McLaren 720S at Geneva Motor Show 2017

It provides a power / weight ratio of more than 500 horsepower per ton.

Say hello to the McLaren 720S, McLaren’s new all-new biturbo V8 racing 710 horsepower in an aluminum / carbon fiber package that weighs just over 2,800 pounds. If this sounds exciting, you should know that it is also an aerodynamic dynamo, and yes, it has fresh dihedral doors.

McLaren says the new 720S is lighter and faster than the outgoing 650S, while being aerodynamically superior. The lack of massive intake side outlets for engine cooling is the obvious difference, but there is more to go on behind the scenes. The air is managed around the A pillars and channeled into the door ducts, where it flows into the gills on either side of the engine. The ingenious design improves engine cooling by 15 percent while also providing additional support force.

The 720S is also helped by an active rear fender that extends the full width of the car and automatically activates if necessary. Its three-position operation includes optimum settings for handling, straight-line speed, and it returns to become a giant air brake that helps with stability as well as stopping distance.

All of this is in line with the company’s carbon fiber carbon fiber bathtub II, which promises light weight with exceptional stiffness. The new design incorporates the roof – something that the first generation of Super Series did not do. Inside, the 720S has an almost minimalist feel with most of the interaction taking place on an eight inch touchscreen. A new foldable driver display is definitely stuff, however, expanding up to offer a traditional look then slimming to display basic information while providing better forward visibility.

Under the 720S is McLaren’s new Proactive Chassis Control II which, among other things, uses hydraulically interconnected shock absorbers on each wheel to completely get rid of the anti-roll bars. Engineers took a pass through the mechanical bits to release 35 pounds of unsprung weight, while revising the geometry of the suspension for better grip and feedback from the driver. A host of sensors send data to a new control system developed at the University of Cambridge, which uses “advanced algorithms” to make the car dance or cruise at the request of the driver. Three suspension modes are available: Comfort, Sport and Track, and because drift is in vogue these days, McLaren offers a new variable drift control system. Once engaged, drivers can choose the level of traction assistance and the desired drift angle. It can be assumed that the 720S does.

Also new is the 4.0-liter V8 biturbo, delivering all its 710 horsepower to the rear wheels via seven-speed paddle-shift gearbox. Based on McLaren’s 3.8-liter engine, the new mill gets lighter pistons and connecting rods, a lighter crankshaft with longer stroke, new turbos, and a host of other improvements. Maximum power reached at 7,500 rounds en route to a 8,200 rpm redline, with 537 pounds of peak torque at a more modest 5,500 rpm. In addition to the gigantic wing / air brake, carbon ceramic disc brakes pull the 720S from 125 miles per hour to a stop in 4.6 seconds.

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