McLaren 720S first drive | The Independent

Let’s not beat around the bush. The new McLaren 720S is mighty, a triumphant new-era car that feels at least a generation and a half on from the 650S model it replaces. The biggest headache the engineers now have is to make evolutionary models that are even better than this, perhaps the best supercar on the planet: as problems go, it’s a rather nice one to have.

Although McLaren is still a young car company, this is nevertheless an almost entirely all-new car, the first of its new breed of models. Even the very innards, its carbonfibre tub, has been completely redesigned, and the engine is now a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 putting out 710bhp.

Suspension is also miraculous: it’s called Proactive Chassis Control which makes it stiff in corners but comfortable on bad roads – all without the need for anti-roll bars. It’s so technologically advanced, it’s way beyond our tiny minds, but it undoubtedly works brilliantly.

You’ll be in no doubt it’s all new the first time you see it. Why? Those front headlights. Yes, they divide opinion, but they are there for aerodynamic reasons figured out by highly intelligent scientists, and they do grow on you the more you see them. Even our hard-to-please videographer admitted they were less bad than when they first saw them. Believe us, this is high praise.

Indeed, it’s swathed in active aerodynamics, including a full-width rear air brake that’s almost a third more effective than before. The body is narrower at the top, to make it slipperier through the air, but it’s certainly not cramped inside – and a revised design of dihedral door makes it easier to get in and out. Visibility is exceptional, and that’s by supermini standards, never mind supercars.

Naturally, McLaren’s perfected the driving position, and while the pop-out instrument binnacle is a bit gimmicky, the rest of the cabin is much higher quality and more contemporary in design. Pity McLaren’s driving controls lack the…

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