

    [​IMG]

    This car really does not photograph well, especially in this dark off grey colour.

    [​IMG]

    This car has a full carbon tub, including roof like the P1 and F1 (and i8), but unlike all other McLarens, which only have partial carbon tubs. Ferrari by comparison continue to plod on with bonded aluminium, and Lamborghini reserve their full carbon tub only for the Aventador. This of course makes it light, and very stiff. But it also allows the 720S to have amazing visibility, thin pillars, and glass C pillars. The seating position is perfect and very central, unlike its competitors.

    [​IMG]

    The carbon ceramic brakes plus huge air brake, are utterly awesome and feel like dropping an anchor in the asphalt! It has incredible stopping power with perfect stability and control. I would say these are the best brakes in its class. The brake pedal requires firm pressure and reminded me of the feel in a non servo old model Elise or Exige. I liked that.

    The 720S has a fighter jet look and feel inside it, due to its all around glass canopy, especially if specced with gorilla glass roof panels in the doors. It feels like it goes like a fighter jet too.

    Acceleration is utterly incredible, and unlike a Tesla P100D in insane mode, the 720S just keeps pushing on and on. It is scary quick in fact, bordering on terrifyingly so such that you feel you are only just hanging on to it! There is so much power in any gear that you can realistically only use 100% throttle for 2-3 seconds at most on road. It is simply that fast and powerful, combined with its very light weight.
    This is by far the fastest car I have ever driven. Not the most frightening though, as that honour remains with the F40.

    The 720S has precision handling and steering. It is very easy to place, and is very precise. Scalpel like, rather than edgy and playful like a 458 or 488. Steering feels like a big S1 Exige, and is very direct and communicative. The 720S feels small to drive, yet huge, airy, bright and spacious on the inside - unlike all competitors, including all other modern McLarens.

    The ride comfort is simply astonishing. In Comfort/Comfort, the 720S rides more comfortably than my i8 in Comfort mode! Yet it corners flat. But in Sport/Sport the 720S is firmer than my i8 in Sport mode. In Track/Track it is even firmer and more aggressive in its responses.
    The 720S is quiet at low RPM, yet it starts making lots of "interesting sounds" at higher RPM and when lifting off. Turbo whistle, wastegate, some popping in the exhaust. The sound is somewhat subdued though and is definitely its weakest aspect. The Huracan Performante by comparison sounds absolutely glorious and better than anything else.

    The 720S had too much power for its P Zero tyres on anything other than a pool table surface. It will break traction in 3rd on a straight, with stability systems compensating - albeit very well and unobtrusively. I felt it would be much better on the optional Corsa tyres, at least in summer on dry roads. (The 570S I drove was on Corsa tyres.)

    The 4 speaker sound system is utterly rubbish. I did not hear the optional 12 speaker Bowers & Wilkins system.

    The moving dash is truly useful, and switching to track mode is genuinely useful when pressing on. I had expected it to be just a gimmick.

    Comfort, Sport, and Track settings adjust separately for handling and power-train and are user friendly, and make a noticeable difference. The 720S inspires confidence, even in Track/Track. I did try the variable drift control settings, but only when playing around with settings, not actually whilst driving it.

    The 720S is so far ahead of the old 12C (or its updated 650 facelift model) that it feels like its from a different manufacturer. The 12C felt unsettled at the limit, especially under braking and did not inspire confidence close to the limit. It also did not feel "fun" on track, or road. The 720S encourages the driver, and seemed to adapt to how I was driving it at any point. Truly astonishing and feels like witchcraft when you experience it.

    By the way, the 570S Spider feels rather like a super quick Elise to drive, in a good way, and of course better in every respect.

    The Huracan Performante leads the pack for its amazing engine and ease of going very quickly with 4WD. However it has big negative points for visibility, its non-Lambo doors and (IMHO) its dated looks. It has some, but limited, carbon construction.

