McLaren 720S Buyers Guide

The unveiling of the McLaren 720S at the Geneva Autoshow in 2017 marked a significant milestone for the British sports car manufacturer, as it introduced this car as the successor to the successful 650S, setting new standards in the supercar territory. Positioned as a core model in McLaren's Super Series, the 720S has more than exceeded expectations, reinforcing the brand's commitment to innovation and performance.

Featuring a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, the 720S showcases McLaren's engineering capabilities with its power output and refined aerodynamics. This powerhouse is mated with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, ensuring a seamless flow of power to the wheels and a driving experience that's both exhilarating and precise.

The McLaren 720S has a design philosophy that carries form and function in a manner that's both breathtaking and scientifically precise. Its sleek silhouette, defined by sharp lines and sweeping curves, is unmistakably McLaren, mixing sophistication and raw power.

The design is not just for show; every curve and angle serves to cut through the air with minimal resistance, enhancing the car's aerodynamic efficiency and performance.

One of the most visually striking is its iconic dihedral doors. These doors, which open upwards in a graceful, arc-like motion, are not only a hallmark of McLaren’s design language but also a functional masterpiece. This distinctive door mechanism enhances the vehicle's accessibility, making getting in and out a seamless experience, even in tighter parking spaces.

The upward-opening doors contribute significantly to the 720S's dramatic presence, turning heads whenever they are deployed.

Stepping inside the 720S, one is greeted by an interior that is adorned with high-quality Nappa leather, carbon fiber, and Alcantara trim finishing.. The cabin is a testament to McLaren's meticulous attention to detail, offering a perfect mix of comfort and performance-oriented design. 

Advanced technology is at the heart of the 720S's cabin, featuring an innovative folding driver display that offers both a comprehensive mode for cruising and a streamlined mode for performance driving, ensuring vital information is always at the driver's glance.

Borrowing from its rich Formula 1 heritage, McLaren incorporates cutting-edge materials and technology, making the 720S not just a supercar for the track but a remarkably usable vehicle for everyday driving. Its integration of advanced infotainment systems and driver assistance features further cements its status as a supercar that does not sacrifice comfort for performance.

The McLaren 720S offers an advanced, adaptive suspension system and a trio of driving modes that together elevate the driving experience. This dynamic combination allows drivers to tailor the car's performance characteristics to match the driving conditions or their personal preferences, making the 720S as versatile as it is exhilarating to drive.

The Proactive Chassis Control II system is an innovative suspension setup that uses sophisticated algorithms to predict and react to road conditions, driver inputs, and cornering forces in real-time. This system ensures an optimal balance between comfort and performance, providing a smooth ride during leisurely cruises and tightening up for more aggressive driving scenarios.

Complementing the suspension are the three distinct driving modes: Comfort, Sport, and Track. Each mode adjusts the car's suspension stiffness, throttle response, shift points, and traction control settings to suit different driving environments:

  • Comfort Mode: Engineered for everyday driving, offering a softer suspension setup and a more relaxed throttle response, making the 720S surprisingly comfortable for a supercar, even over longer distances or on less-than-perfect road surfaces.
  • Sport Mode: Tightens the car's responses and suspension, providing sharper handling and a more dynamic driving experience suitable for spirited road driving or the occasional foray onto the backroads.
  • Track Mode: Unleashes the full potential of the 720S, optimizing every aspect of the car's performance for the racetrack. In this mode, the suspension is at its firmest, and the car's systems are tuned to deliver maximum performance, allowing drivers to experience the 720S's breathtaking capabilities to the fullest.

Some of the competitors to the 720S include the Porsche GT3 RS, Mercedes AMG GTR, Lamborghini Huracan, and Ferrari 488.

Model Changes (Breakdown by Year)

2017 McLaren 720S

The 2017 model is the first full year of production for the 720S, which replaced the McLaren 650S.

Featuring a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine producing 710hp. 

The 720S features a low-lying stance with its silhouette echoing the futuristic styling of a spaceship. The starting price was around $288,000 slotting it right with the Lamborghini Huracan and Ferrari 488.Some of the variants to note for the 720S include:

  • 720S Luxury: Focused on enhancing the car's luxury features, including upgraded leather interiors and additional comfort options. Price started at $296,000.
  • 720S Performance: A variant with added carbon fiber components and performance-oriented interior finishes. Price started at $296,000. 

