2023 McLaren 750S 4.0 V8 Coupe Review: 30 Rocks

David Khoo

David Khoo discovers in Portugal that the McLaren 750S is able to rock and rage like it’s still in its 20s

2024 McLaren 750S 4.0 V8 Coupe

Launched: July 2023 / Price: S$1,398,000 with options before COE
Two-door supercar coupe, mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive
750hp / 800Nm, 4.0-litre V8, twin-turbo, 12.2L/100km

– ICE mid-engined, rear-drive supercars are a dying breed
– Lively, agile handler
– Exotic looks
– Improves on the excellent 720S

– McLaren saved weight by getting rid of the 720S’s cool folding instrument display
– Not a lot else

Estoril, Portugal

Is ‘30’ the new ‘20’? Well, it could be, especially with the 720S’s output bumped by 30hp and 30Nm to 750hp and 800Nm in the new 750S. Rounding up the ‘30’ trinity is the 30kg dropped from the 720S to achieve the 750S’s 1389kg kerbweight – this brings the 750S to within 50kg of the very hardcore (and lightweight) 765LT’s 1339kg.

Using your own car as a benchmark seems terribly immodest, but when you’re McLaren and the car in question is the excellent 720S, it’s hard to think of another candidate to use as ‘base’ for an evolution model like the 750S.

So while the 750S’s engine power-ups may seem modest, the other ingredients work towards creating an even spicier happy meal than the 720S, especially in terms of driving engagement.

It all depends on what sort of petrolhead you are. Some obsess over paper qualifications, as if those are the be-all-end-all to a sportscar. However, this author prefers the intensive driving thrills that you’ll only find in holistically-tuned performance machines.

This includes lightweighting efforts and fine-tuning the chassis, as opposed to just tweaks for higher output. After all, it’s all-too-easy these days to boost performance with electrification and / or winding up the boost for turbocharged cars.

As far as we’re concerned, academic empirical metrics like engine output, 0-100km/h and top speed have taken a backseat to real-world seat-of-pants emotional ‘feels’, such as in-gear acceleration, thrilling dynamics and lightweight agility – all of which the 750S delivers in spades.

As part of McLaren’s former Super Series (now classified under ‘Supercars’), the 750S can trace its lineage all the way back to the MP4-12C from more than a decade ago.

Not only was the turbo’d MP4-12C built around a carbonfibre monocoque tub (a feature that persists to this very day), it also delivered an explosive punch (a huge hit at the time considering Ferrari and Lamborghini were still running nat-asp engines).

Except the brand’s first modern sportscar after the seminal F1 of the 1990s (and SLR collab with Mercedes in the mid-2000s) was engineered to deliver fast, fuss-free maximum attack performance. If you recall, the MP4-12C’s (which would become 12C, then evolve into the 650S) handling was more clinical and concise than lively.

However, some drivers prefer the slower, more sideways approach through a corner, especially to score smoky showmanship points. After all, not everyone wants to be in maximum attack mode all the time, but may prefer to indulge in frisky and frolicsome fun.

From the 650S to the 720S and now the 750S, the genus has become even more capable in chasing lap times, yet features that salacious edge that allows one to indulge in the occasional spot of naughty behaviour.

It takes a keen eye to play ‘spot-the-difference’ between 750S and its 720S predecessor, but we’re told 30 per cent of the new car has been updated to result in the lightest and most powerful series-production McLaren to date.

Visually, the most obvious changes are the centre-exit stainless steel exhaust (2.2kg weight savings), nips-and-tucks around the distinctive ‘eye-socket’ headlights / intakes, a larger (but 1.6kg lighter) carbonfibre active rear wing and ten-spoke ultra-lightweight forged alloy rims (13.8kg weight savings).

If you’re sceptical (as we were) that there would be any discernible improvement from the 720S, be prepared to pop your eyes back into their sockets the moment you first turn the 750S’s wheel in anger.

The launch programme’s combination of road and racetrack sessions would demonstrate the 750S’s ability to straddle the razor’s edge between scintillating and sanguine.

Chief Engineer Sandy Holford clarifies that the 750S isn’t intended to snap on the heels of the very hardcore, very limited 765LT (or its owners).

Instead, the objective with the 750S was to extend the 720S’s depth of abilities with a dash of the limited edition LT’s mojo in terms of feel, feedback and fun, all without compromising the 750S’s daily-driveability.

We don’t like to apply that overused ‘everyday supercar’ label to the 750S, because in some ways, this denigrates the full breadth of its abilities. It may be tractable on city commutes and perfectly composed over bad roads, but that’s like saying a Kangal is tame because it deigns to walk on a leash with its owner.

Unleashed on a track or given a clean run on a sinuous ribbon of tarmac, the 750S quickly sheds its inhibitions and drops all pretence of civility as it rocks-and-rages with headbanging fervour. It cuts deep into the corners, but there’s always ample communication from steering and seat-of-pants to allow one to adjust the car’s line with the throttle.

