Good vehicle design challenges your predisposition.
Car manufactures over the last decade or two have been doing this for a while with each incremental update. BMW comes to mind here when they released the last of the E series cars. I remember seeing the 5 series and thinking “Hmm, not sure I like that” but within a couple of days I had totally come round the new design language. And I think it is important that manufactures keep on challenging our ideals. For if they follow the same styling cars will quickly date.
Sure, sometimes it doesn’t work out so well, consider the FIAT Multipla, that remains as ugly now as it did the day it was dreamt up. The same could be said about the Nissan Juke. Ahead of the Geneva motorshow, I saw a few blurry and low res pictures of the new McLaren 720S and I couldn’t really work out what was going on.
Come Wednesday morning my feed was full of pictures of the 720S, more importantly, they were clear and I could finally see what McLaren had been up to. My initial thoughts were that of confusion. I love McLaren, I always have, in my eyes, they can do no wrong. But now I wasn’t sure, is it ugly? Can I even say that?
The first point of contention for me was the “eye sockets” that now adorn the front of the car. From anything other than a dead front they appeared almost garish, like a set of poorly chosen sunglasses. For me it really disrupted the flow of the car. It was an odd choice as I have always thought that McLaren’s headlights have been cleverly integrated into the flow of the design.
Secondly the seemingly continuous change in surfaces across the bodies skin was a bit busy for my liking. From a side profile, it made it difficult to read. Things weren’t looking good, this was not the McLaren I had known and loved.
To be honest, these feelings lasted all of about 24 hours. I watched a few videos on the car, listened to McLaren talk about the innovations they had made and looked at really impressive imagery by Dean Smith and I could finally appreciate the way it looked. It is all in the details with this car, the “eye sockets” are not only there to house the improved headlights but also low temperature radiators. When you think about it, that is quite a clever way of designing the front end, no more large open grilles at the front of the car.
The “fussy” sculpted side is all about funnelling air to the intakes and holding turbulent are closer to the car all in the aid of improving down force. Speaking of which, this car actually produces 50% more down force than the 675LT before it! That is enormous! Not to mention that this car will also do 212mph!!!
McLaren have also developed “Carbon Tub II” for this project. A lighter stiffer tub which improves weight, torsional rigidity and allow for much better visibility. Having had a ride in a few McLaren’s I can say that being able to see out of these cars was never their weak point. To improve it must make it a joy to drive. I am thinking more along the lines a fighter jet canopy. The speedometer folds away neatly when the car turns off and also when you engage sport mode. I turns into a race car inspired rev-counter. Now that is just cool!
What do you think? Are you still struggling with the way it looks? Or have you come round to the new look of McLaren?
Words: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)
Pictures: McLaren – NetCarShow.com