720S ushers in new era for McLaren
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McLaren launched the first model in its second-generation Super Series range, the 720S, in its Auckland showroom this week.
Priced from $436,000, the 720S ushers in a new era for one of the world's youngest car companies after the global success of the first-generation Super Series it replaces.
McLaren burst on to the supercar scene in 2011 with its first Super Series production model, the MP4-12c -- that was McLaren Automotives' genesis.
Three years later the company began to flex its newfound muscle with the 650S. In 2015, McLaren proved its Super Series could foot it with the biggest names in the business with the 330km/h 675LT, the final model released on the first-generation platform.
Officially a 650S replacement, the lighter, faster and smarter 720S forms the new heart of the McLaren super car brand with a new design language and dedication to aerodynamic principles.
Gone are the McLaren kiwi logo-inspired headlamps for new integrated "eye socket" headlamps, that channel air from the front of the car, between the Monocage and dihedral (twin-mounted) doors, where it's funnelled into either cooling ducts or used to produce downforce.
The new M480T engine has increased in capacity from its predecessor to 4.0-litres with the twin-turbocharged unit producing 537kW of power at 7500rpm and 568Nm of torque at 5500rpm.
After the power has been transferred through a seven-speed SSG gearbox, 0-100km/h takes a mere 2.9 seconds, but more impressive is 0-200km/h at 7.8 seconds -- half a second faster than the 720S's natural rival, the Ferrari 488 GTB.
The 720S also features McLaren's newest generation Proactive Chassis Control, new suspension and updated power-assisted, electo-hydraulic steering. Designed to deliver comfort and compliance on the road, and performance on track. Brakes are Carbon Ceramic, there is no steel option.
There is also a new Variable Drift Control system that effectively allows you to choose how much angle you would like the electronics to allow. Think of it like adjusting a volume knob on the traction control system.
Under the skin is McLaren's new lightweight carbon-fibre Monocage II "tub" chassis, to which the front and rear sub-frames are mounted.
The new tub has smaller A, B and C pillars to improve visibility.
The Monocage II also contributes to the 720S' 1283kg dry weight, 18kg lighter than the 650S.
The interior of the 720S is a mixture of fine leather and machined aluminum.
Once in the driver's seat you have an all-new McLaren Driver Interface with all the vehicle's information displayed in a new Folding Driver Display and Central Infotainment screen.
"This isn't really a next generation for McLaren," said George Biggs, managing director for McLaren in the Asia-Pacific region.
"This is more like two and a half generations beyond where we were with the 650S."
The 720S is the first of 15 new McLaren variants to be released in the next six years under the company's Track 22 Business Plan.
After the first-generation Super Series cemented McLaren’s place on the world stage, helping establish an 80 strong dealer network around the world which have sold over 10,000 cars, the second-generation has a lot to live up to.
But on paper, the 720S ticks all the boxes needed to take McLaren to the next level.
The first 720S, in black, was delivered to an Auckland customer this week.
McLaren piquing Kiwi interest
McLaren has performed phenomenally well in the New Zealand market, according to managing director Asia Pacific George Biggs.
Already 18 McLaren supercars have been delivered to local customers this year, and the company experienced 100 per cent growth in worldwide sales last year.
Singapore-based Biggs oversees the sale of more than 500 McLaren road cars a year throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, South Korea and Australasia.
New Zealand is not a large-volume market, but it is one of the most engaged markets in the region, partly because of the Bruce McLaren history.
"We don't judge a market just on the size, but the level of customer interest and the customer experience, and they do that very well here in New Zealand," he said.
He was in Auckland for the McLaren 720S launch.
McLaren Auckland has been named McLaren Automotive Asia Pacific Retailer of the Year for 2016.