The McLaren 720S, a car you guys have been begging me to write a buyer’s guide for after I had one for a few months earlier this year. I have had my ups and downs with McLarens over the years, but the 720S was something unlike any of the other models that I have kept in my garage.
My time with the 720S was short, mainly because I had an eager buyer. Since I have let that 720S go I have had my garage full of cars that I am just not interested in selling any time soon: Ford GT, Ferrari 488 Pista, Aventador SVJ, Rolls Royce Hermes Dawn, and a brand new 2020 G63. If I had to ask myself honestly whether I would put the 720S in my garage again, I would have to say no.
I will explain a little bit as to why I have made that comment throughout this buyer’s guide, and who knows, the reason I won’t own a 720S again is maybe the exact reason you will be dying to get your hands on one.
The 720S is one of the newer cars on the market that can now be considered a hackable exotic.
The 720S launched at the Geneva Motor Show back in March of 2017, with units rolling out soon after in May the same year. The 720S paved the way for the brand as it strayed away from its body styles that had previously been designed upon the 675LT/650S/570S generation. At a first glance, you can see just how different the 720 is from the others, it is incredibly long and then the doors are a dead giveaway. Rather than butterfly doors that the McLaren was known for prior to, the 720S is decked out with a set of top frame hinge doors that open incredibly similar to those of the gorgeous LaFerrari.
Vents lay all around the front diffuser and around the sides, however, in contrast to the 650S series, the tunnels along the doors are inverted this time around, with vents lying beneath the door frame. The 720S has an ample rear end with two exhaust tips coming out much like that of the 675LT with the infamous big wang air brake up on top.
The 720S is definitely an eye-catcher, given the lines and the large size of the car overall, which is the main reason I was so drawn to owning one… That and the fact that it is, in my opinion, the first McLaren that looks great in almost every single color.
Now, I know I own a lot of fast cars, but truth be told, I don’t like going fast. I am not a racecar driver (despite my appearance on Netflix’s Fastest Car). These cars, to me, are art. The 720S, while spectacular in design, is just WAY too fast for my liking. I know some of you are going to hate on me for that, but it is what it is. I have a perfect driving record for the last 20+ years, but being behind the wheel of a 720S in the midst of an inevitable South Florida rainy afternoon actually worries me. I have slipped and skidded all over highway roads with this beast regardless of whether I was driving 40MPH or 80.
This is mainly because this car has a long wheelbase combined with its twin-turbo 4.0L V8 engine rear-mounted. With 710 horses and 568 pounds of torque are at the back from the factory, combed with rear-wheel steering (that’s right: rear engine mount and rear-wheel steering) a lot of power coming from the back wheels, so if you don’t know what you are doing, you will indeed end up wrapped around a pole with the 720S even bone stock (and mine was tuned up another 100HP)
Being behind the wheel of the 720S is quite the experience in itself. The entire car is tailored to the driver’s experience and comfort, angling all controls and the small LCD screen to the left side of the vehicle. Thankfully this is the first car of the brand to have ditched the IRIS system, making everything entirely easier to use overall.
Perhaps the coolest part of being behind the wheel of the McLaren is the digital dash behind the wheel. No, I don’t mean the LCD graphics of your gauges, I mean the fact when you turn this beast into track mode, the screen flips down in some Star Trek way and shows you all you need to know: your speed. A very cool addition on McLaren’s part and shows you truly where their intentions were when building this model.
McLaren 720S Common Problems
Aside from being big computers with ever-impending glitches, the 720S has a few problems that have gone done infamously in the car community as undeniably true.
The key fob doesn’t register unless you are super close to the car.
Fit and finish are off with door handles on some of the earlier production models.
Outer trim pieces come loose without wear and tear to justify.
Discoloration of plastic occurring without excessive exposure to elements.
There is one active recall open on the 720S and I have linked it HERE for you to review.
