2018 McLaren 720S First Drive

Posted on May 8 2017 - 5:42am by Lisa Chan

Driving, insist the folks at McLaren, is a pastime that should be invested in and improved. And they’re true to their word: Invest $285,794 in the 2018 McLaren 720S, and you’ll probably find yourself driving smoother and faster than you ever have before, both on the track and on your favorite quiet back road. This new McLaren is as scintillatingly quick as you’d expect a 710-hp supercar to be.

2018 McLaren 720S

But with all that power comes a chassis that both flatters and encourages drivers, regardless of their ability behind the wheel. Push yourself, and the 720S responds. More importantly, though, it supports, as well. It’s like the gifted teacher who can bring out the best in every student in the class.

The hot setup for rapid road progress is to leave the suspension in either Comfort or Sport—depending on how rough the road—switch the engine/transmission mode to Track, and shift manually. Thus configured, the 720S is blisteringly quick, effortlessly telescoping time and space no matter how twisty the tarmac gets. The engine’s thrust is simply epic, and the lightning-quick Track mode gearshifts are almost seamless. The front end grips like a leech, and the rear tracks faithfully no matter how much the pavement heaves.

But it’s on the smooth tarmac at Vallelunga, in cars fitted with the optional Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, that the McLaren 720S delivers a master class in making you a better driver. In addition to increased downforce, the 720S has more mechanical grip than the 650S. It arrows through high-speed sweepers like it’s on rails, and stability under heavy braking is truly impressive. But for all that, the chassis is superbly responsive to steering and throttle inputs. Especially throttle inputs.

The 720S is the clearest expression yet of McLaren’s approach to the art of the supercar, overlaying key performance fundamentals—low weight, high responsiveness, balance, grip, power—with technologies that allow owners to progressively peel away electronic support systems as their confidence grows to discover the purest possible driving experience.