The lightest and most powerful series-production McLaren, the new V8-engined, rear-wheel drive 750S – which is available in coupe and convertible form – is unashamedly a supercar for the purist. Designed and engineered following meticulous analysis of the renowned McLaren 720S, the new 750S combines advances in weight-saving, powertrain performance, aerodynamics and dynamic excellence to elevate a benchmark driving experience to new heights. Around 30 per cent of 750S components are either new or changed in order to deliver these improvements and with them an even greater emotional connection to the car.
McLaren’s philosophy of super-lightweight engineering is inherent in the new 750S. Already 30kg lighter than the 720S coupe at 1,389kg (DIN), the weight of the new supercar can be further reduced with additional carbon fibre and lightweight options. With all of these components selected, in dry lightest form the 750S coupe weighs just 1,277kg. This is 193kg lighter than the closest rival and in conjunction with the 750PS of the engine gives a segment-leading power-to-weight ratio of 587PS-per-tonne – a 22PS advantage over the competition and a combination that delivers exceptional levels of performance and dynamic excellence.
Super-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Racing Seats are available as an option
The carbon fibre-shelled racing seats fitted as standard are a combined 17.5kg lighter than the sports seats previously standard-fit on the 720S. Where local market legislation allows, the passenger seat is fixed as standard, but can be specified with adjustable rails if required. A new 10-spoke ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheel is the lightest ever fitted as standard on a series-production McLaren supercar and brings a significant 13.8kg weight reduction over 720S.
The McLaren 750S Spider has an inherent advantage over rival open-top supercars built with aluminium and steel because of the inherent stiffness and rigidity advantages of carbon fibre. The Spider needs no additional strengthening, and the changes from the coupe – the Retractable Hard Top (RHT), integrated rollover protection system and bespoke rear upper structure – are all constructed from carbon fibre. The new convertible supercar weighs just 1,438kg (DIN) – again, 30kg less than the 720S Spider. Its weight in dry lightest guise is 1,326kg.
Super-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Racing Seats are available as an option. Crafted in carbon fibre, the seats use an innovative double-skin shell technology that reduces weight by 33% in comparison with the same seat shell produced using conventional carbon manufacturing techniques. Each shell weighs just 3.35kg.
The goal for the 750S development programme was to increase driver engagement and performance while also stretching the dynamic breadth of the car. This process focused on enhancing agility, feedback and connection to increase the ‘sense of fun’ behind the wheel.
The new hardware and software augment the dynamic abilities of the McLaren 750S
Suspension system developments engineered for 750S include new geometry – the front track is 6mm wider than on 720S – and a new coil spring and damper design that reduces weight by 2kg. The 750S features a new generation of McLaren’s renowned Proactive Chassis Control linked-hydraulic suspension. Achieving the seemingly incompatible combination of precise body control and a compliant ride – but at an even higher level – PCC III combines passive coil springs (which control ride frequency); semi-active dampers (with fully controllable compression and rebound); and a hydraulic roll circuit in place of conventional mechanical anti-roll bars.
The driver-selectable modes change both damper settings and roll stiffness, to alter the character of the vehicle. With the hydraulic circuit able to achieve greater roll stiffness than any conventional set-up, there is very little body roll during cornering. Front spring rates are 3% softer than those of the 720S and rear spring rates 4% firmer, benefitting both ride comfort and dynamic precision and control. On the rear axle, increased spring stiffness improves vehicle balance on track through more neutral mid-corner balance and superior roll support. Front-to-rear spring balance is further harmonised, enhancing how the 750S ‘breathes’ over road undulations to improve high-speed motorway refinement.
The tuning of the compression and rebound of the dampers expands the dynamic bandwidth of the 750S, while new construction and material technologies ensure a more repeatable response, no matter the temperature, environment or subjective loads. A new way of tuning dampers – adjusting the accumulators in the struts – was also used to perfect 750S.
The new hardware and software augment the dynamic abilities of the 750S while improving the comfort and usability that the McLaren 720S offered. For the driver, the choice of vehicle character is by choosing between three Handling modes – Comfort, Sport, or Track – with each focused on a different driving experience according to personal preference and conditions.
