When the McLaren 720S was presented at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show the whole world became aware that the Woking car manufacturer, after a few years of transition, was not only about to launch an amazing car on the market, but would soon send a clear message to all competitors: the return journey started eight years earlier with the MP4-12C would come to an end, now they would have a formidable weapon in their arsenal.
Born from the experience in the world of racing, assembled in Surrey and drawn by the pencil of Robert Melville, the 720S Spider is an absolute supercar (we have also dedicated a more intimate and personal article to her: a week with the McLaren 720S Spider), as extreme as it is intelligent and we were lucky enough to be able to drive it for a week and discover all its intimate secrets.
The “functional” design of the McLaren 720S
The 720S Spider is objectively beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful. Particular with its “hollow” optical groups, it is proportionate, muscular and compact but at the same time so wide as to give it a very aggressive air.
From any angle you admire it, it is incredible, a bit for the coloring (in our case) Helios Orange and partly because it becomes almost a game to discover all its functional details. No aesthetic trims, no marketing gimmicks, this is a supercar and every square inch of the car is designed for a specific reason. The bodywork appears to be carved by the windyou can look at the air flow that hits the car and you quickly realize how it manages to have absolute grip.
Carbon fiber exudes everywhere in the lower part of the 720S, through the rear extractor it is also possible to glimpse the gearbox while just behind the tonneau, the space where the roof is folded back, there is a backlit grille from which the engine can be seen. True mechanical ecstasy.
The rear of the car is almost art, in a small space there are a myriad of details that capture our attention. The streamlined LED headlights accompany the line of the car while centrally, in a raised position, we find the two tailpipes that almost try to hide under the folded wing.
Driving essence of the 720S Spider
The interior of the 720S is exactly what one would expect when looking at the car from the outside, the environment immediately suggests the purpose of its design.
Opening the dihedral door and sitting in the driver’s seat you find yourself immersed in a space with no aesthetic frills, carbon and alcantara totally dominate the scene and the sensation is that of being inside a racing car. Extremely low seat, racing pedals, hard brake pedal and a perfectly handled steering wheel further reinforce the 720S’s racetrack character.
There are few buttons on the dashboard, zero even on the steering wheel, there is a central display on which it is possible to manage the basic functions of connectivity, media, navigation and skid setup but nothing more and perhaps it is better this way in our opinion.
What really matters is clearly visible and we find it on the right of the screen: there are two separate pawls to be able to independently manage powertrain and trimas well as a button to activate manual mode, one to disengage the ESC (at your own risk) and one to extend the air brake.
Behind the Alcantara and carbon steering wheel is one TFT screen called Folding Drive Displaywhich as the name suggests has two sides: the first, classic, shows speedometer-tachometer and crucial information such as tire pressure and oil temperature, while pressing the dedicated button or setting the driving mode Sport/Track the screen rotates 90 degrees showing a minimal interface showing only the selected gear, speed and tachometer.
Contrary to what one might think, the passenger compartment is very bright, thanks to a study of excellent spaces and the (optional) use of the roof with electrochromic technology, in fact it is enough to press the button above the head to darken the glass or make it come back clear.
The driver has a whopping 306 degrees of visibilityimpressive if you consider that it is difficult to find acceptable visibility on cars of this caliber, for obvious functional reasons.
On the 720S, on the other hand, you have a total view and if that were not enough during the maneuvering phase there is also rear view camera and the 360 View cameraafter all on such a car scratching a rim would be a real drama.
Directly from space
Driving a supercar is always a fantastic experience but the McLaren 720S doubles the Wow Effect like no other car can.
We fully press the brake pedal and press the Engine Start button: the Woking car starts with a growl, the cold-start tears the silence of the morning for a good minute and the M840T 4-liter, 720 hp twin-turbo V8 built by Ricardo meanwhile he prepares to leave. The car vibrates and rattles, already when stationary it transmits sensations to the fingertips that are reminiscent of those experienced on a track car.
It is imperative to bring the tires to the right pressure, in our case the Pirelli PZero Corsa with size 305/30/20 at the rear and 245/35/19 at the front, and wait for the oil to reach the optimum temperature.
Once ready, the 720S is capable of unleashing its immense potential and trust us when we tell you that it really is something absurd. Not even the numbers on the card can give the idea: da 0-100 in just 2.8 secondsmaximum speed 341 km / h (with closed roof) and from 100 to 200 in just 4.6 seconds.
The heart of this car has evolved from the previous generation, from 8 to 16 injectors, there are now lighter pistons with longer stroke, a stiffer crankshaft and new increased intercoolers. The delivery of 770 Nm is linear but the acceleration is so strong as to force us to squeeze the steering wheel with both hands, exceeding 5,500 rpm but the due turbine twin-scroll con wastegate electronically operated they throw a devastating whip and then you experience the infinite power of this car on your skin.
The 7-speed dual clutch SSC gearbox is a fiddleengages the gears with a disarming speed and increasing the settings from the powertrain lever becomes more and more violent and fast.
On the mountain roads the McLaren 720S almost dances, the electro-hydraulic steering is precise but not heavy and you can enjoy the MonoCage II chassisa true work of art in carbon.
The man-machine fusion is total, the 720S goes exactly where the driver says to go, exaggerates only if we want it and above all it maintains a control on the asphalt that makes a racing car pale.
The electronics are never invasive and leave ample room before intervening, if you are in the mood for transoms there is also the function Variable Drift Controlin order to accurately set which maximum skid angle the car will reach … almost like a video game.
The set-up is nothing short of perfect, the Proactive Chassis Control II gives the car an incredible harmony and is specially designed to offer the best in any situation.
It is as much a blade when cornering as it is comfortable in the city, let’s not exaggerate in saying that – average consumption from 5 km per liter apart – this car can be used safely every day.
There are 410 liters for luggage between the tonneau and the front trunk, there is Cruise Control, the Lift System to overcome bumps and ramps and the gearbox in Comfort mode even engages sixth gear at 60 km / h. Getting around town is ridiculously enjoyable with the 720S.
The McLaren 720S Spider in our opinion
This McLaren has already written history, we will certainly not be the ones to judge an engineering work of this magnitude. We just say that until you try a 720S you are hardly able to fully understand the concept of “speed”.
On the other hand, it is such a versatile machine that one would always like to use it, precisely its double soul is perhaps its greatest value. It’s rough yet comfortable, insane yet predictable, and quick to pull a smile from practically every push of the right pedal.
You take it home in the Spider version starting from 293,000 eurosa figure for very few but in our opinion amply justified by the research and refinement that lies behind this British project.
There are several options, both for the Coupé and for the Spider; the list is really long and you can indulge yourself on McLaren 720S online configurator if you want, we in the editorial office would never want to deprive ourselves of driving without a roof, so we would opt for a starting Spider.
True, the chassis loses a little bit of stiffness and the car weighs down an extra 50kg, but we’re still talking about a net weight of only 1,370 kgless than a C-segment hatchback.
Driving open air everything is amplified, the 720S experience from “mastosa” becomes “unforgettable” and the feeling with the car becomes almost more intimate.
McLaren has set the bar at a dizzying height, so no wonder this model accounts for half of the Woking-based brand’s sales. [Fotografie di @lorismacchi e @avuerre]