2018 McLaren 720S

Mechanically, the 2018 McLaren 720S was basically the same as 2017. 

However, 2018 gave birth to the 720S Spider offering a retractable hardtop that could be opened or closed in just 11 seconds and at speeds of up to 31 mph. 

Even though the 720S Spider gains an additional 108 pounds, this variant maintained the performance levels of the coupe while adding the exhilaration of open-top driving.

The starting price for the 720S Spider was $305,000.

2019 McLaren 720S

In 2019, McLaren introduced the 720S Le Mans Special Edition. This car was meant to commemorate McLaren's historic 1-2-3 finish at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Globally, only 50 units of these vehicles will be available, offered in two colors: McLaren Orange and the deep Sarthe Gray. 

The VIN of each car will commence with 298, reflecting the lap count achieved by the victorious F1 GTR, and they will be adorned with a McLaren 25th-anniversary Le Mans badge on the side lower panel. 

Distinctive features include a black roof scoop, carbon fiber front fenders, brakes finished in gold, and black exterior trim. In line with McLaren's customary approach, an extensive selection of additional parts from McLaren Special Operations (MSO) is available for customization.

The interiors of the special-edition vehicles, similar to the exterior color options, come in two distinct color schemes: black Alcantara racing seats are standard, accented with either McLaren Orange or Dove Gray.

Embroidered into the headrests and floor mats is the McLaren 25th-anniversary Le Mans logo. Additionally, customers have the option to enhance their car with a titanium harness bar and six-point harnesses, courtesy of MSO.

The starting price for the 720S Le Mans Special Edition was $285,000.

Mechanically, the 720S remained unchanged from its 2018 specifications.

2020 McLaren 720S

There were no changes or updates to the McLaren 720S.

However, the McLaren 765LT (Longtail) variant was unveiled in 2020, pushing the boundaries of performance and driving dynamics further than the 720S. As the name suggests, it follows McLaren's "Longtail" philosophy, which means it is lighter, more powerful, and features a longer tail for improved aerodynamic efficiency compared to the 720S.

The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine in the 765LT has been tuned to produce 755 hp (45 hp more than the 720), providing a more intense driving experience with faster acceleration and a higher top speed than the 720S.

The 765LT introduces aerodynamic enhancements that significantly boost its performance beyond the 720S, focusing on airflow optimization and downforce increase for better handling and high-speed stability. The longer front splitter directs airflow to reduce drag and increase front downforce, improving steering response.

The extended rear diffuser accelerates airflow underneath the car, creating a suction effect for greater rear stability during fast turns. Additionally, the larger active rear wing adjusts its angle for optimal downforce or acts as an airbrake during braking, ensuring enhanced grip and control.

The interior of the 765LT is designed with a focus on performance and weight reduction, incorporating lightweight Senna seats, removed carpet, and thinner-gauge glass adopting a minimalist design approach. This setup prioritizes performance at the expense of some comfort and cargo capacity.

In keeping with McLaren's tradition for its LT models, the 765LT is a limited-production vehicle, with only 765 units planned for global distribution, making it a highly sought-after model among collectors and enthusiasts.

The starting price was $368,000 for the 765LT.

2021 McLaren 720S

In 2021, McLaren introduced no major updates to the 720S range, maintaining its availability in both coupe and convertible variants.

Following the coupe, McLaren introduced the 765LT Spider for 2021 which replaces the previous 765LT coupe, further extending the appeal of the 765LT with a retractable hardtop that allows for open-air exhilaration without compromising the performance and dynamics of the coupe version.

Mechanically, it is the same powerplant as the 765LT, so there are no changes. The interior of the cabin offers customization options that include a combination of soft-grain leather and faux-suede upholstery, along with a wide array of color choices. Nonetheless, the LT model's interior is designed to prioritize weight reduction and performance enhancement, which may compromise some aspects of its refinement.

The starting price for the 765LT Spider was $382,500.

2022 McLaren 720S

In 2022, the McLaren 720S received a series of enhancements aimed at elevating the driving and passenger experience through the infotainment system. 