A shortened final drive (with a F1-derived high performance nickel chromoly alloy pinion and crown wheel) translates to ballistic in-gear acceleration. In combination with the greater downforce available, this also means the 750S’s 332km/h top speed is lower than the 720S’s 341km/h, even as its cornering and braking prowess increase exponentially.

Remember what we were saying about the emotional being more relevant than the empirical? Well, given Estoril’s former F1-track status during the mid-1990s, it’s safe to say the circuit is designed for high speeds.

We never saw more than 280km/h on the speedo by the end of the front straight in the 750S and that’s with sticky Trofeo R tyres and the optional track carbon-ceramic brake set-up for very deep braking.

Adding a theoretical 10-15 per cent in the hands of a pro driver could nudge the speedo past 300km/h, but that’s still comfortably within the 750S’s 332km/h top speed rating. 

Ultimately, this 9km/h difference in top speed between 720S and 750S doesn’t make the 750S any less of a supercar. Bear in mind the top-shelf 765LT touches just 330km/h, so I double-dare you to call it a letdown to its face.

Some people may find it fun to serve duties as resident pub bore, but we much prefer to savour the fun in the driving jollies served up by the 750S.

The cabin sees some tweaks, including an exhibition ‘pot-hole’ in the rear luggage shelf for a peak at the M840T 4.0-litre V8. Like the Artura, the 750S gets rocker controls on either side of the instrument binnacle from the Elva to toggle between Powertrain and Handling settings.

Compared to the Active Panel layout from before, these are now within easy reach of the steering wheel. More importantly, the 750S sees the introduction of the MCL (McLaren Control Launcher) button, which is designated by a ‘Speedy Kiwi’ icon. This one-touch button recalls your favourite dynamic settings for either extreme ‘plush’ driving, or extreme ‘performance’ when the red mist descends.

Apart from the new lightweight springs / dampers and revised steering geometry, the 750S also sees the debut of PCC (Proactive Chassis Control) III, as well as a faster steering rack for quicker responses at the helm – all for the purposes of creating a more lively and feelsome driving experience.

It’s not so much about how much power it has, but how it musters it. There’s an explosive quality to the 750S’s V8 that is breathtaking in delivery and keeps you quivering in ecstasy when it’s charging ahead on full boost. As with all the McLaren models, visibility is optimal and it’s easy to place the car precisely on both road and track.

The carbon-ceramic brakes haul the 750S down from all speeds with core clenching effectiveness. Best of all, there’s fantastic pedal feel for millimetre-precise modulation, which is perfect for both the winding roads, as well as circuit use.

The soundtrack is an integral part of every supercar and the exhaust system on the 750S has been calibrated to sparkjoy and stir one’s emotions. Downshifts are accompanied by a rousing eruption of rapture, while the rising crescendo raises your hackles as you work your way up through the seven gears, all of which helps spur one on to greater and later braking points!

Cars like the 750S goad you to go-faster, because you’re encouraged to eke that little bit more from both its limits as well as yours. The best part? The 750S is as benign or as belligerent as your right foot and steering hands want it to be, because it’ll gamely alternate between serious and seriously sideways – depending on how cheeky you’re feeling!

This differentiates true driver’s cars from merely fast cars. With the latter, you ‘merely’ stomp and go, but the former are engineered so every control and contact point requires finesse to exploit. By delivering fabulous feel and feedback, cars like the 750S create the confidence needed for the committed driver to explore their outer limits.

In the new car, mid-engined rear-drive sportscar segment, this McLaren 750S and the ageing Huracan serve as the last bastions for die-hards to enjoy a pure ICE driving experience in true rock-and-roll fashion – something we can no longer afford to take for granted. 

McLaren 750S 4.0 V8 Coupe

Drivetrain type Petrol engine 
Engine3,994cc, V8, twin-turbo
Power750hp at 7500rpm
Torque800Nm at 5500rpm
Gearbox7-speed SSG
0-100km/h2.8 seconds 
Top Speed332km/h
Fuel Efficiency12.2L/100km
VES Band C2 / +S$20,000
AgentEurokars Supersports
PriceS$1,398,000 with options before COE
Verdict McLaren manages to improve on the excellent 720S, with the 750S a good entry-point for those looking for a new, ICE-powered, mid-engined rear-drive supercar.


750s Aston Martin Ferrari Lamborghini McLaren mclaren 720S mclaren 750S mclaren special operations mso supercar

About the Author

David Khoo

From PR to product planning and content creation, David is a big petrolhead who has been dabbling in the car trade since 2001. His stories often take an eclectic slant from the predictable and he's able to craft a compelling read that lets you see the cars (often old!) in a new light.

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