Geneva Motor Show: 2018 McLaren 720S revealed

The Big Mac has morphed into a Whopper. McLaren has revealed the replacement for its 650S Super Series model at the Geneva motor show.

Dubbed the 720S, it’s lighter, faster, more powerful and yet more efficient than its predecessor, with McLaren claiming it’s “a car that sets new benchmarks for supercar excellence.”

A bold claim, but the 720S certainly has the performance to back up its boast. A new 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine produces a staggering 530kW at 7000rpm, backed by a maximum of 770Nm from 5500-6500rpm. Installed in a car that weighs just 1283kg (dry), the result is a power-to-weight ratio of 413kW/tonne, a number that is difficult to comprehend.

2018-McLaren-720S-revealed-doorsTo put it in some perspective, a conventionally fast car like the Mercedes-AMG A45 produces 180kW/tonne, while a scary-fast sports car like the Porsche 911 Turbo manages 249kW/tonne. Even the original Veyron could only muster 390kW/tonne.

The result is shattering performance, McLaren claiming 0-100km/h in 2.9sec, 0-200km/h in 7.8sec and a top speed of 341km/h. The standing quarter mile is said to take just 10.3sec, assisted by the ‘seamless-shift’ seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Despite the increase in displacement and power, fuel consumption has improved by almost 10 per cent to 10.7L/100km, though it’s unlikely to be a figure too many owners will be familiar with.

2018-McLaren-720S-revealed-interiorThe greater capacity is courtesy of a 3.6mm stroke increase, while McLaren claims 41 per cent of the M840T is new compared to its predecessor’s M838T, including new pistons, con-rods, turbos and intercoolers.

Deceleration is equally impressive. Six-piston calipers grab carbon-ceramic discs measuring 390mm front and 380mm rear, which bring the 720S to a halt from 100km/h in 29.7m. Taking up the strain are Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres measuring 245/35 ZR19 front and 305/30 ZR20 rear.

2018-McLaren-720S-revealed-dashThe 720S chassis is an intriguing mix of mechanical and electronic engineering. The lightweight MonoCage carbon fibre passenger cell is suspended by double-wishbone suspension incorporating the latest iteration of McLaren’s Proactive Chassis Control, which uses hydraulically-linked dampers to remove the need for anti-roll bars and offers three modes: Comfort, Sport and Track.

McLaren is also a non-believer in conventional limited-slip differentials, using its Brake Steer function to transfer power to the wheel with more traction. The 720S also debuts McLaren’s Variable Drift Control, which allows the driver to determine the level of traction control assistance and allowable oversteer angle using a finger-tip slider on the infotainment screen.

2018-McLaren-720S-revealed-profileThe 8.0-inch touchscreen display controls audio, media and navigation, while the digital instrument cluster can operate as a vertical screen or in Slim Display mode, which folds the cluster away and displays on the minimum required information as a horizontal strip.

Perhaps stung by criticism of the early 12C’s conservative exterior design, McLaren has been much bolder with the 720S. Most striking are the unbroken side flanks, the engine instead fed air through inlets mounted in the sills behind the doors.

2018-McLaren-720S-revealed-rearEqually interesting are the deep ‘eye sockets’ cut into the front, which house the LED headlights and ducts that feed air to the 720S’s low-temperature radiators.

Australian pricing is not yet confirmed, however McLaren expects prices to rise around five per cent over those of the 650S, which means its latest supercar should cost around $490,000 when it lands locally towards the end of 2017.

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