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McLaren 720S not just about numbers

By Scott Newman, 22 Jun 2017 News

2017 McLaren 720S

Driver engagement now the key according to McLaren

As supercars get ever faster, overall driver engagement will be the key going forward according to McLaren.

The McLaren 720S resets the supercar performance benchmark, its 530kW/770Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 resulting in eye-popping acceleration claims of 0-100km/h in 2.9sec, 0-200km/h in 7.8sec and a 10.3sec quarter mile.

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British publication Autocar recently independently tested the 720S, recording 0-97km/h (60mph) in 2.9sec, 0-193km/h (120mph) in 7.4sec and a 10.4sec quarter mile at 231km/h.

These numbers put clear air between the 720S and its main rival, the Ferrari 488 GTB, which recorded 0-100km/h in 3.3sec, 0-200km/h in 9.6sec and an 11.0sec quarter mile at 214.1km/h at Performance Car of the Year last year.

Autocar’s Ferrari figures were slightly better at 0-97km/h in 3.0sec, 0-193km/h in 8.6sec and a 10.9sec quarter mile at 220.4km/h.

McLaren-720S-racing.jpgSuch outrageous speed begs the question of what’s next? How far can supercar performance be pushed? MOTOR put the question to McLaren Asia-Pacific’s Managing Director, George Biggs, at the recent Australian reveal of the 720S.

“You talk about performance; now there’s high-speed performance and there’s also low-speed performance, so it’s about how you can engage and enjoy the car,” said Biggs.

“Yes, everyone likes to stand behind fast numbers and for us the 0-200km/h number is really important, because that shows the performance of the car from an aerodynamic, chassis balance and obviously grip and power [perspective].

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“But it’s not about the fastest track times necessarily, it’s about can you enjoy [the car] on a daily basis? So for us let’s wrap it round into driver engagement and enjoyment rather than overall performance, but obviously some of those key figures for us are quite important.”

Nonetheless, Biggs explained the current crop of supercars is more or less at the limit of what’s achievable for the traditional 0-100km/h benchmark: “If you look at the 0-100km/h across this segment it’s going to be anywhere between 2.8-3.0sec; the reality is that we’re now restricted by friction and the power you can get through the wheels so now you’re looking at 0-200km/h.

McLaren-720S-rear.jpg“One of the things that is outstanding on this car are the brakes; if you look at some of the reviews they’ve actually started talking about not only the animal-type acceleration but also the way that it can shed speed.

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“I think probably traditionally there’s been a male ego about numbers but now it’s about how we can build that overall rounded car that can be enjoyable both road, track or anywhere you choose to drive it. From a human perspective it’s about what they’re trying to get from the machine – they’re using it for a purpose.”

The McLaren 720S is now on-sale in Australia priced from $489,900.