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With each iteration, this supercar gets betterthe McLaren 750S, tested

polished — With each iteration, this supercar gets betterthe McLaren 750S, tested How do you improve on the McLaren 720S? More power, less weight, sharper handling.

Jonathan M. Gitlin – Nov 17, 2023 12:01 am UTC Enlarge / McLaren Automotive got its start with the clinical MP4-12C. The 750S is an evolutionary descendant of that car and shows how far McLaren has come since 2011.McLaren reader comments 22 with McLaren provided flights from Washington to Lisbon and two nights in a hotel so we could drive the 750S. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

What do you get the supercar that has everything? McLaren must have been thinking about that question when it came time to give the already rather good 720S a bit of a midlife refresh. The answer is more power, less weight, and a raft of updates here and there that make the new McLaren 750S more useable but also even better on track, if that’s your thing.

Starting from a standard configuration, a 750S weighs 3,062 lbs (1,388 kg), 66 lbs (30 kg) less than the car it’s replacing. But if you select the right combination of options, from single-piece carbon fiber racing seats to titanium wheel bolts, you can trim that down even furtherMcLaren says to as little as 2,815 lbs (1,277 kg), but that’s a dry weight.

Regardless, the all-carbon fiber construction results in a car that’s both very stiff and lighter than the competition. And the penalty for switching to a retractable hardtop roof is just 108 lbs (50 kg), although it does bring the car’s center of gravity up a smidge. The styling changes compared to the outgoing 720S are subtle. McLaren Top-down, the wind deflector between the seats does its job well. It doubles as the rear window when the roof is deployed, and you can lower it for more sound if you don’t want al fresco motoring. With a dry weight well under 3,000 lbs, the 750S counts as a featherweight in 2023. McLaren

It might be worth it just for the better soundtrack. The engine is a 4.0 L twin-turbo V8 that now generates 740 hp (552 kW) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm), and if you have the powertrain set to sport mode, the center-mounted exhaust will pop and crackle pleasingly on part throttle. There are lightweight pistons from the limited-run 765LT, and the 750S will rev to 8,500 rpm, which is impressive for a turbocharged engine. Advertisement

As with all McLarens, the new 750S uses a dual-clutch (SSG, or seamless shift gearbox in McLaren-speak) transmission, which drives the rear wheels. The shifts are faster than before and (intentionally) a little violent in sport mode. Switch to track mode and that goes away. Equally, leave the powertrain in comfort mode and you can drive the McLaren like it has a slushmatic fitted back there; those seamless gearshifts are barely perceptible if you’re just puttering along.

It’s actually comfortable in that duty if you’ve also set the handling to normal. This car still features the company’s interconnected front and rear hydraulic suspension system (described in some detail back when we tested the 650S). Now also familiar to Rivian owners, it was banned in Formula 1, but that sport’s loss is the 750S driver’s gain. The sport setting was acceptable on Portugal’s smooth highways but a little too stiff for the more pockmarked roads around Estoril. The 10-spoke forged wheels are the lightest yet fitted to a regular production McLaren. McLaren The lightweight carbon fiber track seats weigh just 7.4 lbs (3.4 kg) each and come in two sizes. If I look a little lost, it’s because these are the wider “touring” size and are mounted a little lower in the car than is optimal for my height. McLaren The vents above the front wheels are an optional extra, but one I’d tick.

For circuit work, you obviously want both powertrain and handling set to track. This gives you the most direct throttle mapping, the fastest gearshifts, and the quickest reactions from the suspension. The cars McLaren brought to Estoril were fitted with the optional 15.4-inch (392 mm) carbon ceramic brake discs, similar to the ones that stop the McLaren Senna. They performed notably well on track; I saw at least 27-something km/h on the digital dash before braking into turn 1, which felt rather fast, but they slowed the car with no fuss or fade all afternoon.

It’s interesting how different a sub-3 second launch feels in a lightweight V8-powered supercar compared to a very fast electric vehicle. McLaren says the 750S will do 060 mph in 2.7 seconds (0100 km/h in 2.8 seconds), which more than a few EVs can match or beat. None feel quite as… fizzy in the process. It’s the best word I can think to describe the mix of organ-shifting acceleration plus the various vibrations from the rear tires as they struggle to keep traction and the engine as it climbs toward its rev limit. Page: 1 2 Next → reader comments 22 with Jonathan M. Gitlin Jonathan is the Automotive Editor at Ars Technica. He has a BSc and PhD in Pharmacology. In 2014 he decided to indulge his lifelong passion for the car by leaving the National Human Genome Research Institute and launching Ars Technica’s automotive coverage. He lives in Washington, DC. Advertisement Channel Ars Technica ← Previous story Next story → Related Stories Today on Ars

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