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New McLaren 720S goes faster - but costs less
THE McLaren 720S has all-new styling, a new body, chassis, engine and show-stopping dihedral doors - but will cost S$100,000 less than the 650S it replaces.
The 720S is priced at S$990,000 (before COE and options), down from the 650S's S$1.1 million.
Jolyon Nash, McLaren Automotive's executive director of global sales and marketing, was in Singapore recently for the Asia-Pacific premiere of the 720S.
He said pricing is driven by the market, with shifts in prices due to taxation.
"We are priced against our competitors in the market place," he said.
The mid-engined 720S is a 4.0-litre V8 and accelerates from zero to 100 kmh in 2.9 seconds. Zero to 200 kmh takes 7.8 secs, on the way to a top speed of 341 kmh.
Its stunning design incorporates a teardrop-shaped cabin akin to that of a jet fighter, and aerodynamic double-skinned doors.
"Because it's such a great leap forward over the previous generation, we will get strong benefits in terms of brand and image," said Mr Nash.
He also disclosed that McLaren is aiming for an average five-year life cycle with the 720S, without a mid-life upgrade, which will be good news for resale value.
"There will be a Spider in a couple of years' time, but we won't have a mid-life cycle refresh. All we will do is add variants.
"We believe five years is the optimum time for a life cycle to keep a product fresh and stable."
The 720S is the second-generation model from the Super Series, the supercar product family considered the "core" of the McLaren brand. The British manufacturer has two other product families - the Sports Series and the Ultimate Series.
Mr Nash said the Super Series accounts for roughly a third of the total McLaren volume, while the entry-level Sports Series makes up about two-thirds. There were only a very small number of limited-edition Ultimate Series cars among the 3,000 units delivered last year.
He said McLaren is a young carmaker, having launched its first production model only in 2011.
"As we establish ourselves as a brand in the supercar and sports car segment, product is absolutely key," he said.
To that end, McLaren is investing £1 billion (S$1.39 billion) in research and development over six years in new products, or an average of 20 to 25 per cent of annual revenue.
Mr Nash said this is "considerably higher" than other manufacturers, but possible because the company has been profitable since 2013.
Also different is the profile of the typical McLaren customer. Through feedback from dealers who also sell other makes, it has emerged that McLaren owners take their cars out on track more frequently.
"The number of customers our dealers help to go to track is much higher. Generally, the mileages on our cars are higher than they are for other supercar brands."
The "real difference", he emphasised, is that those who buy a McLaren buy the car for its "intrinsic capabilities" and the driving experience.
"That's the predominant motivator for buying it."
When asked what other reasons could make someone buy a supercar, he added with a laugh: "Perhaps for other brands, they buy the cars for other reasons, which I wouldn't dare hazard a guess at."