The infotainment systems of the 720S were significantly upgraded, featuring a more intuitive user interface, quicker processing capabilities for a smoother user experience, and enhanced touch responsiveness. Integration of smartphone connectivity solutions such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto was also enhanced, facilitating easier access to apps for navigation, music, and more, directly through the vehicle's interface.

Connectivity features saw substantial upgrades, with the addition of advanced Bluetooth connectivity, wireless charging for devices, and the capability for a Wi-Fi hotspot, ensuring continuous digital connectivity for all occupants.

Otherwise, McLaren did not make any significant changes or updates to the 2022 720S coupe or convertible.

2023 McLaren 720S

For the 2023 model year, the McLaren 720S saw several updates, including the introduction of two new exterior paint colors, Storm Grey and Volcano Yellow, and the option for a branded armrest. Additionally, McLaren rolled out a three-year service plan for this model. Marking the end of an era, 2023 is the final production year for the 720S, with its manufacture concluding in December 2022.

2024 McLaren 750S

In 2024, McLaren introduced the 750S, a facelifted version of the 720S. It is now lighter by up to 66 pounds and more powerful, with an increase of 30 hp bringing its total to 740 hp. Approximately 30% of its parts are newly developed or enhanced, including a twin-turbo V-8 engine optimized for higher boost pressure and efficiency.

Updates on the exterior you will find larger air intakes for improved cooling, and a center-exit exhaust to differentiate the 750S from the 720S.

Additionally, the car features advanced braking systems inspired by the McLaren Senna, the third generation of McLaren's Proactive Chassis Control for superior handling, and a cabin equipped with the latest technology including a new touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay. 

Priced starting at $331,740 for the coupe and $352,740 for the Spider.

McLaren 720S Common Problems

Despite the McLaren 720S being an exceptional supercar, it is not immune to potential faults, it is essential that it is well maintained by a specialist with up-to-date knowledge and the latest tools.

Don't forget to do a Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) from an authorized dealer or experienced independent mechanic to reveal all issues.

Infotainment System Glitches: A number of 720S owners have encountered bugs within the infotainment system. These glitches can manifest as freezing screens, unresponsive touch controls, or unexpected system reboots. While software updates can often address these issues, they can detract from the user experience in a car known for cutting-edge technology.

Suspension Issues: The McLaren 720S features an advanced Proactive Chassis Control II system, designed to offer unparalleled ride comfort and handling prowess. However, some users have reported receiving error messages related to the suspension system, necessitating a visit to the dealership for recalibration or repair. These issues, while not widespread, can affect the vehicle's performance and driving comfort.

Battery Drainage: As with many modern vehicles equipped with sophisticated electronic systems, the McLaren 720S can suffer from battery drainage if not driven regularly. Owners are advised to use a trickle charger during extended periods of inactivity to maintain battery health and prevent issues related to power loss, such as difficulty starting the vehicle or loss of saved settings.

Door Latch Problems: The 720S's signature dihedral doors add to its exotic appeal but have been the source of frustration for some due to sensor malfunctions or latch issues. These problems can lead to doors not opening or closing properly, requiring manual override or professional attention to resolve.

Cooling System Concerns: There have been mentions of the cooling system, particularly the air conditioning, not performing up to expectations in extremely hot climates. This issue may impact driver and passenger comfort during the summer months or in regions with consistently high temperatures.

Exterior Trim and Paint Vulnerability: Some owners have reported sensitivity in the paintwork and exterior trim to chips and scratches, particularly on lower body panels and the front splitter. Protective films and regular maintenance are recommended to keep the vehicle looking its best.

Recalls

2019-2020 McLaren 720S vehicles

Service brakes, hydraulic: Foundation Components: Hoses, lines/piping, and fittings (Recall no. 21V561000)

The brake assembly banjo bolt may be missing the holes that supply brake fluid to the caliper, which would cause the brakes to fail on one corner of the vehicle.

2019-2020 McLaren 720S vehicles

Fuel system, gasoline: Storage: Tank assembly (Recall no. 20V231000)

The Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) foam pad underneath the fuel tank may retain moisture and corrode the fuel tank, potentially causing a fuel leak.

