British sports carmaker McLaren unveiled its new-generation 720S for the first time in Australia this week, showing not only an evolution of the company's design language, but also a raft of new technologies that put it ahead of the game - according to George Biggs, managing director for McLaren Automotive's Asia Pacific arm.
“We’ve come a long way in the six years that we’ve been up and running – take the 12C in 2011 to where we are today. And while it’s been an exciting six years, it’s about the right time for us to step the game on in terms of our technology and what we deliver to the market.
“Our design language is evolving and nowhere is that more obvious than with our second-generation Super Series car, the McLaren 720S. And if you look for performance and speed, then the 720S performs in a segment above its price point and positioning.
“If you take the latest super sports car from Lamborghini, the Aventador S ($788,914 plus on-roads), our car is faster overall. While both cars are capable of going from 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds, the 720S is a full second quicker to 200km/h (7.8 sec Vs 8.8 sec) and yet, the McLaren is priced from $489,900”, Biggs added.
The 720S uses a reworked version of McLaren’s staple twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8, enlarging the displacement to 4.0-litres – thereby producing a whopping 530kW of power at 7500 rpm and 770Nm of torque at 5500 rpm through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission driving the rear wheels.
“But for us at McLaren, it's more about engagement and driveability, and that’s what we’re looking at. It’s not about pure lap times and speed, rather, it’s about how you can get in the car, enjoy it, so it will keep giving you more and more, as you get used to it.
“Moreover, our goal at McLaren is to produce the best driver’s cars on the planet, full stop. And at this level in the segment, there are no other cars that use a full carbon-fibre chassis like the 720S, or indeed all our production cars,” Biggs outlined.
“It’s a key consideration in this market, and one that one gives us the stability and the kind of core under which we can put greater power and greater torque through the powertrain,” he added.
In terms of ride and handling, the 720S uses a linked hydraulic system dubbed Proactive Chassis Control II, which is able control the roll and pitch of the car very effectively, while maximising the contact patch of the tyres at all times.
“It’s technology that we’ve not seen before at McLaren, and the result of findings from a five-year PhD study from Cambridge University. The system increases grip, thereby enabling more efficient use of even more power and torque on track, as well as our maintaining our trademark magic carpet ride on the road.
“Our main objective at McLaren is to become the ultimate driver’s car, and we are using cutting-edge technology to try and achieve that. To that cause, we’re looking at every element of the driving experience in order to understand how we can make it an even better, and the Folding Driver Display is just one example of this.
“When you’re on a track, you want to focus on your braking point, turn-in point, exit point and when to get back on the power.
"So, at the touch of a button, or linked to a particular drive mode, the central display screen folds under, exposing a slimline display with minimal information, like revs, what gear you’re in and fuel gauge and nothing else; allowing you to simply focus on driving the car”, Biggs explained.