McLaren Super Series goes Next Level: 720s Australian Launch

Something special for under $500,000

EFTM’s good friend Greg Rust attended the Australian launch of the new 720S in Melbourne and was seriously in awe of the company’s latest offering.

Photo: Joel Strickland

Since the debut of its first car, the MP4-12C, back in 2011 many reviewers talked about how impressive McLaren’s road cars were but how they lacked the ‘soul’ of rivals like Ferrari. That’s changing.

It may have been designed and built in what looks like a high tech laboratory but the 720S is an incredibly engaging Supercar for all sorts of reasons. Fittingly it arrived a week before the Australian premiere of a new movie on Bruce McLaren. The true story of the late, legendary Kiwi racer behind one of the most iconic names in motorsport airs next Saturday night at the Sydney Film Festival.

Some at the manufacturer’s Woking Technology Centre in the U.K. may have wondered how they could improve on the last model in its Super Series but they have.

The capacity of the V8 power plant has increased slightly to 4.0 litres. But the performance of the twin-turbo is now unparalleled producing more than 700 horsepower or 530kW and the torque will leave you struggling for words at a staggering 770Nm!

On-track McLaren achieved a 2.9 second result in the 0-100km/h tests and reached 200km/h from a standing start in just 7.8! Top speed? 341km/h!

The braking performance is equally impressive coming to a complete stop from 200km/h in a mere 4.6 seconds….a bit over the length of a football field. It achieves that with the help of an active rear wing.

The engine is mid-mounted and puts all that power to the ground through the rear wheels via a 7-speed, seamless shift, gearbox.

Under the skin it’s a clever mix of carbon fibre and aluminum. The mono-cage II central tub assists greatly in keeping overall weight down to just 1419 kilograms.

When you stop and admire the exterior of this Supercar for a moment you understand why McLaren uses words like “aerodynamic purity” and “new generation design language” to describe this car.

The bodywork lines are lean, sculpted, fluid and flowing but with function in mind as well giving the 720S double the aero efficiency of its predecessor – the 650S. There’s been a lot of discussion about the headlight cavities. At first glance and in photos they seem out of proportion to the rest of the bodywork but up close you tend to warm to those eye sockets that each house 17 LED lights and help capture air to cool the radiators.

New gen Proactive Chassis Control and reengineered suspension combine to give the car a broader operating window that’s comfortable on a commute while inspiring more confidence than ever in its natural habitat – the track. Such was the investment in this area it incorporates PhD thinking to get that enhanced agility, grip and feel.

Those engineers were able to capitalize on the structural integrity of the chassis to create a unique cockpit as well. Climb inside and close the trademark dihedral doors and it feels almost fighter jet like. The canopy gives occupants a wide range of vision and allows plenty of light into the cabin.

A slider on the central infotainment display operates Variable Drift Control. Basically it changes the amount of stability support enabling you to hang the back out for some fun at the track.

There’s lots of optional extras available including McLaren Track Technology or MTT which costs about another $10K. This data logging system offers much more than squiggly line analysis. It even comes with several onboard cameras to help with training or debriefs.

McLaren’s second-generation Super Series entry has arrived. With a starting price of just under $500,000 ($489,900 plus on roads) and so much interest that if you placed an order now you probably wouldn’t take delivery until late 2018.

All that’s left to do now is drool and wait for that EFTM test drive.  Pleeeeaasssseee McLaren?

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Motoring

Greg Rust is a sports commentator & presenter for Channel 10 – @Thrusta1

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