2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review: Incremental Excellence

The McLaren 720S is practically in a class of its own—and perfect to a fault. Improving on something so visceral, something that makes hypercar-like performance so approachable, is a tall order even for McLaren. Yet that’s what the 2024 McLaren 750S looks to be: A comprehensive, 765LT-bred upgrade to a shining, almost faultless supercar experience. The question, then, is obvious: Is that even enough?

After touring the Nevada desert and painting a racetrack black in a 750S, I find that question hard to answer. If anything, the 750S’s incremental name undersells how much work McLaren put into it but still encapsulates how different it is from the 720S. The 750S isn’t the platonic ideal of a supercar the 720S is; it’s the enlivened, impassioned, more carnal evolution. McLaren has made a car with more performance than all but the best drivers can extract, yet the approachability a billionaire failson can enjoy, with the kind of engagement that’s almost a lost art. Small styling tweaks and a retuned exhaust add a little something special to top it all off.

2024 McLaren 750S
2024 McLaren 750S. James Gilboy

Still, by making the 750S a more streetable 765LT, McLaren has made a phenomenal performance car inherently imperfect for everyday life. It has a loud cabin, firm ride, unimpressive stereo, and base seats that are just too hardcore. There’s no Android Auto either. Its similarity to the 720S makes it hard to justify upgrading from one, especially with how the 750S foreshadows great McLarens to come.

That said, if you’re on the edge about getting a McLaren now, the 750S will leave you with no regrets. In fact, it might still ruin every other car you’ve ever driven.

2024 McLaren 750S
2024 McLaren 750S. James Gilboy

The Basics

The McLaren 750S is a bit harder to explain than its name lets on. McLaren characterizes it as a “touring” version of the 765LT track car, with 30% of its parts differing from the 720S. That includes the chassis, which McLaren “heavily modified” from the 720S. McLaren wouldn’t say if it plans to use the altered tub for other cars, which I take to mean it will. In a sense, the 750S is a preview of the McLarens of tomorrow.

It’s a ferocious forebear, its improvements visible from nose to tail. There’s an enlarged front splitter and rear wing, which generate more downforce with better balance than the 720S. They guide air to enhanced cooling to offset extra heat made by the 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8, which gains 30 horsepower and 22 lb-ft of torque over the 720S with pistons and high-pressure dual-pump fuel delivery from the 765LT. Its center-exit stainless steel exhaust (a P1 tribute) is 4.8 pounds lighter and retuned to add character that many 720S owners agree their cars lack.

Together, they elevate the 8,500-rpm 750S to 740 hp and 590 lb-ft. These are channeled to the rear wheels by a seven-speed “seamless shift” automatic, which has a new downshift queueing feature to prevent money shifts on track. A shortened final drive ratio boosts acceleration, as do outrageous weight savings. Everything from the instrument panel to glass, wing, suspension, seats, and wheels shed mass. A whole 30 pounds vanish from the wheels alone. All in all, a 750S weighs 66 pounds less than a 720S. The drop-top Spider benefits too, coming in only 108 pounds heavier than the coupe owing to its carbon fiber roof.

That enhances handling, which if anything is the main focus of the 750S, with an emphasis on low-speed agility you feel in the real world. The electrohydraulic steering rack has a faster ratio, and the track has been widened by 6 mm (tire size remains the same). Four-corner double-wishbone suspension with aluminum arms gets revised geometry and tuning, with softer front springs and stiffer rears. Semi-active damping and hydraulic roll control carry over from the 720S, but the time it takes for its nose to lift has been reduced from 10 seconds to four.

The 720S was already considered a borderline hypercar killer, but let’s put that into perspective. It makes more power than a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat while weighing almost a third less. The 750S meanwhile is lighter, torquier, and has more aggressive gearing. In fact, its power-to-weight ratio comes within spitting distance of a Bugatti Veyron’s—with half the driven wheels. Even so, it nails zero to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, reaches 124 in another 4.5, and tops out at 206. All while looking simply, subtly sinister.

