More power, less weight, and Longtail styling keep McLaren's supercar staple fresh.
McLaren has lifted the wraps off the new 750S in Coupe and Spider variants - an evolution of the McLaren 720S that retains most of its sharp styling while reducing weight, increasing power, and developing its technical attributes to make it more engaging than ever before.
The 720S ended production in December last year, and six years after its debut, McLaren decided its core 'Super Series' model needed updating. Instead of a drastic design overhaul, the visual updates are subtle, but those beneath the surface are more meaningful. Power is up, albeit still less than the 765LT, but other areas have been tweaked and honed.
McLaren says it wanted to enhance the experience, focusing on matters beneath the surface, changing 30% of the componentry in its evolution, and giving the new model an extra 30 horsepower and 22 lb-ft of torque.
For now, McLaren's mainstream supercar escapes the clutches of electrification and may be the last model to do so.
The M840T 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 from the 720S has been carried over to the 750S but with a few revisions. These include lightweight pistons from the 765LT, a new management system, and increased boost pressure from the twin-scroll turbos. More air needs more fuel, so a second high-flow fuel pump is now included to maintain fuel flow under load.
The 750S generates 740 hp (750 PS - giving the car its name) and 590 lb-ft of torque. It's a rear-wheel-drive-only machine with power routed to the wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox with a shorter final drive ratio to enhance the supercar's acceleration.
The default metrics of 0-60 mph, 0-124 mph, and 0-186 mph are dealt with in 2.7 seconds, 7.2 seconds, and less than 20 seconds, respectively, in coupe form, while the 750S Spider is a tenth of a second slower to 124 mph and hits 186 mph in 20.4 seconds. The quarter mile is dispatched in 10.1 seconds behind the wheel of the hardtop, and 10.3 for the roofless variant, and both versions will top out at 206 mph.
The gearbox has a new 'limit downshift' function in Sport and Track driving modes, which is activated automatically under heavy braking. When requesting a downshift that would place the engine above its 8,500-rpm redline, the ECU remembers the prompt and only downshifts when physically possible. This ensures that the car will always downshift appropriately on the way into a corner.
Other enhancements to the powertrain are geared towards the aural experience. A new central-exit exhaust system focuses on acoustic nerdery of the highest order by reducing the second- and sixth-order sounds and placing emphasis on the fourth-order acoustics.
The eight-order sounds were chosen by trialing a range of single and dual exhaust tips to find the combination that crests at higher rpm for an enhanced experience. McLaren says the focus was less on physics and more on emotion, which has typically been a weak point for the brand compared to a particular Italian rival.
"All McLarens are precisely engineered and remarkably rapid," says Ben Gulliver, head of vehicle development at McLaren, "but with the new 750S, we have focused on enriching the full range of characteristics that deliver the exhilaration experienced when driving the car, that pure emotional connection so sought after by enthusiasts."
Thankfully, one aspect that remains unchanged is McLaren's steadfast commitment to hydraulically assisted steering, although it has been updated with a new power steering pump and a quicker steering ratio.
When asked why the brand hadn't switched to EPAS systems like other brands, McLaren's engineers were adamant that "authentic steering is a brand-defining attribute" that only hydraulic steering can offer, which is why the system retained that McLaren DNA while still adding more refinement with the new pump.
This will undoubtedly come in handy when you use the built-in Variable Drift Control system to pull off long smoky, sideways drifts.
Despite being an evolution of the 720S with new functionality, the 750S is 66 lbs lighter than the car it replaces in stock form, and selecting various lightweight options can reduce its dry weight further to just 2,815 lbs in coupe form (2,923 lbs for the 750S Spider). That makes the 750S the lightest-ever series-production McLaren model.
The diet includes a range of weight-saving measures, like standard carbon-shelled bucket seats saving 38.6 lbs, 10-spoke Turbine-design forged alloy wheels saving 30.4 lbs, thinner windshield glass savings 3.5 lbs, and new driver instrumentation savings 4 lbs. The new spring and damper suspension is 4.4 lbs lighter, too, while the new exhaust saves 4.8 lbs. The new rear wing design saves 3.5 lbs.
The 720S was never what anyone considered anything less than physics-bending, so how do you improve on that? McLaren equipped the 750S with the newest generation of the hydraulically-linked Proactive Chassis Control suspension system (PCC III).
The core elements of this system comprise new lightweight springs and dampers and unique accumulator tuning. Combined with revised geometry, McLaren wanted to deliver more agility and better driver feedback - enabled by the hydraulic power-assisted steering and a 6mm wider front track. The springs are softer up front by 3% and stiffer at the rear by 4%, which not only aids feedback and balance through corners but also improves the general ride quality, "breathing better" over undulating road surfaces.
