I never thought anything could make the McLaren 650S look frumpy, but McLaren’s newly revealed 2018 720S just turned the 650S into the dowdy little sister that nobody talks about.
Unveiled in Geneva, the new 720S is everything we had hoped ever since the early teaser photos, culminating in a camouflage-free picture leaked in January. It has the unmistakeable shape of a McLaren and, in true McLaren form, every little bit serves a purpose.
Aerodynamics are vastly improved over the outgoing 650S, with McLaren managing to double the aerodynamic efficiency by removing the rear scoop and using the unique double-skinned door to channel air to cleverly-placed louvers just aft of the door. Intakes in the new LED headlights feed low temperature radiators and the body-width active rear wing is fully mobile to lower drag and increase downforce.
That greenhouse shape so familiar to McLaren acolytes has taken the use of glass to a whole new level. By utilizing a new carbon fiber tub and upper structure McLaren was able to virtually surround the driver and passenger with glass, including windows in the C-pillars. It’s a bit like driving an aquarium, and who can argue with better visibility, especially in a car that will set you back almost $300,000?
Inside there’s been revolutionary change in ergonomics and comfort. The much-maligned infotainment system has been replaced by a new eight-inch touch screen, and buttons and switches have been moved to more readily accessible and intuitive places. All of this is canted toward the driver, turning the pilot station into more of a cockpit for ease of use.
The coolest interior feature of all, though, is the Folding Driver Display. Designed to make it even easier to see out of the car when on the track, the normal instrument binnacle – which provides a lot of information in fully deployed mode – folds down and retracts into the dashboard at the push of a button. The top edge of the display then provides only the minimum of information necessary to reduce distraction. It’s a really trick piece of kit.
Shoving all this gorgeous aluminum and composite down the road is McLaren’s new mid-mounted, 710 hp 4-liter twin-turbo V8, which sets down a blistering 0-60 mph time of 2.8 seconds, reaching 124 mph in 7.8 seconds. To help get your eyeballs out of the back of your skull after you’ve ripped off a mind numbing launch with all 568 lb/ft of torque, the brakes will haul you back down to a stop in 4.6 seconds. It’s hard to believe that you get all of this power, but fuel economy is still said to be approximately 22 mpg.
Expect to start seeing this new supermodel on the front row of valet parking spaces sometime in May.