The 750S’s headlights peek out as if they’re under a mask, like the real car lies behind a veneer. It kinda does: Getting up close reveals how much of the car’s aero is hidden in a channel running through the door, fed by creases from the hood and exiting through flying buttress B-pillars. The flow converges at the extended rear wing that dramatizes the 750S’s side profile, particularly the Spider’s with its roof down.

Generous use of mesh and open space above the diffuser show off the rear subframe, transmission, and exhaust: This McLaren means business. It can draw attention to (or away from) brakes behind subdued, spindly forged wheels or flashier options with machined faces—I think I like the latter more. The paint selection is a mushroom trip, where even the grayscales are stunners. Still, just get the papaya orange; you can almost taste it by looking at it.

2024 McLaren 750S

The interior, meanwhile, is the one you know from the 720S. Not flashy, but focused and clutter-free. The mini tablet-sized touchscreen is no larger than it needs to be and doesn’t aggregate the most important controls. All those remain physical and within easy reach of the button-free steering wheel. Shift buttons live on the center console, drive modes are toggled from the corners of the instrument binnacle, and less-used functions are out of the way where they belong. This is a space designed for the act of driving and a sterling example of how purposeful design often isn’t the flashiest. That’s not to say McLaren neglects styling, but it definitely comes secondary.

Materials aren’t second-rate though, as almost everything is leather, carbon fiber, or lightweight Alcantara with a broadly similar matte finish. Even the plastic parts sneak inoffensively into place. Many of the major touch points are machined aluminum or framed in it. I love the fact that you can get the interior in everything from tan to scarlet or a faint blue, though it’d be easy to spec something that pushes the limits of good taste.

Cramming a V8 lengthwise into a car shorter than a Corolla could cramp the cabin, but the 750S somehow manages to be roomier than many larger SUVs. There’s tons of head and elbow room, and quite enough for your legs. The frunk is even deep enough for a modest Costco trip. Visibility is superb for a modern car, particularly for a mid-engined one; they often suffer from big B-pillars. Still, its dihedral doors are bulky and require effort to open, and I didn’t love the standard P1-derived seats. They’re extremely tight, and I couldn’t get deep enough to find optimal spine support. The lighter Senna seats were comfier, while the Comfort seats themselves are probably the best pick overall.

Driving Experience

Not much compromises a performance car like a chassis-engine imbalance. That mistake is all the easier to make with a highly boosted small-displacement engine, which makes you appreciate how forgiving McLaren made the 750S—and how scary it isn’t.

Simply put, there is no speed at which the 750S can’t pile on more velocity than you’re ready for. Even in Comfort mode, you can lay your foot down and be jolted to life by four liters of overwhelming acceleration that makes the rear end squirm. Only then do the turbos come on, and the edges of your vision stretch along with your face. As the revs rise, the de-restricted exhaust emits a baleful howl, climaxing with a touch of V8 chop at the very top.

Then, in the shake of a lamb’s tail, you arrive in the next gear with boost prebuilt, and the violence continues. Highway speed becomes impound speed becomes court hearing speed in seconds, and it’d all be too much if the 750S didn’t have the best brakes short of a drag chute. Its optional ceramics have streetable response without warmup, and their minimal assist trades ease for feel. Even on track, I struggled to reach their locking threshold, with the rear wing flipping up as an airbrake to keep the car stable. It twitches less than a cat about to pounce, which if you’ll forgive the cliché, is how the 750S attacks corners.

2024 McLaren 750S
2024 McLaren 750S. James Gilboy

The steering is sharp and weighty like a kart’s, and so communicative that you can tell what kind of gravel was used in the pavement. The lack of body roll takes gauging its effect on weight transfer out of the equation and makes the ultra-stiff carbon chassis all the more responsive. Every slip and scrub, the feeling of tires gnawing their shoulders as you overstep their limits, comes through the wheel and seat. It’s as exhilarating as it is encouraging.

I know what an unforgiving mid-engined car handles like on-track, and the 750S isn’t one. Its handling skews neutral, and its assists are no more active than they need to be. It won’t stop you from being a hero, but if you’re a mortal like me, it’ll make sure you have a good time anyway.

