benchmark in the spirit of Formula 1

Actually, we already got hold of this supercar but it was in England, left-hand drive, right-hand drive, on the narrow wet roads of the English countryside. Not ideal for feeling comfortable aboard an exceptional model invoiced for more than 250,000 euros. A little left on our hunger at the time of this test with the “locusts”, this time, we are at home, on roads that we know by heart.

Tribute colors

McLaren 720S

McLaren 720SCredit Photo – Autonews

Our 720S has its own story. The very dark gray that dresses it (called Sarthe Gray) is exactly the same as that of the McLaren F1 GTR, which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995. A discreet color, but spiced up by the stirrups, belts and tinted stitching of the Papaya orange that Bruce McLaren had chosen in 1967 to more easily recognize his U6-A in the CanAm championship. All these cosmetic details are already options on our model, which is stuffed with them. If ceramic brakes, like the active spoiler are standard, our 720S however has carbon packs absolutely everywhere which add a little more salt to the bill (at least 24,170 euros!). The paint signed by MSO, McLaren’s personalization department, is billed at 9,840 euros. We will try to avoid rolling it out! 5,990 euros also just for the sensors and the reversing camera. In all, no less than 70,440 euros of additional options were checked on our model, bringing the total bill to 332,940 euros, excluding penalties.

But this is the price to pay to optimize a work of art voted Most Beautiful Supercar of the Year, at the Festival International Automobile de Paris. We must admit that the eye is delighted with every detail. The elytra doors are already having their effect and with all these curves and competition-typed materials, even in the passenger compartment, the atmosphere is just UFOs. It’s like Will Smith at the controls of the alien ship in Independence Day. The ergonomics are at the most simple and direct, not always very intuitive but it is often like that on board English. Everything is oriented towards the driver and the panoramic view is particularly clear thanks to the very thin uprights authorized by the Monocage 2 carbon fiber cell, inspired by the P1.

Boiling with life

McLaren 720S

McLaren 720SCredit Photo – Autonews

Riding in a McLaren is to accept a certain raw violence of stripping. Unlike Ferrari or Audi, which offer high-performance models while remaining relatively “felted”, with the Englishwoman, it vibrates, it squeaks, it works everywhere. Every roughness in the road goes up through the steering wheel, making the driving experience more alive than ever.

But despite the sports exhaust that equips our version, the V8 4.0 biturbo placed in the rear central position is not that expressive at low revs. Probably to be consistent with the comfort mode which makes the 720S docile and relatively flexible. It’s a different story when it comes to handling the other driving modes (from Comfort to Sport or Track). The McLaren then transforms, with the digital speedometer that swivels James Bond’s Lotus Esprit style for a minimal display. The exhaust valves open wide to play a volume score that rises crescendo, up to the maximum speed of 8,200 rpm. Each change of report by the double clutch box, is also marked by small knocks in the neck, it becomes physical! The front axle is quite simply welded to the road, when the rear axle allows itself a few micro drifts as it has to do to pass 720 hp and 770 Nm of torque to the ground. With such a cavalry, the acceleration scrolls the scenery at Millennium Falcon speed.

And if the performance of the 720S in terms of responsiveness, speed of passage, lateral grip defies the laws of physics, it is also in part due to the qualities of the Proactive Chassis Control II with hydraulic suspension. Its electronic management takes decisions every 2 milliseconds, to adapt the damping, in order to always stick the 4 wheels to the asphalt.

DRS and airbrake

McLaren 720S

McLaren 720SCredit Photo – Autonews

Every time you brake, something strange happens. The corner of the eye is drawn to the central rear-view mirror, which suddenly darkens. To the point of imagining the worst: someone behind would not have had time to brake? It is with your head tucked into your shoulders that you realize that it is the huge rear spoiler, which has turned so far that it completely obscures the rearview! On high decelerations in fact, the gigantic pie shovel acts as a DRS to reduce drag in a straight line and, conversely, stabilize the rear axle to the point of playing a real role of airbrake, adding up to 20% additional support. Obviously, the effect is felt especially at high initial speed. Gadget? Probably not, since we are talking about a beast that reaches 341 km / h in peak, gets rid of 0 to 100 km / h in 2.9 seconds and 0 to 200 km / h in 7.8 seconds.

Despite a certain age, the 720S remains a benchmark with such scores and capabilities. The point of comparison for all new models of the brand, especially in the Supercars category (there is also GT and Ultimate) supplemented since by the 765 LT (coupe like Spider) and especially Artura which opens the era of productions hybrids McLaren, on a “large” scale. The latter develops “only” 671 hp, which leaves room to reach the power of our 720S, which will most likely have a worthy electrified heiress. We can not wait to see it !

to summarize

Generally, when you love sports cars, you love Formula 1. To each his own camp, his favorite team, but it must be recognized that McLaren with its track record and its driver stories leave no fan indifferent. It is even heartwarming to see that the manufacturer is gradually regaining its greatness, after a failed marriage with Honda, to the point of having once again savored the taste of victory. It was last season at Monza, thanks to its Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, with the smile of Tex Avery. On this occasion, Mclaren also dedicated a 720S, orange, with very flashy retro purple and flanked by its race number, but only reserved for the OZ market. It’s sad, we too would have liked to taste the flavor of victory aboard this special edition. Never mind, a 720S is still a 720S and we found another to try.

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