If money were no object, which car would you choose: the McLaren P1 or the 720S?
Obviously, the P1 is the vastly more expensive car. When the P1 went on sale back in 2013, each one sold for $1.3 million. Using a then pioneering hybrid powertrain, the P1’s 3.8-L twin-turbo V8 engine (which would eventually power the 570S) combined with an electric motor to produce 908 total horsepower and 723 lb-ft of torque.
Zero to sixty was done in just 2.7 seconds, on its way to a top speed that was electronically limited to 217 mph.
Posters of the P1 adorned children’s bedroom walls for years, and rightly so. But then McLaren introduced the 720S as a somewhat more reasonable supercar that even the most stingy millionaire could afford at $300,000 each. It ditched the P1’s hybrid setup in favor of a purely gasoline-powered 4.0-L twin-turbo V8 producing 710 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque.
That’s 200 fewer ponies to play with, but the 720S also weighs over 200 lbs less than the P1. Zero to sixty is also measured at just 2.7 seconds, with a top speed of 212 mph.
On paper, the two cars are fairly well matched. However, real-world performance can only be measured in one place: on the race track.
Top Gear’s Chris Harris took both the P1 and the 720S to the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal to see which one could lap the track fastest. This would determine if your money was well spent on the P1 or if you should have just waited for a 720S to get your speed fix.
Both cars are undeniably fast, but it seemed that Harris had more trouble keeping the 720S composed. Several rumble strips were struck in his pursuit of a fast flying lap to compare to the P1’s time of 1 minute, 54.7 seconds.
After the 720S had finished, the results were surprising. Despite being less than a quarter of the price, the 720S was a mere half a second slower than the P1. It finished in a time of 1 minute, 55.2 seconds.
Just goes to show that sometimes you can get a performance supercar for a steal if you’re just willing to wait a bit.