Please remember, prior to purchasing a 720S to always ensure that all recalls have been performed with documentation from McLaren to prove the work. In addition to that, all cars, regardless of badge need to have a proper Pre-Purchase Inspection performed so you don’t end up incurring someone else thousand dollar problems.
McLaren 720S Cost of Ownership/Maintenance
McLaren maintenance is a luxury many can’t afford, even those with the pockets deep enough to dish out the cash for a 720S in full. I know that is a loaded statement, but if one of these babies is out of warranty and something goes bad, it will cost you a pretty penny to set it right.
And unlike many of the other exotics we feature, the McLaren can NOT go to a local mechanic or exotic enthusiast mechanic. Being the technological advancement that it is, a special key is needed to access most, if not all of the McLarens internal settings to reset lights/blank codes, etc.
Most third party shops won’t even touch the McLaren knowing that even so much as simply changing the oil on one of these bad boys without the registered tools could cost you any warranty that you have left.
In short, issues with the McLaren brand, in general, will run you thousands and thousands of dollars, so it is best (for now) to own a McLaren that is still under warranty and run for the hills before it is out of it, otherwise your entire profit margin could go down the drain with a simple hydronic failure in the speed tail.
McLaren 720S Model Year Changes
The 720S hasn’t been around all that long, only being out on the road for 3 years with 2021 models beginning to roll off manufacture floors for demo in dealerships.
However, a few changes have occurred to the model over the few years it has been produced. Introduced in 2018 and manufactured in 2019 we have the 720S Spider, a usual move for the brand to come out with a convertible variation a year to two after the coupe. The 720S Spider made waves with the fact that it’s one piece all carbon fiber top is able to retract in just 11 seconds and can be operated at speeds of 30 miles per hour.
The average on convertibles previously was 17 seconds and operable at speeds of 15-20 miles per hour, so this is quite the accomplishment. However, where the 720S Spider falls short, at least in our eyes, is the fact that you lose the LaFerrari style doors. But, I suppose returning to the regular butterfly-style doors with no roof isn’t so bad.
Another interesting addition to the 720S lineage to note is the release of the 765LT earlier this year in March. The 765LT will be the track-focused version of the 720S, much like the 675LT was for the 650S.
The 765LT is tuned with 755 horsepower, 590 pounds of torque, thanks to the upgraded gaskets, pistons, and fuel pumps that come straight from the Senna. The top speed is 205mph, which is actually less than the 720S, but it was done so to account for the added downforce design of the 765LT’s body and lighter weight overall. Son’t let the top speed decrease fool you, this track beast can still go 0-60 in just 2.8 seconds with a quarter-mile time of 9.9 seconds right off the showroom floor.
McLaren 720S Options
Carbon fiber. Two words that make all the difference when looking at ANY McLaren. The more of it, the better. No carbon? Walk away.
Paint is also important, while McLaren doesn’t really have any “ugly” color combos across its brand design overall, MSO color cars always bring a premium and are absolutely astounding to look at.
I have gone ahead and attached a PDF straight from McLaren to show you the options offered on the 720S.
These cars are also newer, so when looking for one of your own, be sure to ask for the sticker/build sheet, the dealer or the current owner should still have it and you can reference just how loaded this car is just from the sticker alone.
Best McLaren 720S To Buy
With the 2017’s coming out of warranty this year, the best McLaren to buy for both value sake and security sake is the 2018 McLaren 720S Coupe.
The 2018’s have depreciated enough for the time being, but will continue to gradually decline, but even with COVID and the launch of the 76LT we did not see a hard enough drop to deter us from still considering them a good buy with the right options and color combo.
While it is known that I have personally lost money on all my McLarens in the past, they are still one of my favorite cars to own. Though I didn’t like the speed of the 720S enough to keep one in my garage more permanently, I truly was astounded by the design of it, as well as the attention it got whilst out on the street and the statement it made in the exotic car community at race events and car shows. If you are someone who has a need for speed, enjoys the technological advancement of supercars, and wants all eyes on you then look no further than the 720S.