Performance Cars

The McLaren 720S Track Pack is just as enjoyable on the street

A new Track Pack doesn't change the character of McLaren's already brilliant 720S.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

It's hard to imagine wanting more out of a car as ballistically brilliant as the McLaren 720S. This is one of the finest road cars I've ever sampled, a beautiful tribute to McLaren's Formula One roots and a reminder that, even in this high-tech age, the driver's car is alive and well.

So while it might seem unnecessary for McLaren to offer an optional Track Pack for this stunning specimen of superlative supercar, the good news is that it doesn't alter the 720S' finesse. Instead, think of the Track Pack as a sort of value play -- yes, a $332,700 value play -- bundling race-friendly options into one convenient package, and for less money than ordering them all à la carte.

The Track Pack is a $28,000 option, available only on the 720S Performance specification. You get super-lightweight, 10-spoke alloy wheels. There's an active, carbon fiber rear spoiler and a sport exhaust. Remarkably, McLaren says this lighter hardware results in a 53-pound weight savings over a normal 720S Performance.

Inside, the Track Pack scores you carbon fiber racing seats -- in either the standard or "touring" (read: well-fed American) size -- as well as carbon fiber shift paddles and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel. On the technology front, you get McLaren's sweet Track Telemetry (MTT) system, which utilizes three video cameras and data-logging software to show you information that'll help you improve your lap times. It's race team-level stuff.

Otherwise, the Track Pack is identical to any other 720S. Power comes from the same 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, mounted behind the cockpit and producing the same 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. To call this car's acceleration blistering feels like an understatement, McLaren estimating a 7.8-second sprint to 124 miles per hour. That tremendous off-the-line thrust is delivered with the same level of dynamic poise and aural drama as the standard 720S, the dual-clutch gearbox charing upward through its seven forward gears with immediacy. It is impossible to put your foot down and launch this car without erupting in maniacal laughter.

The 720S' chassis and brakes are no different in Track Pack spec, the former adjustable between Comfort, Sport and Track settings, the latter utilizing massive, carbon-ceramic discs. Active aerodynamics help keep the 720S flat as a pancake at high speeds. Press the "aero" button on the center stack and the huge rear airbrake will lift and lower and flap as needed, helping direct air over the car's rump for the best possible aerodynamic performance.

The Track Pack gets you carbon fiber racing buckets, available in two sizes. They're snug, but not as uncomfortable as you might think.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

I can carry tremendous speed with relative ease, pushing the car harder and harder into each new turn. This car is such a wonderful companion for spirited driving. Perfectly weighted, precise steering offers a level of feedback that, combined with a low seating position inside the car's carbon fiber tub, helps you feel like you're part of the chassis itself, rather than just the machine's operator.

Yet on the other hand, despite being stiff enough to help me pull of incredible g-forces in high-speed turns, the suspension is totally amicable when I'm not giving it the beans. In fact, as a whole, the 720S is surprisingly easy to drive around town and in traffic. The steering lightens up at low speed to offer excellent maneuverability. The throttle and brakes are easy to modulate, neither accompanied by any sort of herky-jerky motion. Sure, this thing is low to the ground (you absolutely need to use the hydraulic nose lift, and often), and it's not exactly what I'd call practical (though I did easily fit a carry-on suitcase and backpack into the front trunk), but the 720S is a car you could realistically drive on the regular and not have it be an absolute chore.

I'll admit, the Track Pack's carbon-fiber racing buckets are certainly not for everyone. They make ingress and egress a bit more difficult, pretty much forcing you to slide the driver's seat all the way back every time. And while the support they offer is plentiful, the wider-hipped among us will find these chairs fatiguing over time.

My other big daily use gripe isn't related to the Track Pack at all -- or the 720S, in fact. It's McLaren's Iris infotainment system, housed on a vertically oriented touchscreen. Not only is the menu structure sort of convoluted (it took me way longer than it ought to just to pair my phone via Bluetooth) it's often laggy, and super slow to start up. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support are also nonexistent, which stinks.

Track Pack or not, the McLaren 720S is a brilliant supercar.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

But in a car like the 720S, which is first and foremost a formidable driver's car, I can easily overlook the finicky tech. Instead, I'll marvel in the cabin's absolute focus on driver engagement, from the right-sized steering wheel that's free of buttons, to the large, steering column-mounted, satin-finish shift paddles. I even like how the digital instrument cluster folds down at the touch of a button, putting just the speed, tachometer and selected gear in your immediate view. Roadshow Editor-in-Chief Tim Stevens called this a "flashy effect" that's "far too gimmicky" when he reviewed a 720S earlier this year. And though I sort of agree, I think if any car can pull off a bit of unnecessary exaggeration, it's this one. I mean, come on, it already looks like a freaking creamsicle spaceship.

As for the Track Pack, if you can handle life with racing buckets, or are actually planning to wring this thing out on a circuit, it's an easy way to get a number of desirable options in one easy-to-tick box. But it's hardly a must-have feature. The 720S is a stunner no matter how you spec it.

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