Why the 750s is McLaren’s Best Road Car Yet

by Andrew Maness

In my many years of experience driving supercars, only a precious few have remained as memorable now as when I first drove them. The Huracan STO, 812 Superfast and Viper ACR(yes, it’s a supercar) are just a few that come to mind and if I close my eyes I can recall many of those fantastic but fleeting moments I enjoyed in each of them. Late night tunnel pulls, twisty ascents requiring the utmost concentration, the ill advised, but wholly enjoyable maxing out of top gear, these are vivid experiences forever burned into my consciousness. Hell, I could probably tell you what the weather was on those days, what I had for lunch this past weekend, not so much. Therein lies the true value of an exceptional vehicle, like the 2024 McLaren 750 S for example, it delivers life enriching moments that stay with you long after the experience is over.

Exotic cars are not P.E.D.’s (personality enhancement devices), nor are they trophies to be collected or investments to be tucked away in some nondescript garage, no matter how badly some people want them to be one or all of those things. They are, above all else, transportation. Sure, they go about their job of moving people and stuff from one place to another a bit differently than most vehicles on the road, but distilled down to their essence they’re still just a means of conveyance. In their relatively short history of building road going cars available to anyone with the necessary financials to acquire one, McLaren has managed to figure out that even a ballistic weapon of a car like the 750S still needs to accomplish that simple task of conveyance comfortably. That they also tend to make every trip behind the wheel quite memorable speaks volumes to their formula for constructing a car. Put on the spot and offered the choice between a comparable Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche or McLaren to do an extended trip that’s full of mundane driving, honestly, I’d struggle between the Porsche and the McLaren. Add in the caveat that a small percentage of the trip will include some of the most spectacular driving roads on the planet I’m taking the McLaren, no question. That’s down to the fact that for all the strengths of the competition and the weaknesses of McLaren, the latter wins out in pure driving enjoyment, whether you’re sitting in traffic or going 10/10ths.

With the arrival of the 750S McLaren has delivered their most well rounded product to date. It feels every bit as batshit crazy as the 765 LT, but in a smaller and more dialed in package. Where the Italian competitors at this rung on the ladder either feel twitchy or unstable at times when you really would rather they didn’t, the 750 S feels locked in. If you’re experienced with this segment you’ll immediately trust the 750S to do what you want it to. Even if you’re a very competent driver who’s never driven an exotic I suspect the learning curve would be easy to navigate. That’s got a great deal to do with the technological wizardry deployed by McLaren here, but more importantly, crucially even, it’s thanks to the 750S offering loads of information to the driver by way of the steering wheel, the seat and the brake pedal. I talk a lot about “feel” when it comes to any vehicle with sporting aspirations and typically an automaker will get one of the core elements right, maybe two, but not all three. Well, I’ll be damned if McLaren didn’t get it right everywhere it counts in the 750S. It starts with a perfectly sized steering wheel devoid of any buttons. Once you lay hands on it, you don’t want to let go, it may well be the most comfortable tiller I’ve come across in all my seat time.

Speaking of which, the 750S I drove was fitted with the optional comfort seats, which are probably the right ones for the majority of buyers. The standard seats are new carbon shelled racing buckets that weigh a combined 38.6 lbs and they’re not uncomfortable, but they’re also fixed apart from fore/aft adjustment, so extended drive time becomes much more of a commitment. There are also the super light carbon fiber racing seats aka. “Senna Seats” and for $7,600 you might as well get those if you’re going the bucket route. They weigh an impressive 7.4 lbs each, but more importantly they’re very supportive and available in “Touring” size, which dials up the comfort even further. Regardless of what chair you’re in, there’s loads of feedback being transmitted from the chassis to your body, but not in an unwanted way as is often the case in this segment. McLaren’s Proactive Chassis Control III is a setup for the ages and I truly don’t know where they go from here. Improvements over the 720S include springs that are 4.4 lbs lighter, 3% softer in the front and 4% stiffer in the rear, bespoke twin-valve dampers (with passive and active elements) and new in-strut accumulator adjustment. Additionally the suspension geometry has been revised and the front track widened by 6 mm. As I found out during hot laps at Las Vegas International Speedway, everything I just rattled off adds up to a trustworthy circuit companion that rewards your confidence. I honestly get a tingle in my spine just thinking about the moment of turn in and subsequent grip of the front end as the 750 S carves through a corner like a speed skater. The rear end follows suit and before the steering wheel is straight you and can apply plenty of throttle, damn near all of it depending on skill, surface quality and how adventurous you’re feeling.

The lightest and most powerful series production McLaren ever built, the 750S is a proper weapon, one that should probably require a special permit to acquire or at least a nanny mode for the crypto kids who would be better off sticking to driving in the metaverse. Brand perception is the biggest challenge McLaren faces and if I can help move the needle in the right direction even a little bit, I’m glad to be of assistance. Automakers can’t help who buys their vehicles, they are after all, businesses that exist to make a profit. Back in the day this wasn’t always the case, especially with regard to the elite automakers whose primary interest was success in motorsport, the consumer side of the business was secondary and there only to support racing efforts. Obviously that approach couldn’t last in an increasingly globalized economy that demands constant growth, but certain brands have the benefit of a long rich history to lean into when peddling vehicles that have nothing to do with that history to the uninformed elite. McLaren’s story obviously has genuine motorsport roots and I’d argue the DNA from Bruce’s racing days has carried over more so than any of the other brands in the segment. However, understanding and actually appreciating how that DNA informs the current road car program isn’t a prerequisite for buying a McLaren, far from it. That’s how you end up with some douchebags cruising parking lots with the dihedral doors up and others quickly finding themselves pointing the wrong direction on the Pacific Coast Highway. Yes, the same anecdotes could apply to McLaren’s competitors, but I suppose people have come to expect that from them after all this time. Despite being instantly recognizable to any automotive enthusiast, McLaren is still the new-ish kid on the block to the general public and as such it’s their turn in the cultural woodshed. To the uninitiated a McLaren is the object of their ire, a rolling middle finger that signifies grotesque wealth and poor taste. Smoothbrains, the lot of them. It’s a shame that so many observers and owners miss the point of cars like the 750S because underneath the wild extra-terrestrial organism design (that’s lovely by the way) lies a very well thought out transportation device. The forward visibility is better than your average econobox and out the back the new transparent flying buttresses provide rear visibility that’ll embarrass most crossovers and make a Huracan owner cry. Changing the active drive and suspension settings is now done with controls mounted to the new gauge cluster at “11 and 1”, placing them just at the end of your fingertips if your hands are where they should be on the wheel. To the left of the infotainment screen there’s a new Speedy Kiwi button that launches a favorites mode that’s customizable on the fly. This, together with the addition of Apple CarPlay, solidifies the 750S as a willing companion for all outings. Set power to Sport (or Track if the occasion calls for it) set the handling to Comfort, set your destination (or don’t), select a great album to blast over the class leading Bowers & Wilkins surround system and off you go to make memories that’ll last a lifetime. Those memories will cost you a pretty penny of course, but as I like to say about this segment of cars, if you can, you should and if you can’t, you should try as hard as you can.