    The 488 wins for the badge, great residuals and 7 year servicing thrown in. It has a huge negative for still using bonded aluminium construction. It is also the slowest by quite some margin. In fact I am completely confident the 720S will prove faster than the 488 Pista too.

    The 720S is so far ahead of its competitors that there really is no valid comparison to make. In performance, it is comparable to hypercars like La Ferrari, P1 and 918 Spider. Amazingly it is not comparable in price though.
    The last time I was so enthused about a car, and thought it was "virtually perfect" in its purpose and segment, was when I did my first two test drives of the i8.

    It feels like a bargain at the price, although the starting price for 720S Performance has gone up from £218k to £225k just a few days ago! They are clearly selling well.
    It's noticeably more expensive than a 488, or even a Huracan Performante. I am informed that on the road, with a modest spec it costs £250k. Or about £275k now for a more typical spec. It will be over £350k with all options (without duplication). And with MSO options, the sky's the limit! (MSO = McLaren Special Operations.) Carbon options are particularly expensive.
    [​IMG]
    The 720S is a Hypercar for a little more than typical Supercar money. Hence my view that it really is a bargain in this sector.

    To drive, it is the ultimate evolution of the non-hybrid hypercar, before future McLaren (and competitor) models all start to become hybrid. A true cold stone modern classic.

     
    of2worlds likes this.
  2. bocaf430

    bocaf430 Rookie

    Jun 10, 2014
    48
    LI, boca raton
    love that car.. hope to have one
     
    Jas likes this.
  3. Gh21631

    Gh21631 Formula Junior
    Owner

    Feb 24, 2011
    310
    East
    Nothing better out there today in my opinion.
     
    Jas and frefan like this.
  4. Robin

    Robin Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
    34
    Arlington, VA
    Finally got behind the wheel of one this past weekend. Can't imagine how they can improve on this going forward...
     
    Jas and Jo Sta7 like this.
  5. ekovalsky

    ekovalsky Rookie

    Jun 17, 2017
    48
    Arizona & Montana
    Full Name:
    Eric
    After a couple weeks with mine, I'd have to agree. As expensive as it is, the value is high - it's worth every penny.

    In track powertrain mode the turbos spool up immediately and give linear, exhilarating acceleration up to the redline like an atmospheric engine. Above 5000rpm the OEM sports exhaust screams like a jet engine, with a great whine from the turbines followed by awesome blow-off sounds on upshift or braking. Turbo lag is progressively more evident in the sport and comfort powertrain modes. For anyone test driving this car, make sure to turn on the active dynamics panel and set powertrain to track else you won't get a good sense of how it performs. Unmodified customer cars are running 9.7-9.8 sec quarter miles in the mid-140s, with 1/2 mile speeds over 170 mph. One stock car ran 174 mph in the 1/2 mile this past weekend at the Dallas WannaGoFast. Those are numbers typically only seen for unmodified cars in the seven figure range.

    The transmission and electronics are so good there is really no need to use the paddles, unless you want to. Shifts are instant. And at least on the new Corsa tires, this very light, rear wheel drive car hooks up like a heavy AWD vehicle; you get consistent 2.7-2.8 sec 0-60mph times on the street using launch control.

    Handling and suspension are incredible. In comfort mode, it rides nearly as comfortably as a Mercedes S Class, Bentley, or Rolls. Ride is much firmer on sport although not punishing. On track, it is pretty harsh and you feel everything in the road. With the independent, active hydraulic suspension, there is no body roll on the street even in comfort mode. Steering is precise and has great feel, far better than any electric power steering setup. The brakes are sensation, although it takes a bit to get used to the pedal travel. My Mercedes S63 Coupe feels like a cargo ship after driving the 720S.

