The McLaren 720S It comes into our hands with an English license plate although it drives on the continental side, that is, on the left, and although we can have it for several days, prudence makes us take it for a single day of mountain travel. The 720S impresses when seen, and even more so in the McLaren yellow color that our unit sports. The doors have a forward and upward opening that may seem like ‘posturing’ but is very comfortable to access. a sports car which, as the canons dictate, is not very broad.
The carbon fiber body and chassis, designed by the team that implemented this material in Formula 1, are visible, and makes the cabin a little narrower than usual.
The engine is located in rear center position, the best for a sports car, and the propulsion is later, although we will go into detail about the mechanics later. In terms of design, McLaren has managed to find its place without copying others, with shapes that are easily identified with the brand. I especially like the way in which they have resolved the side air inlet, and with it hide the door opening. The headlights don’t seem the most attractive, but they are very personal, and the rear is simply brutal, unique, a role model for the integration of beauty and functionality: lights, grills, exhausts… everything fits.
Inside the show ends, and compared to the outside it is a ‘normal’ car, or are we just getting used to the extravagances? The fact is that the steering wheel is round! Almost incredible, and it does not have any integrated controls or buttons, unlike, for example, Ferrari, which has removed the turn signal levers to integrate all the controls on the steering wheel next to the ‘manettino’. Two different ways of offering the same thing: driving with passion to the limit.
Of course, the McLaren’s clock panel has an ace up its sleeve and, in sport mode, it turns vertically to offer only the minimum information to the driver. In the center of the console, vertical and well presented, are the gear buttons, the driving modes and those that allow you to choose the degree of drift in the new ‘drift type’ mode, in addition to the screen. Our hands are sweating, the outside of the car smells like ‘ferodo’ as the veterans would say and, when we get out of our car through the spectacular and practical vertical opening door, the brakes creak and ‘sound like popcorn’ as a good friend says.
The cold of the Madrid mountains is noticeable on our back, moistened by tension, more than by effort, and although this machine is not physically demanding, it requires all the mental attention available to link the curves as we’ve done it so far, after two hours behind the wheel that started in discreet parking on the outskirts of Madrid, where they gave us the car keys.
Of all the brands on the market, no McLaren had yet passed through our hands, a press unit we mean. Both as passengers and at the wheel we had ‘tasted’ some units, especially the first MP4-12C, the name with which the brand launched its range of models in 2011, but as they are private cars, we never commit excesses.
This absence of test units is, in part, because the brand is very young. The racing team is one of the greats in Formula 1 and is now also in Indycar or Formula E. As for street cars, McLaren launched the McLaren F1 in the nineties, a centrally driven three-seater with which they won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But the current project is very different.
Racing with Ferrari
The brand embarked on the colossal odyssey of catching up with Ferrari or Lamborghini by manufacturing sports cars, and has put all its know-how into it: carbon fiber chassis, a very powerful V8 engine that is almost racing and, almost from the first moment, the launch of a hybrid supercar like the P1. This allowed McLaren, since its arrival on the market in 2011, to be placed on the Olympus of ‘must have’ brands if you have a high purchasing power and you collect carsbut after those first years you have to stay in the limelight, and the brand has been refining its launches and expanding its commercial network, in the case of Spain with a dealership in Barcelona that is, simply, the best in the world of brand.
McLaren now has a range of more ‘comfortable’ models – GT or Gran Turismo -, one of sportier cars – Super Series or Sport Series – and a range for exclusive and very limited editions called ‘Ultimate’ – like the well-known McLaren Senna–, and the best thing is that each of their cars is named by its power and category, so the 720S is a 720 HP model from the Sport series. How far away is that McLaren MP4-12C with which it debuted on the market!
Behind the wheel of a supercar
We make the four-liter, two-turbo, 720 HP V8 roar, illuminated by red LEDs, and we head to the mountains of Madrid. The figures for this car are scandalous: it accelerates from 0 to 100 in 2.9 seconds, exceeds 340 per hour and weighs only 1,500 kilos with the driver on board. Even so, we are going ‘slowly’, enjoying what would be a ‘grand tourer’, that is, a car to travel long distances with good suspension comfort. This car serves that purposeAnother thing is the luggage, which would go something right in the front trunk – 150 liters – or in the rear 210 liters.