For drivers wishing to explore the full dynamic abilities of the 750S, McLaren Variable Drift Control, or VDC, allows them to adjust the intervention level of the traction control system independently of the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) setting. This adjustability means the driver can move seamlessly from the stage where the car’s electronic systems are intervening regularly to a stage where they are not intervening at all.
The cabin of the McLaren 750S is unashamedly driver-focused
Advanced technologies are fused with exquisite materials, but one of the most innovative elements is largely hidden from sight: beneath the soft leather and finely textured Alcantara surfaces is a strong and stiff carbon fibre monocoque that is inextricably linked to Formula 1.
When McLaren introduced the ground-breaking MP4/1 race car in 1981, its carbon composite monocoque was clearly superior to steel and aluminium alternatives. Immense structural rigidity created an incredibly stable platform that enhanced dynamic performance, and the light weight – only possible with carbon fibre construction – brought immediate benefits to acceleration, braking and dynamic performance.
More than four decades on, the monocoque at the heart of the 750S – while a high-tech world away from the MP4/1 – retains all of the benefits that advanced carbon fibre construction brings. The dihedral doors of the 750S coupe hinge dramatically upwards as they open, taking with them a section of roof, because the upper section of the monocoque can effortlessly support such a wide opening in its structure. This inherent strength is the same reason that the 750S Spider – which features its own bespoke doors – needs no additional structure reinforcement to incorporate a convertible roof.
The advantages of carbon fibre enable design of the ultra-slim A-pillars that aid forward visibility and the glazed C-pillars of the coupe and the compact tonneau buttresses of the Spider that improve over-the-shoulder visibility. Should a customer desire, elements of the carbon fibre structure within the cabin can be showcased in visible carbon fibre to underline the authenticity of the construction.
With the V8 engine so integral to the appeal of the 750S, McLaren’s personalisation programme gives coupe customers the option to specify a double-glazed panel with branded carbon fibre frame within the rear luggage shelf to expose the top of the powertrain. This is visible over the driver’s shoulder and visually brings the engine into the interior. It can also be seen from outside the vehicle, through the rear screen.
Driver convenience features include Apple CarPlay
Carbon fibre is also used for the integrated frame and panel of the Spider’s one-piece Retractable Hard Top (RHT). Driven by eight electric motors, the operating mechanisms are near silent, and the strength and lightness of the RHT enables the roof to open or close in 11 seconds at vehicle speeds up to 50km/h (31mph).
The new suite of driver controls introduced on the 750S is no less technically advanced and brings significant benefits. The new driver-centric instrument display is in a binnacle that is mounted on – and moves with – the steering column. The binnacle also features the controls for the Active Dynamics functions on either side, meaning a driver doesn’t have to take their hands off the wheel to select Powertrain and Handling modes.
The steering column – now electrically powered as standard – and the beam structure on which the driver display is mounted are both new and stiffer, contributing to an improvement in NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) properties.
The area adjacent to the central touchscreen, where the Active Dynamics switches were located on the 720S, now houses the buttons that control Launch and Aero settings, in an easier-to-use location. This is also where the control for an exclusive new driver technology feature that debuts on the 750S – the McLaren Control Launcher (MCL) – is sited. The MCL allows a driver to save their favourite configuration of aero, handling, powertrain and transmission settings using a button that features the famous McLaren Speedmark logo. This bespoke dynamic setting can be recalled with a single press of the same button to immediately return to their personalised McLaren driving experience.
As with all McLaren vehicles, the steering wheel of the 750S is deliberately free from any buttons or switches, allowing the driver to focus upon the feel and feedback from the chassis and road.
Information and infotainment detail is accessed through the new driver display and the optically bonded, touch-sensitive Central Infotainment Screen (CIS), the latter enhanced by richer graphics and increased touch sensitivity. The Rear-View camera and Surround View system have both been upgraded for higher definition and clarity and the quality of the in-car microphone has also been improved for greater voice command accuracy and clearer hands-free calling.
