So, what defines a supercar? Eye-widening performance? Looks that make it suitable for bedroom wall decoration? A high price-tag? A certain tantalizing je ne sais quoi that however hard you try you can’t quite pin down? The McLaren 720S has all these in abundance and is the definitive supercar of 2017, a hugely impressive feat given the competition from the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini.
But behind all the supercar essentials the McLaren also brings a level of everyday usability that’s, quite frankly, astonishing. How is it that it has a near-perfect driving position and the sort of visibility that puts a BMW 3-series to shame? And it rides better than many luxury GTs and doesn’t have an engine that’ll leave your ears in tatters after a cruise up the motorway. So, is it really a supercar… aren’t they meant to be no compromise, balls out road racers?
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That’s the thing about the 720S, it can do that too. With 710bhp on tap it’s mind-warpingly fast and to fully appreciate its ferocity you need to switch off the traction control and feel the full effect that twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8 has on its rear Pirellis as hurls itself towards the horizon. As it repeated chases down the red-line that V8 takes on a more rabid nature as the 720S knocks off the 0-100mph dash in less than six seconds.
As you’d expect from a McLaren it’s dynamically brilliant and has the sort of looks that will make owners Instagram stars every time they manoeuvre their cars out of the garage. It’s ruthlessly high-tech and modern yet doesn’t slavishly follow the normal supercar conventions. It’s a dramatic-looking car, perhaps not one you immediately fall for, but one which you grow to love over time as you absorb its detailing and high-tech cockpit.
That McLaren Automotive has been able to achieve all this in a scant six years is nothing short of incredible. From Johnny come lately to best in class, especially when you consider the class contains some of the brightest ever pupils is nothing short of sensational.
Ferrari 488 GTB: for its stunning lag-free V8, balanced chassis, monumental pace and everyday usability.
Lamborghini Huracán Performante: for its naturally aspirated V10, shattering soundtrack, high limits and chassis poise.
evo cars of the year
Supermini: Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport
Hot hatch: Honda Civic Type R
Sports saloon: Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce
Supersaloon: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Sports car: Lotus Elise Sport 220
Coupe: BMW M4 Competition Pack
SUV: Porsche Macan GTS
Supercar: McLaren 720S
Hypercar: Bugatti Chiron
Car of the year: McLaren 720S