Call me a snob, but the Lamborghinis and Ferraris of today just haven’t been doing it for me. I read the (impressive) stats and move on, forgetting them as soon as I look away from the page. Sure, they’re exotic and expensive, but there’s just something missing—something that feels suspiciously like that extra zing that makes a supercar a supercar. The new 2018 McLaren 720S feels like it’s honed in on exactly that.
We got an early look at the new McLaren 720S right before its Geneva Motor Show debut, and you can go on a video tour of the car above with Mark Vinnels, McLaren’s executive director of program development.
Before we get into the technical details, I can tell you it is definitely striking in person: low and wide, with more cutouts in it than a red-carpet dress. Actually, it kind of looks like a car dressing up as a ghost by throwing a sheet over itself with cut-out eyeholes.
The reason for all the cutouts and holes lies in aerodynamics. Rather than a big wing, McLaren engineers thought up clever ways to funnel air all over the body of the car to keep it stuck to the pavement. The doors have two panels that direct the cold air rushing over the nose of the car and the hot air coming from the wheels.
The all-new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, with its astronomically high 8,500-RPM redline, has been honed in part to sound good. For theater. Because that is so much what a supercar is about.
It’ll also hit 60 mph from a standstill in just 2.8 seconds.
When open, the doors have a very McLaren F1-esque look to them. The butterfly-style also includes some of the roof in the door structure, which leaves a supporting beam running down the center of the new MonoCage II chassis.
This beam is perhaps one of the most interesting things about the 720S and the new Super Series generation. Previous modern McLarens used the MonoCell monocoque, which lacked that beam. As a result, McLaren said that the Spider versions of those cars were just as stiff as the coupes. How would the new MonoCage II work with a convertible?
“We will be creating a Spider variant,” Vinnels told me, “but I can’t divulge the details of how just yet…”
He also told me that the 720S also introduces the second-generation of McLaren’s hydraulic suspension that’s found in the outgoing 650S and P1—but improved:
“It has additional sensors on the uprights and dampers which act as accelerometers as well as measuring the pressure in the dampers themselves,” he said. “This all generates better real time data of the road conditions, and as a result the additional computation power can then adjust the suspension to maximize grip.”
The car is available to order now, with deliveries expected in May. The price? £208,600, or approximately $256,000.
For all its engineering nerdiness, the new 720S manages to roll everything into an incredibly exciting package. They pulled the sheet off of it and I made a noise that sounded halfway between admiration and like I had just received a kick in the gut. I don’t remember the last time seeing a car made me do that. I’m excited to see where it will take McLaren next.
Now I’ve just got to drive one.