McLaren’s 720S is a searingly fast, scalpel-sharp hypercar that triggers all the senses, so it is no surprise it has scooped up a hatful of awards and accolades since its 2017 launch.
Almost seven years down the road, it is time for a successor to take over the baton from the best-selling car that McLaren has built to date. However, as there really isn’t a whole lot wrong with the 720S, creating a mid-cycle replacement for such a lauded vehicle presented a dilemma.
McLaren could have taken the easy path and rolled out a mildly nip-tucked version of the former with a couple of minor cosmetic changes. At face value, that might appear to be the case as the new 750S has not changed much externally. Even so, it represents a comprehensive revamp as McLaren claims 30 per cent of its components are new.
The 750S is lighter, more potent and dynamically sharper than its predecessor, and the user interface has also been improved to provide clearer graphics and make it easier to navigate through the various functions.
The 720S was already a much lighter car than any of its rivals, yet McLaren has found ways to pare even more kilos from its girth; the 750S coupe weighs just 1,389kg with all fluids on board (30kg less than the 720S) and the drop-top Spider is only 49kg heavier than its fixed-roof sibling at 1,438kg.
The trusty M840T 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 has also come in for a thorough rework. It is equipped with higher pressure turbos, new twin fuel pumps and a lightweight sports exhaust system to produce 750hp at 7,500rpm and 800Nm of torque at 5,500rpm compared to 720hp and 770Nm for the 720S.
Apart from being 2.2kg lighter than before, the new centre-exit exhaust system has also been configured to belt out – in McLaren’s words – a “more emotional” soundtrack than the 720S.
With so much power and torque and so little weight to shift, it is hardly surprising the 750S nails down stunning acceleration numbers. The coupe dispatches the sprint from 0-100kph in just 2.8sec and 0-200kph in 7.2sec.
My first on-road stint is in a 750S Spider and first impressions are dominated by the panoramic view from the driver’s seat. Not only is front and lateral vision unimpeded by blind spots, even the view out the back – normally a particular weak point in mid-engined supercars – is exemplary.
The 750S doesn’t throw up any histrionics at pootling speeds in traffic. The twin-turbo V8 is decently tractable at low revs, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission shunts through ratios unobtrusively, and ride quality is remarkably compliant for a car with such blistering racetrack pace.
A subsequent stint in the coupe across the same road loop reinforces the impressions gathered earlier. The 750S can devour winding roads once the traffic thins out yet doesn’t tax all your senses when you are stuck in a bumper-to-bumper grind in inner-city environs.
You need access to a racetrack to fully tap into the dynamic abilities of the 750S and, as luck would have it, we have the 4.2km Circuito do Estoril at our disposal in the afternoon.
The 750S is a monstrously fast car and the unrelenting fashion in which it piles on speed is eye-opening. We see almost 280kph on the digital speedo readout before the huge carbon-ceramic brakes are called upon to slow the car down for Turn One – a slow-ish third-gear right-hander.
In addition to its raw pace, there is a delightful delicacy to the McLaren’s pin-sharp responses. The hydraulically assisted power steering delivers textured feedback that you simply don’t get with the electrically assisted systems that have been adopted across the board by other brands.
The car we drove on track was equipped with optional Pirelli Trofeo R semi-slick tyres, which serve up high cornering limits, but you still need to be patient on the throttle on corner exits as 800Nm is a lot to put down on the tarmac via just two contact patches.
All in all, the 750S represents a comprehensive and carefully considered revamp of the already capable 720S. Apart from being one of the fastest, most engaging offerings in its segment, it undoubtedly sets the hypercar benchmark in terms of day-to-day comfort and usability. Life just got tougher for Ferrari, Lamborghini et al...