The mid-engine McLaren 720S competes against some serious players, namely the Lamborghini Huracán, Aston Martin DBS, and Ferrari F8 Tributo, 296GTB, and 812 Superfast. But no worries; this is an automaker with a Formula 1 racing pedigree. How much technology transfer from racing actually occurs is up for debate, but the company’s competition spirit inhabits this sinuous two-seater. Its performance matches its looks, which strike a deft balance between elegant and fiercely athletic. The 710-hp, twin-turbo V-8 and dual-clutch transmission partner up for a 60 mph time of well under 3 seconds, and build enough momentum to rocket the car passed the quarter-mile marker in under 10.5 seconds at over 140 mph. It’s got phenomenal grip and agility, too, but doesn’t punish its passengers on imperfect roads. Its shortcomings are few, so those who have the means to purchase a 720S will almost certainly be thrilled with its exotic looks and equally exotic performance. It will be missed.
What’s New for 2023?
Changes to the McLaren 720S for the 2023 model year include the addition of two new exterior color options— Storm Grey and Volcano Yellow—as well as a branded armrest option. The automaker has also introduced a three-year service plan. This is the final year of the 720S, as production of this McLaren supercar ended in December 2022.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Most convertible supercars are compromised by more weight and less rigidity, but the 720S Spider is hardly affected at all. Despite the retractable hardtop adding some weight, the Spider is just as quick as the coupe, and its open-air cockpit enhances the driving experience. We’d choose it in the Performance spec, with its carbon-fiber exterior addenda and racy interior upgrades. Likewise, we’d select the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires for maximum stick and the electrochromic glass roof. Personalization options are extensive and subjective, so the only other add-ons we’d want are the front and rear parking sensors, front-end vehicle lift, and McLaren Track Telemetry with its lap-time recorder and three cameras.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Both the coupe and convertible version cradle a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that produces 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. Those totals are funneled through a paddle-shifted seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The 720S coupe we tested at our track rocketed to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds and reached 100 mph in 5.2 ticks. We also had the opportunity to pilot a similar version at our annual Lightning Lap, where we called it “wonderfully fun and scary fast.” We drove one on a twisting and ill-maintained road in California, where its advanced suspension was able to smooth out imperfections and the steering system was a communicative companion. The experience was further evidence that McLaren has unrivaled chassis tuning.
More on the 720S Coupe & Convertible
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
According to the EPA, the 720S is rated for 15 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 18 mpg combined. While ratings for the 2023 model year have not yet been released, we expect them to remain the same since no mechanical changes have been made to the mid-engine machine. However, we expect its real-world fuel economy to vary drastically depending on how much time it spends with its throttle wide open.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The core of every 720S is its carbon-fiber tub that helps limit weight and ensure rigidity, all while protecting passengers. Contained within this lightweight structure is a two-seat cabin that caters to the driver. While its interior design is less flashy than rivals from Ferrari and Lamborghini, the aesthetic is pleasing, and outward visibility is excellent. Sure, it can be a pain to escape from the low-slung seating position, but that’s standard supercar procedure. The cabin can be outfitted with a variety of premium materials and bespoke options. Don’t expect ample space to store small items in the 720’s cabin but at least there is a luggage compartment under the hood.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every 720S is fitted with a vertically oriented 7.0-inch touchscreen that includes conventional features such as Bluetooth, a four-speaker audio system, and two USB ports. Those who want a more powerful audio system to drown out the sound of this six-figure supercar’s twin-turbo V-8 wail can upgrade to a 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins unit. There’s also an optional track-data recorder (called McLaren Track Telemetry) with or without three exterior cameras to save lap times and relive moments at the racetrack.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 720S does not offer any traditional driver-assistance technology but can be equipped with several useful options that help keep it free of dents and scratches. For more information about the 720S’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key driver assists include:
- Available front and rear parking sensors
- Available front-end-lift system
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
McLaren offers a standard warranty plan that spans three years with no mileage limit. In addition, the automaker has added a three-year service plan to new-car purchases beginning with the 2023 model year. Extended coverage of up to 12 years with a limit of 12,000 miles per year is also available.
- Limited warranty covers three years and unlimited miles
- Powertrain warranty covers three years and unlimited miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2019 McLaren 720S Spider
mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door convertible
PRICE AS TESTED
$411,300 (base price: $319,100)
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
244 cu in, 3994 cc
710 hp @ 7500 rpm
568 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode
Suspension (F/R): control arms/control arms
Brakes (F/R): 15.4-in vented, cross-drilled, carbon-ceramic disc/15.0-in vented, cross-drilled, carbon-ceramic disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4, F: 245/35R-19 (93Y) R: 305/30R-20 (103Y)
Wheelbase: 105.1 in
Length: 178.9 in
Width: 76.0 in
Height: 47.1 in
Passenger volume: 47 cu ft
Cargo volume, top up/down: 7/5 cu ft
Curb weight: 3343 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 2.8 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 5.5 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 8.5 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 3.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 10.3 sec @ 143 mph
Top speed (drag limited, mfr’s claim): 212 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 141 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 1.09 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 12 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/city/highway: 18/15/22 mpg
More Features and Specs