We do not go over 120 per hour for fear of being caught on social media by those who record us with their cell phones, putting their lives at risk, and although McLarens are beginning to be common at sports car rallies, they are not so common in the city. street, and its ‘neck-turner’ effect continues to be of the first order.
We face the mountain range and start the sport mode. There is an extra one that would allow us to do skids by controlling their degree of inclination, and although the large parking lots for skiers, empty in the last days of autumn, are tempting, the truth is that we want a McLaren to come back to us, and crushing the Pirelli PZero making ‘donuts’ at the first opportunity would nullify our chances for a second date. So we hit the curves.
The 720S’s steering perfectly copies what happens under the asphalt. It is very sensitive and fast, and allows you to assess the grip of the car and whether it is advisable to start stepping on the accelerator more or not. The exhaust in sport mode fills the cabin, with a nice sound, although not with the melody that came out a few years ago from atmospheric engines. We don’t find it as difficult to drive as other cars of this caliber, so we begin to apply braking with the carbon-ceramic brakes, cornering and feeling comfortable in the car. We are not experts in models of this type, but the driving flows on its own, it is not like other sports cars in which the sensations come from great braking, great acceleration or a lot of noise. Here each line is a ‘whole’, linking curves and accelerations incessantly.
It’s time to raise the adrenaline level a little, so we quicken the gears and the engine enters a second, more sporty phase of operation. It turns faster, reaches high revs with more rage and the entire car accompanies the engine in its new task: cutting time by time. The asphalt is somewhat wet but even so the 720S does not make any strange noises and moves and corrects everything we do with the steering wheel at an overwhelming speed. On the short straights we put the pedal to the metal, and the McLaren wakes up its zigzagging rear, and you have to be careful not to lift your foot so as not to bring in the electronic controls. It is, in a way, easy to carry, without instilling the respect of the Italians, made of steel or aluminum and therefore heavier, and with sharper engines, with more character, but we do not know if they are as effective in speed as the 720 HP of this Briton, whose seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox works with inexhaustible precision.
Everything in favor of efficiency
It’s time to value the car. This McLaren falls in love with its precision, its interior comfort, its easy handling of our errors when drawing or with the gear shift paddles, it is a good car, let’s say, to learn to drive an elite supercar without ‘dying trying’ In a figurative sense, of course.
Es not very practical inside, it has few places to leave objects, it is not very technological and its multimedia equipment does not seek to surprise with false artifices. The 720S dazzles with its striking body but loses a bit of steam due to its simple interior. The mechanics, yes, are at another level, one in which, after stopping at a bend in the road, we leave thinking that, although we are not going as fast as possible, there would be no car capable of surpassing this one in this road, regardless of its power or brand.
That’s what surprises us. It doesn’t have the rage of an AMG GT, nor the finesse of a Porsche 911, nor the character of a Lamborghini Huracán nor the charisma of a Ferrari F8, but still, it attracts us to the fullest. It is perhaps its extremely effective mechanics, the kind that does not make you realize that you have raised your driving level to take it a couple of steps higher, perhaps that is why our hands sweat, we did not believe we were capable of so much.
We cool the car and stop to record the corresponding video for our YouTube channel and they ask us the price. We haven’t even looked at it, it’s not something that tends to worry much to those who look at these cars but, of course! You have to know, and it’s about 285,000 euros, options aside, from which our unit is sure to have a good pinch. . It is more expensive than its rivals, and that is also a declaration of intentbecause we are not facing a McLaren, but rather the most powerful of the Super Series before moving on to the limited editions.
We return to the capital and return the keys, captivated by the spell of this car. Would we put it in the garage before one of the ‘classic’ sports cars? It is difficult to know, since there has been no luck with ‘el Gordo’ we will wait for the ‘El Niño lottery’ to see if the future puts us in this fantastic situation. For those who can buy it without a lottery involved, this car is missing, perhaps, a little ‘rogue’ point, whether in the interior, in the sound of the exhaust or in the response of the engine and gearbox. The 720S is very ‘racing’ where each piece follows a function, but a spicier version would delight fans, who would surely pay extra for those doses of exclusivity…