2024 McLaren 750S
2024 McLaren 750S. James Gilboy

It’s all too easy for a car this refined on a track to neglect road manners, and the 750S doesn’t—though I don’t know that I’d call it luxurious. The throttle and transmission mapping are aggro in all modes, hanging onto low gears any time you outpace traffic off the light. Shifts are snappy but not jarring, and the ride is commendable for how little sidewall there is. It’s still firm though, and the size of the tires means the cabin isn’t quiet.

Most of what you hear is road noise, but the engine is omnipresent, and the wind speaks its part starting around 50 mph. That’s also when the Spider becomes overwhelming with the roof down, so it’s not the most tranquil place on the highway. While McLaren tuned the stereo to rise in volume with speed, I found the 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins underwhelming. There was also a rattle in the exhaust’s heat shield while cruising at low throttle. I won’t say you couldn’t road-trip a 750S, because I would, but it won’t be the best thing in your garage for it.

2024 McLaren 750S
2024 McLaren 750S. James Gilboy

McLaren 750S Features, Options, and Competition

The McLaren 750S has the usual performance tech, with adjustable drive modes for all environments to configurable oversteer assists, launch control, and adjustable aero. The infotainment supports only wired Apple CarPlay, though.

As for options, everything from a range of lightweight forged wheels and Pirelli P Zero performance tires to an engine-displaying porthole are available, as well as those carbon ceramic brakes and up to 247 pounds of piecemeal carbon fiber weight reduction. There is also a trio of seat options—P1, Senna, and Comfort—but I’d avoid the P1 seats in the interest of comfort. You can also get titanium wheel bolts and a range of specialty MSO paint colors. While supplies last, anyway: McLaren says the 750S is sold out through Spring 2025, and that half of allocations are gone—there are maybe 500 cars left.

In the increasingly segmented supercar landscape, one car stands out as a 750S equivalent: The Ferrari 296. They both have twin-turbo engines that rev to 8,500, but the Ferrari’s is a 3.0-liter V6 with a serious hybrid system that gives it a 79-hp advantage—if also hundreds more pounds to overcome.

In a bench race, the less powerful McLaren beats the Ferrari to 60 mph by two-tenths, though both hit 124 in the same 7.3 seconds. McLaren claims a top speed of 206, and Ferrari “more than” 205, so let’s call it even. Stomping on the brakes, though, exposes a small Ferrari advantage: 351 feet from 120 to zero, while the McLaren takes 371.

The Ferrari also ekes out a mileage advantage with its hybrid system, getting 15 miles of all-electric range and 18 mpg combined to the McLaren’s 17. On balance, the real decision seems to be between whether you want an enhanced version of a known-great ICE supercar or the benefits of electrification.

2024 McLaren 750S
2024 McLaren 750S. James Gilboy

The Early Verdict

The 2024 McLaren 750S is a superlative that’ll tower over almost every performance car you’ve ever driven. It’s a near-perfect supercar; a kind of vehicle with an inherent clarity of purpose that most modern cars lack: To be driven as fast as you dare.

Yet the same could be said of the 720S, over which the 750S is a marked upgrade—but perhaps not quite big enough of one to justify trading them out. It’s like replacing last year’s iPhone; the 15 might be better than the 14, but it’s not a fundamentally different experience. You have to be invested in the latest and greatest to rationalize buying up—in filling the 765LT-shaped hole in your garage.

That is, if you’re coming from a 720S in the first place. If you aren’t, there’s never been a better time to get into a McLaren. And I guarantee you’ll be as smitten as I am.

2024 McLaren 750S Specs
Base Price (Spider as tested)$331,740 coupe | $352,740 Spider ($467,490)
Powertrain4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 | 7-speed automatic | rear-wheel drive
Horsepower740 @ 7,500 rpm
Torque590 lb-ft @ 5,500 rpm
Seating Capacity2
DIN Weight3,062 pounds
Cargo Volume12.7 cubic feet (coupe) | 7.3 cubic feet (Spider)
0-60 mph2.7 seconds
Top Speed206 mph
EPA Fuel Economy15 mpg city | 19 highway | 17 combined 
Quick TakeAn unforgettable improvement over one of the greatest supercars of today. But it still might not be different enough.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com


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