Fast and furious: the new McLaren 750S
This supercar looks and drives like a dream, plus it has the fun bonus of a thrilling Formula One-worthy engine growl
Nobody ever got out of a McLaren 720S and said, “I wish that went a bit faster.” Lightning-quick and razor-sharp, it’s a bona-fide supercar with a mind-bending performance. What could be suggested (when your heartbeat has subsided and your brow has been mopped) was that maybe the 720S could be a little more emotionally engaging. Something to vibrate in the soul as well as the brain. McLaren has taken on this task with the car that replaces it — and, of course, made it even quicker for good measure. So goodbye 720S, hello 750S. The relatively simple naming convention for these sports cars references the metric measure for horsepower they produce (no one misses the MP4-12C moniker of McLaren’s first car): the 720S had 720 horsepower, the new 750S has 750 … you get the picture. Yet behind the wheel the 750S is much more than an extra 30 horses. A marked effort has been made to increase this car’s fun factor.
The 750S is offered at launch in both Coupé and Spider (convertible) versions. The Coupé features a neat window into the engine bay, yet since this car has a MonoCage II carbon-fibre tub, the sensible option has to be the open top as there is no loss of structural integrity. It may get to 300km/h (186mph) 0.6 seconds slower than the Coupé, but I dare anyone not squealing with delight to notice the difference. It exposes you to the elements and, more important, gets you closer to the sound of the beefed-up engine note courtesy of a new central-exit, stainless-steel sports exhaust. The electrically operated retractable hard top is always there if the weather turns and can be raised or lowered in 11 seconds at up to 30mph.
The exterior design is an evolution of the 720S rather than a radical overhaul. The interior is more of a revolution, with the adoption of the instrument binnacle from the Artura that has handling and powertrain mode selection on rocker switches, which are now easily in reach without taking your hands off the wheel. There is a new infotainment system with Apple CarPlay as standard and urban practicality has also been improved with a nose-lift kit that now raises the front of the car in just four seconds (instead of ten in the 720S).
Looks are essential to a supercar’s allure, but how the 750S drives is McLaren’s secret sauce. The 720S was the benchmark for many in terms of how a supercar should behave, but the designers have managed to sharpen everything up in the new car in a way that is both remarkable and undeniably more playful. The sublime electrohydraulic steering is there to enjoy, and as you approach every corner you find yourself diving down the gears for the aural pleasure as much as the engine response. The flame-spitting, back-firing bark of the exhaust is undoubtedly a little childish, but it will have you smiling like a kid on a puppy farm. And despite the added drama this car is incredibly rapid. My goodness it’s fast — and, just as crucial, it stops as impressively as it moves forward. Like all McLarens it’s equally happy and seemingly more capable on the track. At the end of a long straight you dare to brake later and later while trying to overcome your body’s natural desire for self-preservation. Yet still you get nowhere near the limit of this car, jumping involuntarily onto the stop pedal as your brain screams brake, brake! It would make you giggle if it wasn’t mildly terrifying. After a few laps it’s startling to think you can pull off the track and return to the public roads with this car.
McLaren’s flagship supercar is now more than just a clinical scalpel that can get you from A to B with maximum efficiency — it’s also a raucous, tyre-smoking hooligan when you want it to be. It’s a have-your-cake-and-eat-it situation.
Coupé, £243,500; Spider, £267,900, mclaren.com