The 2018 McLaren 720S has 15 air inlets, and here’s what each one does

2018 McLaren 720S, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720S, 2017 Geneva auto show

McLaren isn’t letting its Super Series cars go stale. At the Geneva auto show, the British brand revealed its replacement for the brilliant 650S, the 720S, and it’s wild. Crafted from carbon fiber, aluminum, and a smidge of pixie dust, the new 720S is hard to take in all at once. It has intricate details that need some finer study.

And study we did.

We were in Geneva and we crawled around, inside, and all over the new 720S, looking at every detail, curve, and intake.

Then we sat down with Rob Melville, chief designer at McLaren, and went through each and every air inlet on the new 720S.

On boy, there are a lot of them. Fifteen to be exact.

Here’s what each one does:

2018 McLaren 720S, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720S, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

Up front, gaping intakes are found in both the lower bumper and integrated into the headlight housing area. These all feed low-temperature radiators, and they are part of the engine cooling system. Counting both sides, the total is four so far.

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

The hood features two air inlets and each channels air under the hood and out at the base of the windshield to control pressure through the area. The air that comes out of these channels becomes a fence of air of each side of the car to guide air to the side radiators for cooling. Now we’re up to six. 

2018 McLaren 720S, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720S, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

The side-mounted intakes are referred to as “gills,” and each feeds the high-temperature radiators at the back of the car, and also helps create low pressure to draw air through the radiators more efficiently. There are upper and lower gills on each side, bringing our total number of vents to 10.

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

At the rear, on each side of the car, fender-mounted and rear intakes under the taillights feed the air box intake, which sends cold air directly into the engine. Now our total is 14.

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

2018 McLaren 720s, 2017 Geneva auto show

Rear deck-mounted louvers draw air over the muffler and exhaust to help cool things down in addition to pulling air through the engine bay to keep temps within reason. And that takes our total to 15 inlets and intakes, though this last one is quite large.

As you might have gathered, it takes a lot of air to feed the new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, which produces 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. Redline? A happy 8,100 rpm in first gear, higher in later gears for more aural pleasure.

With all that air going into the engine and such lofty numbers, performance should be stout. McLaren states a 0-60 mph time of less than 3 seconds, and a top speed beyond 200 mph.

McLaren’s taking orders for the new 2018 720S now with deliveries beginning later this year. Stay tuned as we will bring you our first drive and more details as we near the launch of the 720S.

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