On the cusp of Auckland Anniversary weekend, the sun was shining and I found myself in the company of several McLarens. However, the reason for my attendance was a sneak preview of the new McLaren 750S.
The car itself seemed to have gotten its first taker already as it was out on a test drive when I arrived, although I was early for once! Being the successor to the 720S is no easy feat as that was a car that produced 710 bhp and could do the 0-100 sprint in 2.8 seconds. All while channeling that immense power to the rear wheels. Mind you, this was six/seven years ago too.
How could McLaren improve on that you may ask? And to the untrained eye, it certainly looks the same but that is why I’m here, to train your eyes. Mine were trained by Shaun Summerfield, GM of Communications at Giltrap Group and race driver, Simon Evans.
To give you an idea of the improvements that have been made to the 750S, the car’s slogan is “Benchmark. Beaten”. The veteran ‘Mcfans’ among you will recognize this as words that could have come straight from Bruce himself (McLaren of course rather than Springsteen but you never know!).
A fitting slogan then as the 750S continues the McLaren tradition, “progress never stops”. This is the brand that has brought us the F1, P1, Senna and Speedtail among other things so credentials are aplenty. However, it’s not all pomp and show as the 750S goes a step further to acknowledging its Kiwi roots as you will see soon.
Being a McLaren, the key design elements still remain including the teardrop cockpit. However, the 750S features numerous visual upgrades over the 720S as subtle as some of them might be. At the front, engineers set about improving air flow with both the headlights & bumper better off for it.
Similar air related trickery has taken place at the rear where a new wing provides 5% more downforce than before. The rear bumper has also undergone a transformation while a fresh exhaust system with central pipes makes the 750S noisier than the car gone before it.
The transformative theme continues to the interior with improved switchgear and a more user friendly layout. The gauge cluster is now attached to the steering wheel so both will move should you need to adjust your driving position. The improved movement continues with a vehicle lift system that has a designated button on the side, the operation of which is twice as fast as that of the 720S.
However, it’s the addition of a single button that had all of us twice as excited and that is the ‘Flying Kiwi’ moniker. The button denotes the arrival of a special mode, a simple push will activate a custom drive mode. One that the driver can adjust based on preference of engine response, gearbox etc. Previously a tricky exercise, now ‘easy as’!
That’s not the only button that has streamlined some of the interior’s functionality. The other one is MCL or ‘McLaren Launch Control’. MCL opens up the taps, allowing for a 0-100kph time of 2.8 seconds! If that wasn’t gut wrenching enough, the 750S will do the 0-200kph sprint in 7.2 seconds and keep going to 332 kmh!! Its power comes courtesy of a 4 litre twin turbo V8 that puts out 552kW and a Senna matching 800Nm of torque.
In typical McLaren fashion, the performance is aided by its lightness with the 750S’ carbon monocage losing 30kgs over the 720S. A Spider version is on the way and will be available to order from next month. Then there’s the ‘Triple Crown’ edition. 60 of these are being made and one of them will call New Zealand home.
Triple Crown celebrates the years that McLaren won the three most significant accolades in track racing, namely the Monaco F1 GP, Le Mans 24hr and Indianapolis. This year, McLaren is poised to compete in the three different race formats with a view to regaining its triple crown.
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Words and photos by Matthew D’Souza.