McLaren Automotive has unveiled the first of its second-generation Super Series models in Australia, launching the 720S supercar at an event in Melbourne.
Just three months after its global unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show, Australia’s first 720S has landed on local soil. George Biggs, McLaren’s Asia Pacific managing director, unveiled the new mid-engined model announcing its $489,000 (plus on-roads) price tag.
With 530kW of power and 770Nm of torque from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine - a derivative of its predecessor's 3.8-litre engine - the 720S is capable of bolting from 0-100 km.h in 2.9 seconds and to 200 km/h in 7.8 seconds.
Those figures put it ahead of the Ferrari 488 GTB which manages 492kW and 760Nm from a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V8 and takes 0.1 seconds longer to reach 100km/h and 0.5 seconds longer to hit 200 km/h but costs around $20,000 less.
“Australia is a key market for McLaren and the response to the new 720S has been phenomenal and mirrored the response around the globe,” Biggs said.
“True to McLaren’s pioneering spirit, the McLaren 720S is a revolutionary leap forward, a high-performance supercar that is both thrilling to drive and striking to look at.”
Some of the revolutionary leaps Mr. Biggs is refering to include an new all-carbon Monocage II structure which replaces the part carbon fibre, part aluminium construction of the first Generation Super Series cars and brings the second-gen model into line with the McLaren P1 hypercar.
Also included on the new model is a feature called Variable Drift Control, which as the name suggests allow the driver to select the maximum drift angle they wish to achieve by holding the car at its maximum angle and braking individual rear wheels to keep the car pointing forward.
The system is an extension of McLaren Brake Steer, a system originally developed for use in Formula One which sees the 720S go without a mechanical limited slip differential, instead using the brakes to trim the inside rear wheel in corners and transfer power to the outside rear wheel to reduce understeer.
Perhaps the most obvious change to the 720S compared with its 650S forbear (which launched in 2014) is the absence of intakes in the bodyside, with McLaren adopting an outer skin for the 720S’ bodywork which channels air towards the radiators through a small intake hidden at the top of the rear quarter panels, giving the car a distinctive profile amongst mid-engined supercars.
Also sure to stir some controversy, the 720S features a new face with a black mask surrounding the adaptive LED headlights and running lights, ditching the previous McLaren-logo look of the brand’s other models in favour of a face that looks more like the protagonist from a Tim Burton claymation film.
Hidden within the 720S’ eye sockets are additional air intakes, allowing smaller intakes in the lower front bumper, with the blackout mask treatment also applied to the cabin giving the appearance of an all-glass canopy to the teardrop-shaped roof.
Active aerodynamics are once again included, as is three-mode adaptive suspension. McLaren also offers an new 8.0-inch touchscreen interior command centre, and a new Folding Driver display which functions as either a full digital instrument cluster or an ‘essentials-only’ speedo and tacho when folded. Bowers and Wilkins audio, 360-degree cameras, and an illuminated engine bay are also available.
Anoop Arjun, McLaren’s regional sales manager, revealed that so far only the one car has made it into the country for promotional duties and customer events, with the first customer delivery expected to take place in the third quarter of 2017.
The 720S is built at McLaren’s Woking, England facility, and production will be capped by that factory’s ability to produce a maximum of 5000 cars per year. From the 720S coupe, McLaren is expected to add a convertible Spider version with the second-generation car the first of 15 new variants slated across McLaren’s three-model Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series ranges.
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