Driver convenience features include Apple CarPlay®, allowing smartphone mirroring and the use of defined apps from the Central Infotainment Screen. An upgraded in-car audio system developed in conjunction with McLaren’s audio partner, Bowers & Wilkins, can also be specified as an option. Since 2015, Bowers & Wilkins high-performance audio systems have been available in every McLaren, the acoustic technologies maximising audio performance and pushing the boundaries of loudspeaker capability. To achieve the goal of revealing as much of the original recording as possible, new audio system elements in the 750S include a more powerful amplifier and the company’s proprietary Continuum® cone speakers. Radio reception is improved by a new antenna.
The driver’s emotional connection to the McLaren 750S is extraordinary
The hardware of the vehicle-lift system has been comprehensively re-engineered, and it now raises the front of the 750S in only four seconds (10 seconds for the 720S) – although owners may not call on it too often as the lengthened front splitter has no impact on approach angles. The 750S Spider additionally features two switches – located between driver and passenger – that independently control the RHT and rear window glass.
True to its name, the McLaren 750S can call on up to 750PS from its 4.0-litre V8 engine. And with 800Nm of torque, the new supercar eclipses the petrol-engine outputs of the legendary McLaren P1™ (737PS and 720Nm). These numbers not only underline the incredible rate of progress, but also the astonishing levels of performance available to McLaren 750S drivers.
The engineering developments advance the renowned daily usability of the 720S, and yet the power and performance of the 750S is more full-blooded and undiminished than ever. Outright acceleration is phenomenal, with 0-100km/h (62mph) achieved in 2.8 seconds, 0-200km/h (124mph) in 7.2 seconds (Spider 7.3 seconds) and 0-300km/h (186mph) in less than 20 seconds (Spider 20.4).
The figures give the facts, but it is the visceral sensation of performance and speed that astounds and excites. From the moment the V8 comes to life, through the immense torque delivery in the twin-turbo engine’s mid-range and the thrilling climb to the rev limiter at 8,500rpm, the driver’s emotional connection to the 750S is extraordinary, and an experience that is becoming increasingly rare and sought after.
The V8 engine – mid-mounted for ideal weight distribution, handling balance and purity of response – is optimised for very high performance, with a flat-plane crankshaft; race-inspired dry sump lubrication; lightweight connecting rods that reduce powertrain mass; and electronically controlled turbocharger wastegates to provide precise boost pressure regulation.
The new central-exit exhaust system is lighter by 2.2kg than that of a 720S
The unique McLaren M840T engine developed for the 750S sees the boost pressure of the ultra-low inertia, twin-scroll turbochargers increased, raising air pressure within the cylinders. In conjunction, an additional high-flow fuel pump meets the greater fuel flow pressure requirements. For optimal efficiency, the second pump only ‘tops up’ pressure when demand is higher.
Lightweight pistons – the same as those in a 765LT – reduce inertia mass, while a bespoke engine management system controls the increased power and torque. Alongside the focus on maximum driver engagement, these electronics also optimise the powertrain to run on high-octane 99 RON fuel.
Complementing the increased power and torque of the engine is a transmission with a shorter final drive ratio, resulting in even quicker acceleration, with 0-200km/h (0-124mph) possible in 7.2 seconds (750S Spider: 7.3 seconds). The transmission is a 7-speed sequential shift unit, engineered for the highest performance applications; the pinion and crown wheel within the transmission final drive, for example, is made from 20NiCrMo, a high-performance nickel chromoly alloy more often seen Formula 1.
Formed in stainless steel, the new central-exit exhaust system is lighter by 2.2kg than that of a 720S. As well as contributing to weight reduction, it delivers a new and clear exhaust tone. In technical terms, this is achieved by reducing the 2nd and 6th order sounds and allowing the 4th order acoustics to dominate. Having experimented with multiple single- and dual-tailpipe exhaust designs, McLaren engineers also improved the 8th order sounds, creating a greater crescendo at high engine speeds.