We take a flip in fiery McLaren 720S Spider, meet the GT
We had the opportunity to take a quick drive in a McLaren for the first time in a while this week. Local distributors Daytona took the opportunity to show off a 720S and a GT, two demo units that they have just unloaded. So it was good to be albeit briefly reacquainted on a short flip around Cape Town. Simple and powerful, the 720S’ teardrop inspiration is supremely emphasised by its this one’s stunning McLaren Papaya Orange hue and stunning dark Pirelli P-Zero-shod 19-inch alloys.
A FAMILIAR MCLAREN EXPERIENCE
Flapping the door open and sliding into the comfy bucket reveals a familiar environment. Yes, it’s come a long way, but the 720S certainly carries that typical McLaren DNA forward. It also instantly evoked a surge of memories of my 12C spin out of the company’s incredible McLaren Technical Centre UK HQ with test driver Brad Fincham, ten years back. The way the carbon, velour and red stitching comes together seems so similar, albeit significantly more advanced, a decade on.
McLaren promises that there’s no compromise in its use of only the best materials to create an epic point of engagement between car and driver. That chunky electro-hydraulic steering is so communicative and the car talks just as loud through the seat of your pants. The 720 HP (which means 530 kW in metric speak, but we like the horses, because that’s what this car is all about) 770 Nm electrically actuated twin scroll biturbo quad-cam 32-valve VVT 4-litre M840T V8 whirrs in the background as it seamlessly pops through it 7 cogs.
720S sharpens up as you turn the Active Dynamics knob through Sport to Track. Floor it and its 2.8 second 0-100, 10.4 second quarter-mile and 341 km/h potential are immediately apparent. Pace is brisk, handling sharp. Yet its surprisingly comfy and seems quite everyday drivable. Even better, this open version, which automated roof only ads 45 kg to its 1,280 kg heft to the R7.4-million 720S Spider, opens in seconds to let beautiful midsummer Cape Town in. It was a short blast, so over far too quickly.
BLACK GT A HORSE OF ANOTHER COLOUR
The GT is a horse of another colour. Black, in this case! GT goes against the tenet that a lighter, mid-engined performance car can’t accommodate you and your luggage on a journey, that it’ll tire you as the miles pass. McLaren disagrees. Promising ample room under the full length glazed power tailgate and a front storage area. Add an airy, spacious and light cabin and you have a truly nimble GT.
Packing a 456 kW 630 Nm TE version of the M840 V8, the R4.5-million GT weighs in at 1,466 kg to accommodate all those GT gubbins, trots to 100 in 3.2 seconds and tops 326 km/h. Not bad for a toppie’s car! We look forward to testing both these McLarens to bring you a full report on each soon. That may very well reshuffle most of our road test record. Watch this space.