When, in 2010, Ron Dennis proudly revealed the MP4-12C at Woking and proclaimed that he could scientifically prove that it was better than the competition in every parameter, it not only articulated McLaren’s approach to engineering, but created a stick with which to beat its first home-grown supercar since the F1. Supercars have to be about more than just science, they have to appeal to your other senses – they have to tug on your heartstrings and spike your adrenal glands. In short, they have to have soul, and, while impressive, the 12C always struggled with its science-over-emotions approach.
With the mid-life refresh in 2014 which gave us the 650S, the science was still present but the emotional element had been dialled up. However, for many, the 650S was still too clinical, the result of a very impressive science project, not a work of visceral art. Not least when compared with the naturally aspirated Ferrari 458 Speciale. But then came the 675LT, Woking’s answer to Maranello’s finest and a car that unequivocally proved McLaren had not just mastered the science, but could deliver soul as well.
Three years on, and the 720S arrives as an articulation of the very best of what McLaren Automotive stands for today – scientific development pushed to the very boundaries of understanding in the pursuit of performance, combined with a deep-rooted passion to deliver more of the X-factor that takes a supercar from “just” ballistically fast to emotive, engaging and enjoyable.
The science still runs deep. Take, for instance, Proactive Chassis Control II: a system for which the algorithm was developed over the past six years by the greatest minds at Cambridge University. It reads the road and processes it with a level of detail that remains incomprehensible to us mere mortals. But the 720S is more than a complex set of algorithms. It delivers the visceral too and it does it in a way that feels unique to McLaren and is a rolling articulation of the infectious passion of the entire team at Woking.
Britain has a proper home-grown cuttingedge supercar creator that is set to push the boundaries for years to come and that is very good news for UK plc and everyone reading this magazine.
Enjoy the issue,
085 McLaren 720S