Maintenance and Ownership Costs

Owning a McLaren 720S comes with a unique set of considerations regarding maintenance and overall ownership costs. 

It is important to remember that regular maintenance and repairs will still be necessary, and the costs can vary depending on whether you take your car to a dealer or an independent mechanic.

Here is the suggested service schedule and intervals per McLaren:

10,000 MILES/12 MONTHS

  • Synthetic McLaren oil change and filter replacement 
  • Multipoint inspection of the following: steering components, front and rear suspension joints, radiators, air filters, brake system, fluid levels, electrical connections, tires, wheels, rims, and tire repair kit. 

20,000 MILES/24 MONTHS

  • Synthetic McLaren oil change and filter replacement 
  • Multipoint inspection of the following: steering components, front and rear suspension joints, radiators, air filters, brake system, fluid levels, electrical connections, tires, wheels, rims, and tire repair kit.

30,000 MILES/36,000 MONTHS

  • Synthetic McLaren oil change and filter replacement 
  • Multipoint inspection of the following: steering components, front and rear suspension joints, radiators, air filters, brake system, fluid levels, electrical connections, tires, wheels, rims, and tire repair kit.
  • Gearbox fluid change 
  • Additional inspection of oxygen sensors, EVAP system, oil vapor recirculation system, and injection and ignition systems

Here is a rough estimate of typical service costs associated with the McLaren 720S:

Oil Change: For the McLaren 720S, an oil change can range from as low as $200 when done by independent mechanics to around $400 at dealerships. The cost variation reflects the expertise and specialized oil and filters the 720S requires.

Minor Service: A minor service typically includes an oil change, along with the replacement of cabin and engine air filters. Dealers usually charge around $1,600 for this service package. This service ensures that the vehicle's basic maintenance needs are met, keeping it running smoothly.

Major Service: For a more comprehensive upkeep, a major service includes all the components of a minor service plus the replacement of spark plugs, a brake fluid flush, and a transmission fluid flush. Dealerships may charge about $2,900 for this extensive service. This maintenance is crucial for ensuring the vehicle's long-term performance and reliability.

Tires: The McLaren 720S requires high-performance tires to match its exceptional driving dynamics. A set of premium tires, such as the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, can cost around $2,000. These tires are essential for maintaining the supercar's grip and handling characteristics.

Brakes: The 720S is equipped with carbon ceramic rotors, which are designed to last the lifetime of the vehicle under normal driving conditions. However, brake pads will need replacement over time, with aftermarket options that meet OE specifications costing about $800 for a complete set. These high-performance pads are crucial for maintaining the vehicle's braking performance.

Clutch: Thanks to its dual-clutch transmission, the 720S's clutch system is designed to last the lifetime of the car, eliminating the need for costly replacements of the clutch or flywheel. This is a significant advantage in terms of long-term maintenance costs.

Also note, that every new McLaren already comes with a comprehensive 3-year unlimited mileage warranty. But for pre-owned Extended Service Contract, covers most factory-fitted components for mechanical and electrical failure and includes all parts and labor charges required for repair. Available until your car is 15 years old, with less than 75,000 miles on the clock.

Options List

The McLaren 720S comes with a list of options to choose from. 

Specifically for the 765LT, some options were packages featuring exterior upgrades that include aerodynamic and design enhancements such as stealth pack to carbon fibre exterior which upgrades the front splitter, front air intakes, roof, rear bumper lower, side skirts, and diffuser to carbon fibre.

These options focus more on making the car look more aggressive while improving weight with lightweight carbon fibre components. As for the interior, options include super-lightweight carbon fibre racing seats, double-glazed engine window (rear of cabin), and leather interior with contrasting stitching.

For drivers that will go to the race track, they might want to consider the track brake upgrade option as well for the 765LT. 

As for the 720S, it came with 3 different variations to choose from:

Standard: Exterior came with Dark Palladium finish applied to Front Splitter, Front Air Intakes, Rear Aero Bridge, Rear Bumper Lower, and Diffuser.

Interior trimmed with either black alcantara or black Nappa leather, complemented with machined aluminum switches and a combination of Satin Graphite and Zircon Silver interior brightwork.

Price started at $284,000.