This is not as hardcore as the 765LT, but McLaren didn't want it to be. According to Jamie Corstorphine, McLaren's director of product strategy, McLaren "set [itself] an extremely difficult challenge with 750S, namely bringing a significant degree of McLaren 'Longtail' agility, feel and feedback, while ensuring that comfort and usability are not compromised - the 'best of both' combination that our customers tell us they want."
That said, McLaren still expects some owners to use the car on the track and makes available an optional rack brake upgrade with 15.4-inch carbon ceramic discs and monobloc calipers from the McLaren Senna, enhanced by a new brake booster, vacuum pump, and brake cooling that McLaren claims are derived from its Formula 1 exploits.
Each disc takes an astonishing seven months to create, yielding a 60% increase in strength and a 400% increase in thermal conductivity.
At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking the 750S is no different from the 720S, and we don't blame you. This is about as subtle as facelifts to supercars go, but the differences are there.
The biggest change is at the rear of the car, where the rear wing no longer integrates in a flush fashion with the bodywork. That's because the wing is 20% bigger than before and stands proud with flow paths under its main element even when it's fully retracted.
It gives the 750S a distinct longtail design, despite this being a regular derivative. It's still an active wing and will automatically adjust to changing scenarios, including deploying as an air brake. There is also a driver-activated low-drag setting, emulating Formula 1-like DRS functionality.
The rear fascia has been redesigned and now houses the twin tailpipes centrally, with a larger heat-extracting mesh surround and revised LED taillights with a new twin-stripe insignia.
At the other end, the front fascia's biggest differentiator is the lower element, which is now a smoother body-colored design with two subtle integrated air channels low down. The entire front bumper is now a single element and features an extended front splitter out of carbon fiber. The carbon fiber headlight surrounds can be optioned as body-color items for the first time. McLaren says downforce has increased compared to the 720S but that the focus of the 750S wasn't on that aspect; it is merely a byproduct of the car's evolution. To prevent scraping of that extended front splitter, a new nose lift system raises the front end of the car in four seconds, down substantially from the 10 seconds it took the 720S to lift.
Along its side profile, changes are minimal, but largely center around engine cooling. The lower air intakes in the rocker panels are larger and have been reprofiled, now leaning forward in their design, enhancing airflow to the high-temperature radiators. Aft of the rear wheels, the side markers are slim-profile items shaped around the wheel arch rather than jutting out from them.
The Spider variant gets a power retractable hardtop, glazed rear buttresses, and a rear windshield that can be independently lowered and raised. It also features a slightly different door design to accommodate repositioned hinges, with a vertical front shut line as opposed to the coupe's diagonal shut line - a carryover from the 720S.
The 720S made a big deal about the flipping driver instrumentation that converted from a full-view digital display to a slimline element in its sportiest settings, showing only necessary information. That's now gone, replaced by a column-mounted cluster flanked on either side by rocker switches to control the driving modes.
McLaren says these rockers let drivers change powertrain and handling modes without their hands leaving the wheel, with Comfort, Sport, and Track Active Dynamic modes available. This has allowed the British automaker to maintain a steering wheel with no additional buttons.
Another new feature is the McLaren Control Launcher, allowing drivers to tailor various settings, including aero, suspension, powertrain, and transmission programs, and save them as one easily accessible mode accessed by the push of a single button featuring the McLaren logo.
Standard carbon-fiber bucket seats are lightweight without being uncomfortable but can be replaced with hardcore super-lightweight options weighing just 7.4 lbs apiece. The latter falls under the Performance sub-theme, with Nappa and Alcantara upholstery as standard, but for those with an eye on comfort, the TechLux interior theme is the way to go, with supple Nappa leather. The standard finish is Alcantara everywhere.
In any configuration, there's more convenience than ever, with standard Apple CarPlay integration and a new Central Information Screen with enhanced graphics and upgraded rear- and surround-view cameras. An optional Bowers & Wilkins sound system is available should you ever tire of the new exhaust note.
With the 720S already out of production, the 750 is ready to go, and orders are open. But for more car, you're expected to shell out more cash, too. The McLaren 750S carries a base price of $324,000 for the Coupe and $345,000 for the Spider, before options, a $5,500 destination charge, and a $2,240 "Americas Accessory Pack." Of course, no McLaren 750S will ever sell for those amounts, as the endless array of customization options, including MSO-specific paint and interior finishes, means each car will be completely unique.
"When you have a car recognized by so many drivers as a benchmark, to do something even better, you have to examine every detail and really push hard for improvements that raise the bar again," says CEO Michael Leiters of the 750S. "This is what we have done with the new 750S, and the light weight, V8 engine performance, and outstanding dynamic abilities combine to deliver a supercar driving experience that hits new heights, with truly exhilarating levels of emotional connection."
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