McLaren 720S - One Month In

We have owned the McLaren 720S for a little over 2 months now. However, reality is we have only spent a month together as we were off in the mountains for half the time. To make matters even a bit more challenging, Mrs. SSO has taken a distinct liking to the 720S so seat time on my end has been in short supply. However, when I have been able to steal away with the key, the experience has been superb.

The 720S is the first all new Super Series model from McLaren since the launch of the original 12C back in 2011. While the 650S improved on the 12C in a whole host of ways, the improvements were both subtle & incremental. The core P11 series architecture remained the same. The 720S is a completely new car and you know it the minute you plunk yourself down in the driver’s seat. While all the 21st century McLaren road cars up to this point followed the same interior and controls layout, the 720S breaks from that set up. Initially I hated it. Many of the controls have been moved so finding what is now where was a bit of a pain. However, after a few days the new layout became much more intuitive and is actually more logical. In addition, the center infotainment system has been completely reconfigured and the functionality greatly upgraded. Infotainment systems have not been a McLaren strength to date but the one in the 720S is a significant improvement over the old IRIS system. The other major change is to the main instrument cluster. The 720S is fitted with a folding driver’s display that provides either basic information when retracted or the standard suite of info when fully open. Personally, I quite like minimalist retracted mode with fewer distractions.

The engine has been bored out to 4.0 liters and bhp is now over 700. While the 650S is a very quick car by any standards, it’s on a highway on ramp that the performance delta between the two models jumps out. The 720S just explodes towards the horizon when you mash the right-hand pedal. Personally, I don’t think there is much in it between the P1 & 720S. The 720S doesn’t deliver its performance with quite the same drama as the 675 LT but it’s definitely the quicker car and easier to live with on a daily basis. Ride quality, which has always been a McLaren strong suit, remains excellent and if anything, you now feel more connected to the road. I have yet to run into a road surface which the 720S was not able to handle. Grip is outstanding, and it generates a huge amount of confidence. Despite trying, to date I have not been able to get the rear to move off line. Steering weight is excellent, and the car goes immediately to where it is pointed.

In terms of what I would call livability, the 720S has moved the game along nicely. Getting in and out are now significantly easier vs. the 650S with a narrower sill and roof hinged doors. The cabin feels much roomier which is further enhanced by the highly recommended optional glass roof panels. Interior storage space has also been improved and even the charging port in the boot is now in a more logical location.

In summary, the 720S is huge leap forward for McLaren, not just in performance but across just about every dimension. Given how good the 650S is, delivering a game changer in the 720S is a major accomplishment.

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January 2018

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2 Thoughts on McLaren 720S – Month 1
    Lisa Smith
    23 Jan 2018

    Nice review, I’m laughing at your comment about Mrs SSO taking a liking to the new 720S, limiting your seat time. We have the same issue in our 570S. Having only driven the 720S once myself, you nailed it “generates a huge amount of confidence,” – I had the same feeling. Congrats and enjoy the ride. ??


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