Luxury: Exterior came with Dark Palladium finish applied to Hood Air Intakes and Rear Fender Air Intakes. Zircon Silver window surrounds. By McLaren Luxury interior with leather extended to Dashboard, Rear Luggage Area and Upper Environment. Electric & Heated Seats, with Zircon Silver and Brushed Iridium brightwork. Interior and engine bay ambient lighting.

Price started at $296,000.

Performance: Exterior came with Dark Palladium finish applied to Lower Side Air Intakes. Carbon Fiber Hood Air Intakes, Rear Fender Air Intakes, and Door Mirrors. By McLaren Performance interior combining Nappa leather and alcantara upholstery with contrasting details and accents. Zircon Silver and Brushed Iridium brightwork with Primary Interior Components in Carbon Fiber. Interior and engine bay ambient lighting.

Price started at $296,000.

As for the popular options on the 720S, some of them include carbon fibre exterior upgrade (Front Splitter and Rear Bumper in Carbon Fiber), carbon fibre roof, rear bumper lower/diffuser, upgraded wheels and sports exhaust. Some customers have spec’d their cars with carbon fibre racing seats, and they either can choose regular or large size. These seats are desirable and great looking, which many people like.

On the other hand, the (McLaren Special Operation) MSO Bespoke program takes customization to the highest level, providing an expansive array of personalization choices that stretch the boundaries of what's possible. This program is akin to having a blank canvas where almost any vision of personal taste can be brought to life.

It offers an extensive selection of paints, fabrics, leathers, and other materials, enabling customers to create a truly bespoke McLaren that reflects their individual style and preferences to the finest detail.

Because of the strict approval requirements, cars that went through the MSO Bespoke program are considered highly desirable. 

These cars usually command a higher premium in the market due to their exclusivity and uniqueness. 

Here are some examples of option changes:

2018 McLaren 720S options list

2021 McLaren 765 LT options list

Key Options

  • Carbon fibre exterior package

  • Luxury or Performance package

  • Carbon fibre racing seats

  • MSO Bespoke exterior or interior

McLaren 720S Price and Values (765LT)

The Best McLaren 720S To Buy

When it comes to buying a 720S, there are a few key factors to consider that can affect the car's long-term value.

The 720S that would most likely appreciate in value, will be the track-focused 765 LT (coupe and spider) and limited production numbers which were 765 coupes and 765 spiders. At this time, they are currently a good buy, and will most likely be appreciated in the future as a collector car. 

Unique variants such as the 1 of 50 720S Le Mans Special Edition may have a chance to appreciate in value in the future, but these are lesser known models that might not be necessarily as wanted, simply because there was not much difference in terms of performance compared to the standard 720S. 

For regular production 720S, the ones that you should look for are the ones that have the luxury or performance package. They were an upgrade that came with a few more features listed above that make it more desirable to have. 

As hybrid technology becomes more widespread among cars, internal combustion V8s are becoming highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts in the current market.

Seek out model year 2018 to 2021 McLaren 720S for car hacking. 

In addition, the condition and mileage of the car are also important factors to consider when buying a 720S. There are many that have been driven hard. But the ones that are more likely to retain their value in the long run and will fetch the most money will be a well-maintained car with low mileage.

Therefore, it's important to do your research, compare prices, and look for well-maintained cars if you are considering purchasing a 720S with the goal of not losing any money.

Conclusion

For around ($215,000+) the McLaren 720S is an exceptional choice for a supercar. It has the styling and performance to back it up. 

While the Porsche GT3 RS, Mercedes Benz AMG GTR, Lamborghini Huracan and Ferrari 488 are options available, the 720S is for those who want a unique blend of cutting-edge technology, exceptional power-to-weight ratio, and distinctive design that sets it apart in the supercar category.

You won’t go wrong with a 720S if you are in the market for a supercar. 

Car Hacking Shortcuts

  • Spec matters: Look for any MSO Bespoke cars or optional colours. Carbon fibre exterior is desirable.

  • Roof scoop is a very desirable MSO Bespoke option on 765LT.

  • 2018 to 2021 model years are great hacks.

  • 765LT is a future collectible.

  • Look for a well-maintained, low-mile 720S.


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