Spectacular performance, please-all-comers handling, less annoying cabin tech
Spaceship looks won’t have changed enough for some. Still a drab noise
What is it?
Oh look, it’s another new McLaren that looks the same as the old one. Move along, nothing to see here. Right? Wrong. The new 750S replaces the 720S which arrived all the way back in 2017. McLaren says a third of its parts are new. Depending on if your glass is half-full or half-empty, you’ll decide that’s either quite a lot of new bits for what was already a class-leading supercar, or not enough tweaking considering it still looks so similar.
In fairness, most supercars tend to stick around longer than your average family hatchback. The Lamborghini Huracán has been knocking around since 2013 and is currently on its second mid-life facelift. Which is more than Simon Cowell. The Ferrari F8 is a renosed 488 GTB. And that was basically a turbocharged 458 Italia.
So what’s new for the 750S?
A longer front splitter, Artura-style vents atop the front wheelarch, lighter alloy wheels designs, and a bigger intake in the car’s lower flank to help cool a more powerful twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8. It’s up from the 720S’s 711bhp to 740bhp (it’s a lot less confusing if you just stick to metric horsepower measurements).
That means that behind its meshier rear, under that larger (yet lighter) 765LT-esque airbrake, you find an engine producing about three more horsepower than the cousin in the McLaren P1. Wondered what a P1 would’ve been like without all the hybrid gubbins and battery ballast? Here you go. Did I mention the 750S is about 100kg lighter than a P1 too?
Crikey. I’m expecting it to be very fast indeed then.
Hah! Wrong! It’s slower than the 720S. Seriously. McLaren has been busy adding downforce and shortening the final drive ratio, so the new car punches through the seven gears even more ferociously. The net result is the top speed drops from 212 to ‘just’ 206mph. Boo-hoo. But it’ll get from 0-186mph like a hypercar, which makes the quarter-million quid 750S a bargain. If speed alone is all you’re interested in.
I’m interested in more than speed.
Good, us too. But actually, it wasn’t the way the 720S looked, or went, or handled that really needed an overhaul. So alongside the extra frisson of pace and sharper aero, what McLaren’s tried to do here is make the 750S easier to build, more expensively finished, and easier to live with. McLarens are always set up with more ergonomic common sense than a Swiss chiropractor. They all offer so much visibility you can see into the future and a boot deeper than Mary Poppins’ weekend bag.
But owners who want to use them every day have been frustrated by the cars’ dodgy phone signal, naff radio reception and electrical glitches, not to mention concerns over the general fit and finish. The company insists this crucial attention to detail is now top priority, so the 750S should be as delightful to own as it is to drive.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
Take a quick look at the 750S and not much is new. Peer at it for longer and you notice most of the panels are changed. It’s the same story with driving it. If you’re not paying attention, it’s a quicker 720S. But if you concentrate, the mass of detail tweaks mounts up into one of the most complete supercars ever created. No car with 750 horsepower has any right to be so approachable. So useable. A daily-driver? Sure.
The difference with the 750S is that the interior won’t spoil that fantasy. The engine might still suffer from lag but the touchscreen no longer needs more thinking time than the person in front of you at the coffee shop. It hooks up with your iPhone and plays your tunes obediently. The nose lift no longer operates in geological time. These aren’t sexy, bedroom wall-worthy features. But they will give a 750S a fighting chance of being chosen over a 911 Turbo S for the morning commute.
It's actually a curious mix, the 750S. In an increasingly electrified world this sledgehammer turbo V8 missile is a bit of a dinosaur. But its styling is still spaceship, the performance more than you could ever hope to need, and the cabin’s finally caught up with the times. So it’s charmingly old school and at the cutting edge of what’s possible all at the same time. And that’s a rare blend – one that keeps the 750S right up there among the very best.