McLaren – Pioneering Design and Engineering

By Adam Monday 9th May, 2022

It had to be something spectacular to prize us off our social media sabbatical but last week we received a rather special invite.

McLaren invited us to not only learn more about the cars and the brand, but also to experience two of the cars for ourselves at the infamous Top Gear track at Dunsfold.

The day started at The McLaren Technology Centre, which is the headquarters of the McLaren Group located in Woking, Surrey. Here we got to see everything from the car in which Bruce McLaren entered his first race in1952 as a 15-year-old schoolboy to an actual stripped down F1 car, freshly returned from the Italian Formula 1.

We saw that every part of the F1 car was stripped down and in the process of being re-built and whilst no photos were allowed in this area, it was fascinating to see the car stripped down back to the starting point.

The tour continued, and we worked through the ages of some of the most breathtaking performance and road cars Mclaren have produced over the years.

With the excitement built, we then travelled to Dunsfold and invited to experience a hot-lap in the 720S and then go on to drive the GT ourselves. The 720S, which is five years into production, is still considered the benchmark supercar within the industry. Ruthless on track but civilised on the road and our test-driver certainly pushed the car to the limits around the track reaching some serious speeds.

I naturally approached the GT driving experience with a little more caution but I could tell the car is like no other grand tourer and is truly a supercar in spirit.

If supercars are your thing, than the GT is actually more suitable for everyday use with additional storage space and refined interior design elements. That said, the GT still retains the McLaren DNA, making it incredibly fun to drive.

You can read more about some of the key features on both models below:

McLaren 720S

  • Mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive, two-seater supercar is the core McLaren Automotive product
  • Stunning interpretation of McLaren design language and dedication to aerodynamic principles, personifying the brand’s extreme performance DNA
  • Carbon fibre chassis based around Monocage II central structure is key to the astonishing 1,283kg lightest dry weight and unparalleled interior space and visibility
  • Luxurious, driver-focused cabin featuring the finest materials
  • Outstanding driver engagement, with the choice of Comfort, Sport, or Track modes to deliver the desired dynamic experience
  • Signature McLaren electro-hydraulic steering ensures purest levels of driver feedback
  • Widest breadth of dynamic capability of any McLaren, ranging from precise, controlled comfort to the most extreme handling prowess
  • Twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine produces 720PS and 770Nm, with a power-to-weight ratio of up to 561PS per tonne
  • 0-60mph takes 2.8 seconds (0-100km/h 2.9 seconds), with 0-200km/h (124mph) reached in 7.8 seconds
  • Braking from 200 km/h to standstill in 4.6 seconds, covering 117m
  • Maximum speed of 212mph (341km/h)
  • 12.2 litres/100km fuel economy in the official combined cycle and 276g/km CO2 emissions (WLTP)
  • Retail prices start at £222,800

The McLaren GT

  • Superlight McLaren GT combines astonishing performance and driving dynamics with everyday usability and refinement
  • Low 1,530kg DIN kerb weight and 620PS V8 engine give power-to-weight ratio of 405PS per tonne, with acceleration from 0-200km/h (0-124mph) in 9.0 seconds and a top speed of 326km/h (203mph)
  • Unique MonoCell II-T carbon fibre chassis underpins supercar responsiveness and engagement, while also allowing for substantial cockpit space and luggage flexibility
  • 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 engine delivers 620PS and 630Nm of torque in a broad, flat curve to ensure seamless, relentless acceleration
  • Adaptive damping with McLaren Proactive Damping Control maximises ride quality and refinement without compromising precise handling characteristics
  • Signature McLaren electro-hydraulic steering and carbon ceramic brakes ensure dynamic excellence, but both are also optimised for everyday, lower-speed use
  • Dual-clutch, 7-speed SSG gearbox is calibrated for smooth, super-fast shifts and is configurable Comfort, Sport and Track modes using an Active Dynamics Panel
  • Choice of three interior specifications – Standard, Pioneer and Luxe – each offering innovative, high-quality technical materials, hidden-until-lit ambient lighting, bespoke GT seats, the McLaren Infotainment II system and a powerful 1,200 Watt Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system.
  • Optional Electrochromic Panoramic glass roof by McLaren Special Operations (MSO)
  • Enhanced range of MSO Defined options also available, including Satin Finish Visual Carbon Fibre Steering Wheel, 10-Twin-Spoke Forged Alloy Wheels and gold or bronze brake calipers
  • The McLaren GT is available to order in the UK from £163,000