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McLaren 720S review – the new supercar benchmark - Engine and gearbox

Wild looks, warp speed acceleration, delicious handling balance and surprising civility mark out the remarkable 720S

Evo rating
  • Superb ride and handling, scorching performance and everyday usability
  • Engine note could do with some more character

Engine and gearbox

The new ‘M840T’ 4-litre version of the flat-plane crank V8 is the first up-sizing of the engine that has already seen service in the brand’s earlier models. Yet it’s more than a capacity increase, as around 41 per cent of the unit comprises new parts. For starters, there are lighter pistons and connecting rods and a stiffer crankshaft, while the turbochargers (twin scroll, capable of 160,000rpm) and intercoolers are all new. Also included is McLaren’s Port Fuel Injection, which doubles the injector count from eight to 16, effectively giving each cylinder it’s own injection. As a result, compared with the 3.8 in the 650S, power goes up almost 70bhp and torque by 68lb ft, with headline figures of 710bhp and 568lb ft, which is more than adequate.

This engine is mated to an uprated version of the brand’s SSG (Seamless-Shift Gearbox) seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Changes can be delivered automatically, or manually via the steering wheel paddles, which unlike rival set-ups have a Formula 1 style ‘rocker’ installation that allows you to change up and down gears on both paddles.

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