When British supercar builder McLaren set about creating the successor to the popular 650S, the exotic brand did the usual: It cut weight, boosted power and ushered in a new design language.
But the redesigned 720S also sweats the small stuff, bringing with it changes to minutiae that McLaren gleaned in the six years since it first launched the 12C, which was succeeded by the 650S.
The production version of the 720S -- the cornerstone of McLaren’s Super Series lineup -- was introduced Tuesday at the Geneva auto show. It slots between the more basic Sport Series (570S and 570GT) that’s in the realm of a Porsche 911 Turbo S or Audi R8 and the stratospheric Ultimate Series of P1 hybrid hypercar fame.
Powering the 720S is a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. Essentially a heavily updated version (40 percent new) of the 3.8-liter unit McLaren uses throughout its lineup of supercars, this iteration makes 710 hp (which is 720 metric hp, hence its name) and 568 pounds-feet of torque.
Zero to 60 mph happens in 2.8 seconds -- an enviable feat for a rear-wheel-drive car -- while the standing quarter mile ticks by in 10.3 seconds. Power is routed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The 720S is about 40 pounds lighter than a comparable 650S that it replaces, weighing in at 2,829 pounds. The car uses a new, lighter carbon-fiber tub, revised suspension system and aluminum and composite body panels.
With six years of dealer and customer feedback on the 12C and 650S, McLaren also focused on details that had been frustrations.
This included more attention to interior fit and finish, easier ingress and egress thanks to wider door openings and thinner door sills, increased visibility and even more cargo space behind the two seats and in the front-mounted trunk area.
The interior also boasts a slick folding digital instrument panel. When open, it displays the normal information: tachometer, trip computer, speed, etc. Drivers headed to the track looking for greater outward visibility can hit a button to fold the display screen down to a minimalist setting that shows just the tach, speed and gear selection.
The 720S also promises a variable drift mode accessed through the infotainment screen that uses a slider bar to adjust the car's drift angle.
The 720S will hit U.S. showrooms beginning in June and is expected to start at $284,745, plus an unknown shipping charge.