News : Geneva 2017 – McLaren 720S stuns the opposition

McLaren’s new 720S, or P14 in codename terms, has been unveiled in Geneva, and its unconventional styling proved something of a genuine surprise. The new Super Series model replaces the current 650S and the first cars are due to be delivered in May – UK prices are set to start from £208,600.

It’s light for a contemporary supercar, coming in at 1283kg, so with 710bhp on tap, it delivers some impressive performance figures. How does 212mph and 0-124mph in 7.8 seconds grab you? That’s not far off giving the P1 hypercar a run for its money – and far too quick for UK roads.

What about those looks?

Let’s not beat around the bush, those looks are interesting. It’s an all-new design, and led very much by the windtunnel. But the eye-socket active LED headlights are striking (and hardly pretty), although they are functional, directing cooling air to the car’s lower temperature radiators and its diffuser.

As with its predecessor, the 720S comes with dihedral doors and prominent side radiators. There’s a full-width, hydraulically-actuated rear wing, which brings much-needed downforce. And under the skin, it’s all new, underpinned by what is called the Monocage II carbonfibre tub.

A new engine, too…

The pace of McLaren’s development as a supercar manufacturer shines through here, too. It’s powered by the new M840T 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. It sports a cast aluminium inlet plenum, lighter pistons, conrods and crankshaft, as well as a new and more efficient turbocharger – in effect it’s 40 per cent new.

The transmission is a revised version of the old seven-speed SSG double-clutch unit. You get a choice of full automatic or manual modes, which in all likelihood, will be mostly used in the former mode by drivers on the road. Finally, it comes with McLaren’s Proactive Chassis Control II system – just the thing for a rutted M25 at 47mph.

Keith Adams

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