McLaren 720S review – interior and tech
Great to look at and sit in, and provided you don’t focus too much on the smaller controls, great to use too
It’s a tale of two parts inside the 720S. On the one hand, this is a clean, modern and comfortable cabin with some fabulous details and a view of the road almost unsurpassed among supercars. On the other, McLaren’s vision of in-car entertainment still lags sorely behind that of rivals.
Good stuff first. Enter through the dramatic butterfly doors (you’ll find the microswitch behind the upper edge of the sinuous air intake) and you’re presented first with a reasonably chunky carbon sill to step over, and then an artfully designed and well-trimmed cabin. With a huge range of personalisation available there’s little point in commenting on individual material or colour choices, suffice to say the cars we’ve driven so far have all felt absolutely appropriate for the class.
Several elements are as close to perfect as you’re likely to find. The driving position is generally excellent, with a slim-rimmed wheel ahead of you, shapely seats, and a panoramic view thanks to the glassy cockpit. The view forward isn’t unlike that of a Lotus (or an old Honda NSX), with a low scuttle and, thanks to the stiff carbon structure, fairly slim forward pillars.
The two pedals are arranged in such a way that left-foot braking is encouraged, which may take a little getting used to for some drivers, though right-foot braking certainly isn’t out of the question even if there’s been some compromise made on the brake’s location. The two seats are positioned either side of a fairly slim centre tunnel, but it’s not so tight you’ll rub shoulders with your passenger – and the vertically stacked controls on the narrow centre console look neat.
Directly in front is a digital screen for all the vital functions, while Track mode rotates this unit to a slim bar-graph with only the essentials. There’s another screen though on the dashboard, and it’s this that may cause some issues. There’s little wrong with it aesthetically, but McLaren’s ‘Iris’ infotainment set-up is just a little tricky to navigate, slow to respond and occasionally unreliable, and while you do get physical hot keys to swap menus, it’s still a nuisance controlling minor functions through the screen.
There are a few other ergonomic issues too. The spoon-like controls behind the wheel for functions such as cruise control and the car’s nose lift never seem to operate the same way twice, while McLaren’s driving mode arrangements – two, four-position rotary dials, which operate differently depending on whether the Active button between them is pressed – are borderline unfathomable.