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Road tests

New McLaren 750S 2023 review: the 720's sensational replacement

The new McLaren 750S is an evolution of the 720S, and brings extra excitement

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

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Verdict

A maximum rating of five stars might seem like a generous score for a revised version of an old-school supercar that costs a quarter-of-a-million pounds. But the McLaren 750S gets so many things right on so many levels – and is so much sharper to drive than the car it replaces – we can’t help but be blown away by it. In fact, it’s just how a loud, proud, mad, slightly scary supercar should be. No wonder it’s sold out for the next 18 months.

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The 750S is the lightest and most powerful series production car McLaren has ever created. It might lack the hybrid sophistication of its Ferrari 296 rival, but at its core, the 750S is an endearingly old-school, refreshingly simple kind of supercar. One that’s bang up-to-date in many ways, but that doesn’t bamboozle with too many technical complexities.

With its raw performance, yes, but not through computer-controlled electronic wizardry. Instead, the 750S is just a very potent mid-engined V8 supercar with two turbos, a rear-drive chassis, an insanely fast-shifting seven-speed gearbox and a tonne of development miles beneath its new ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels.

McLaren’s intention was to make the 750S as exciting as possible –more so than the 720S on which it’s based, while at the same time retaining that car’s overall usability. It’s best thought of as three-quarters of a 765LT, but with the practicality of its predecessor and an interior influenced by the Artura.

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What you see in the flesh – a dramatic new take on a familiar theme – is very much what you get from behind the wheel; undiluted, uncomplicated, unfathomably huge performance with a level of driver interaction from the steering, brakes
and chassis that is rapidly being engineered out of cars such as this.

Its 4.0-litre engine now produces 740bhp (750PS, hence the name) and 800Nm – enough to propel the car to 62mph in 2.8 seconds. The Spider weighs 49kg more, but is, to all intents and purposes, every inch as fast as the coupé. Top speed has dropped on both versions because the gearing is slightly lower and closer than it was in the 720S, to give better acceleration.

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Elsewhere, the 750S has been heavily revised with lightly updated looks inside and out, plus faster steering, bigger brakes and uprated dampers. The overall effect is deeply effective. You can tell the 750S comes from the same gene as before, but in its detail – and especially raw performance – it feels like a very different machine. One that drives with more focus, more edge, yet is as civilised as a 720S on the road.

That’s a strong cocktail of attributes, and although McLaren sees the 750S as a rival to the similarly priced Ferrari, in reality it has produced a totally different kind of car. One with a more open and more approachable personality that’s easier to understand and, ultimately, enjoy. There are certainly fewer technical complexities to get your head round, and that makes it a simpler car to drive.

In Comfort mode, the ride is calm, the V8 engine relatively quiet and the gearchanges smooth. In Sport, the exhaust gets louder, the throttle response keener and there are pleasingly random crackles from the tailpipes; occasionally, flames erupt from the central exhaust. And in Track mode, everything – from the throttle map to the gearshift speed to the response from the dampers – is retuned to deliver the fastest times on a track, while the gearshifts also get smoother.

You can specify the brakes from a McLaren Senna for an extra £15k if you think the standard carbon-ceramic rotors aren’t good enough, while Pirelli Trofeo tyres are an advisable no-cost option if you’re going to drive your 750S on a track. You really should do that, because only on a circuit does the car truly come alive.

Model:McLaren 750S
Price:£243,500
Powertrain:4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power/torque:740bhp/800Nm
Transmission:Seven-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph:2.8 seconds
Top speed:206mph
Economy/CO2:23.2mpg/276g/km
Size (L/W/H):4,569/1,930/1,196mm
On sale:Now
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