McLaren 720S review: A clinically precise supercar

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

The McLaren 720S is a clinically precise supercar, but don't let that fool you into thinking that it doesn't tug at the heartstrings.

I really hate my boss sometimes. Especially when he gives me weird vehicles like electric vans to review.

But today isn't one of those days. And today isn't one of those times when I hate my boss. That's because today, I'm behind the wheel of a McLaren 720S–and man, what an experience!

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

Where do I begin with this supercar? Some key stats: there's a 4.0-litre V8 engine with twin-scroll turbos producing 720ps (hence the 720S nomenclature for this car) and 770Nm of torque.

Power is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed Seamless Shift Gearbox, and the 720S is propelled from standstill to 100km/h in a stonking 2.9 seconds, maxing out at 341km/h.

But really, whereas most reviews are concerned with weighing the positive and negative traits about each car, there isn't all that much to complain about the 720S. And whatever complaints I do have about the car are really just minor niggles.

So let's get the negatives out of the way first, before we dive into just how amazing the McLaren 720S is, shall we?

Some (very) minor imperfections

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

First, the build quality of the interior could be improved–rattles could be heard coming from the instrument display cluster, and the door grip flexed when grasped.

Next, the 720S has more major blindspots than the McLaren GT , which was easy to see out of. Finally, the infotainment system doesn't have the most friendly-to-use interface, and the lack of steering wheel controls exacerbates that problem.

That sums up the issues I have with the 720S. Honestly, it's all pretty trivial stuff. I mean, can you really say you own a British sports car if it doesn't have a few squeaks and rattles? Furthermore, considering the 720S's form factor, you'd expect the car to be way harder to see out of.

And would you really want to have steering wheel controls getting in the way when you're driving the car hard?

Speaking of driving the car hard...

A clinically precise drive

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

Flick the settings into track mode on the adaptive dynamics panel, and the instrument cluster folds down, sliding away to reveal a slim screen in its place. Only the most essential information, such as the speed, rev indicator, gear, and shift lights are displayed in this slit of a screen for track use.

Apart from providing a better view ahead for improved driver focus, this nifty feature also makes you feel like you're piloting the Batmobile, flicking switches and transforming the car. Or maybe that's just the seven-year-old in me talking. Now on to the proper driving.

Throw the 720S into the bends and it reveals a very well set-up suspension, keeping the car solidly hunkered down, but well-damped enough to not throw it off course when encountering road imperfections.

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

The electro-hydraulic power steering is also perfectly weighted–so much that I don't even recall feeling any artificial sensation of power assistance at any speed.

Steering the 720S feels almost telepathic: the steering isn't unnecessarily heavy, nor is it overly assisted to make steering inputs needlessly sensitive.

Combined with the Alcantara sports seats that wedge you comfortably in place, the driver is able to feel every minute change in road and grip conditions. It gives the driver all the feel and feedback necessary to have absolute confidence in driving the 720S hard.

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

The McLaren 720S really does drive in a very predictable manner, as it handles exactly the way one expects up to the limits of grip.

Even when one does lose traction in the rear, the 720S doesn't snap out of line abruptly, and the amazing chassis still provides the driver with confidence to easily maintain or recover from the slide.

Clinically precise = Drama-free?

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

Don't make the mistake of thinking that the 720S's ease of driving and predictable handling means it is drama free, though.

For one, McLaren has a Variable Drift Control (VDC) system on the 720S that allows you to select exactly what slip angle to maintain before the traction control kicks in. I can't report on that, though, as VDC is a system best tested in a closed environment like on a track.

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

What I can tell you, however, is that the 720S can easily lose traction if you want it to. Make no mistake, the tremendous V8 engine in the 720S has oodles of power to give at any part of its rev range.

Regardless of speed, poking the throttle hard will generate some wheel spin before the 720S catches back some traction, so it's not as though the McLaren 720S is only clinically precise to the point of being sedate, but more that it can be chucked around any way you like in a manner that's easy to control.

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

Despite the McLaren 720S sharing many engine components with the GT, power delivery feels far more linear, unlike in the GT, where there is a noticeable turbo lag before the power properly kicks in.

This gives the 720S a whole different experience compared to the GT. In the 720S, the driver is able to better expect the amount of power that the 720S has on tap, which contributes to the predictability of the car's throttle control and handling.

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

In sum, the clinical precision of the 720S doesn't mean that it doesn't have any drama. Some cars make your heart skip a beat by challenging you to catch unexpected slides and keeping you on edge the entire time.

In the case of the McLaren 720S, what you get is a blank canvas to create all the drama you want by thrashing it hard, or drifting it if you want, and you get to do so in the confidence that the 720S won't turn around to bite you and catch you out all of a sudden.

To me, that's proper fun.

Daily driving

 PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

Once you're done hooning the car about, the 720S will also be happy to be driven as a cruiser. When you're wringing it out hard, the 720S will put itself in second gear at 60km/h. But put it in comfort and it'll be barely ticking over 1,000 rpm in sixth gear.

Once you're done hooning the car about, the 720S will also be happy to be driven as a cruiser. When you're wringing it out hard, the 720S will put itself in second gear at 60km/h. But put it in comfort and it'll be barely ticking over 1,000 rpm in sixth gear.

Furthermore, the 720S also comes with practical features like a lift kit, ensuring it can tackle large humps and steep car park slopes. It also has 150 litres of luggage capacity upfront and 210 litres of space at the rear.

Sure, the 720S isn't as comfortable as McLaren's "daily supercar", the GT, but I'm really impressed that it isn't all that far off from the GT either, considering how perfect of a track weapon the 720S is.

PHOTO: Instagram/jabariphotos

Specs

Price:

From $1,043,000 (Without COE)

Performance:

Engine: 3,994 cc Twin-Turbocharged V8

Power: 710bhp @ 7,250rpm

Torque: 770nm @ 5,500rpm

Fuel Consumption: 8.2 km/L

0-100km/h: 2.9 seconds

Top Speed: 341km/h

Drivetrain: 7-Speed + Reverse Seamless Shift Gearbox (SSG); Rear-Wheel Drive

Brakes: All-Round Ventilated Disc Brakes

Measurements:

Wheelbase: 2,670mm

Dimensions (LxWxH): 4,543mm x 2,161mm x 1,196mm

Fuel Tank Capacity: 72l

Boot Capacity: 360l (Combined)

Features:

Auto Headlights

Auto Wipers

Cruise Control

Electric Memory Seats

Reverse Camera

Keyless Entry

Prices are accurate at the time of writing.

This article was first published in Motorist.