Just seven short years af­ter the com­pany was founded, McLaren Au­to­mo­tive has claimed its first evo Car of the Year ti­tle. Here’s why it is so de­served


TWELVE MONTHS, HUN­DREDS OF TEST CARS, hun­dreds of thou­sands of miles driven – all whit­tled down to ten class win­ners and one evo Car of the Year. Over the last seven years the McLaren Au­to­mo­tive jour­ney has been a flat-out ride to the top. The hur­dles it hit in the early days with the MP4-12C have been cleared and the com­pany’s ex­pan­sion has been noth­ing short of re­mark­able. Since 12C mor­phed into 650S, the Su­per Se­ries range has feared noth­ing the es­tab­lish­ment has sent its way, and the 720S is the cul­mi­na­tion of this con­fi­dence, abil­ity and de­sire to be the best.

Through­out the year the 720S has proved its cre­den­tials at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. From our first drive back in May, con­tribut­ing ed­i­tor John Barker con­cluded: ‘The new gen­er­a­tion Su­per Se­ries McLaren is as­ton­ish­ingly, ef­fort­lessly fast, and re­mark­ably ef­fi­cient. You can cover ground at un­be­liev­able pace in com­plete con­trol, and yet feel oddly un­ex­cited.’ Damn­ing with faint praise? Slightly. But with more ex­po­sure, more time be­hind the wheel and more su­pe­run­leaded fed into its 4-litre V8, the 720S came to us more, got un­der our skin and proved to us why it’s wor­thy of the 2017 crown.

A 3000-kilo­me­tre road-trip had deputy ed Adam Towler con­vinced: ‘Pre­ci­sion is, for me, the 720’s defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic, but by no means its only one. Com­pletely ab­sorb­ing, fright­en­ingly in­tense, life-af­firm­ing, but not in­her­ently scary – ev­ery­thing the car does is de­fined by ab­so­lute pre­ci­sion.’

Steve Sut­cliffe de­scribed the 720S as an in­tense ex­pe­ri­ence when it came to ex­tract­ing a lap time from it: ‘In­sane. Ab­so­lutely, bril­liantly in­sane.’ For evo UK’s new road test ed­i­tor, James Disdale, it was equally en­thralling: ‘It’ll cause no more sweat on the com­mute than an ex­ec­u­tive saloon, but find the right road to fully ex­plore its po­ten­tial and you’ll ex­pe­ri­ence the big­gest hit of undi­luted adren­a­line this side of a base jumper.’

For me the 720S is all of the above, but it’s also what it says about the com­pany, how far it has come and, per­haps cru­cially, what is yet to fol­low. The 720S is the prod­uct of a man­u­fac­turer that hasn’t changed its fo­cus on want­ing to build the most ex­cit­ing, thrilling and best per­for­mance cars it can de­spite any ob­sta­cles it has faced along the way. McLaren Au­to­mo­tive has de­fined it­self as one of the greats, and in the 720S it has created the best of the best: evo’s Car of the Year. ⌧

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