    Ancillaries are like a high end German luxury car. A/C works great and blows very cold; B&W stereo sounds great; navigation is excellent; bluetooth connectivity is painless; homelink easy to program with amazing range; 360 surround cameras offer best protection for the carbon splitter, bumper, and wheels. There are storage areas in the doors and console to keep wallet, sunglasses, phone, etc from flying around the cabin, and there is plenty of space in the trunk and rear deck, latter is easily accessed if you have the sports seats as they fold forward. Hinged rear glass, like the 570GT, would have been a nice option for those who opt for the carbon fiber bucket seats, which of course do not fold.

    For good or bad, the car draws attention like nothing else whether parked or on the road. Doors are the best I've seen, at least until the Senna comes along, and it is about as easy to enter/exit as any other low lying sports car.

    Build quality and paint are outstanding, and I've had zero mechanical or electrical issues.
     
    Jas and Jo Sta7 like this.
  6. Jo Sta7

    Jo Sta7 Formula Junior

    Oct 13, 2015
    317
    Scottsdale/Pittsburgh
    Full Name:
    Jon
    Agreed, a lot of people thought that when the 458 came along, and f430 before it.
     
  7. Ingenere

    Ingenere Formula Junior
    Premium Subscribed Owner

    Dec 11, 2001
    390
    On the Limit
    Full Name:
    Dino
    Jas and Jo Sta7 like this.
  8. Gh21631

    Gh21631 Formula Junior
    Owner

    Feb 24, 2011
    310
    East
  9. Jo Sta7

    Jo Sta7 Formula Junior

    Oct 13, 2015
    317
    Scottsdale/Pittsburgh
    Full Name:
    Jon
    Agreed, do it. Just get the wheels changed once you do.
     
    Jas likes this.
  10. ferraripalos

    ferraripalos Rookie

    May 5, 2018
    1
    Full Name:
    Miguel Palos
    Who has already driven a 720 above 300 k / h?
    Me, and the car tackles dangerously
    The dealer says you have to put the track mode?
     
  11. Jo Sta7

    Jo Sta7 Formula Junior

    Oct 13, 2015
    317
    Scottsdale/Pittsburgh
    Full Name:
    Jon
    Tackles ?
     
  12. gtjoey

    gtjoey Karting

    Aug 12, 2014
    205
    Well, In doing New York to the Indy 500 and back in 48 hours.....lets see how close I get? :)
     
  13. Ingenere

    Ingenere Formula Junior
    Premium Subscribed Owner

    Dec 11, 2001
    390
    On the Limit
    Full Name:
    Dino
    I prefer the 10 spoke, superlight wheel..... and not black! But I do like Papaya Spark and McLaren Orange.... and it's easier to change the wheels!
     
  14. Jo Sta7

    Jo Sta7 Formula Junior

    Oct 13, 2015
    317
    Scottsdale/Pittsburgh
    Full Name:
    Jon
    Yes the 10 spoke are perfect and save 12.5 kg of unsprung weight. Get the diamond finish if you get the car.
     
  15. ekovalsky

    ekovalsky Rookie

    Jun 17, 2017
    48
    Arizona & Montana
    Full Name:
    Eric
    Both of the upgraded 720S wheel options are really nice. The five twin-spoke save 22 lbs and the ten spoke save 27.5 lbs over the standard wheels, which I don't particularly like, for the full set.

    I'm sure aftermarket wheels could cut a bit more weight, I know there are carbon fiber wheels available from Dymag. But if you aren't racing and trying to cut every possible pound, the lightweight factory wheel options are beautifully made and finished. My favorite combinations were the twin five-spoke in satin diamond cut and the ten-spoke in titanium liquid metal. The latter, unfortunately, is no longer available, McLaren discontinued it because of their inconsistency issues. Not sure why that could not be fixed by them or their supplier, as HRE and others seem to have mastered it.
     
  16. Jas

    Jas Rookie

    Mar 2, 2005
    13
    Kent, UK
    Full Name:
    Jas
    I prefer the 10 spoke super lightweight wheels too. Look better, and also the 12.5kg unsprung mass saving as mentioned above. Personally I prefer them in black though.
     

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