2021 McLaren 765LT review: Above and beyond

This was a beautiful day.

Drew Phillips

The McLaren 765LT exists because, somewhere along the way, someone drove a standard 720S and said, “Nah, we can do better.” On the one hand, I respect that dedication to perfection. On the other hand, the guy is crazy. However, here’s the 765LT: a sharper and more powerful version of one of the sharpest and most powerful supercars ever built.

Like it

  • Insane power, insane acceleration, insane braking
  • Unmatched levels of grip from the Trofeo R tires.
  • The longtail body looks super cool

I do not like

  • Prohibitively expensive
  • Bad infotainment technology

The 765LT is the latest in the McLaren series of Longtail models. In addition to having better performance than the cars they are based on, the LT versions also look a little sweeter, especially thanks to the huge active rear wing, connected to the chassis by two large control posts. Compared to a 720S, the 765LT has a longer rear diffuser and the front bumper and splitter are also elongated. There’s also the awesome roof vent that feeds air into the engine, which makes all sorts of delicious wooshing and sucking noises that will make you laugh. Note, though, that that little mouthpiece costs an absurd $ 36,430. You would prefer a sweet scoop or a full load Hyundai Veloster N?

The lightest carbon fiber is used throughout the 765LT, which means it is 176 pounds lighter than a 720S. The titanium exhaust also represents a small weight reduction, although it greatly increases the 765’s cool factor. Four huge intakes are positioned in the center of the mesh rear panel and if you drive the car hard enough, just like on the 600LT, these pipes will fire. flames. (Flames!)

A little more weight comes out of the interior, where the 765LT has exposed carbon fiber on the floor and center tunnel, and optional carbon fiber racing seats borrowed from the McLaren Senna. You can even order a 765LT without sound system or air conditioning, saving around 25 pounds. Of course, the 765LT costs the same with or without these amenities, so unless you really think £ 25 will make or break your supercar experience, I say leave them in. All it takes is a hot day on the track to make you wish you had it AC.

Plus, it’s not like McLaren’s in-vehicle audio and infotainment systems are something to write home about. The 765LT uses the same multimedia software as the 720S, housed on a vertically oriented 8-inch touchscreen on the center console. The menu structure is a bit complicated and the system is often very slow. The stereo is just OK and you have to operate it to hear your tunes from the engine. Apple CarPlay is Android Auto they are not available either, FYI.

Jonathan Harper

But let’s be honest, no one who buys this car really cares about the infotainment system; the 765LT is all about raw performance. McLaren’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine is massaged to produce 754 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, increases of 44 horsepower and 22 pound-feet over the 720S. With a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that slaps the gears, the 765LT can accelerate to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds. Most impressively, this car will accelerate from 0 to 124 mph in just 7.0 seconds, which is insane.

The 765LT’s adaptive suspension has new springs and shock absorbers that are stiffer and lighter than those of the 720S, and the front track is slightly wider for better grip. Speaking of grip, the 765LT runs on Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R tires created specifically for this car, wrapped around lightweight 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels. Brakes are also borrowed from the superlative Senna, and a new brake booster offers improved pedal feel and modulation. Remember that impressive 0 to 124 mph time? The 765LT will stop from that speed in just 354 feet, the large wing that lifts into air brake service to help with stability. Stepping on the brakes is just as impressive as stepping on the accelerator, just in the opposite direction.

The 720S’s flip-up digital dashboard moves, as does the button-less, snug steering wheel.

Drew Phillips

In fact, the 765LT offers a level of performance that you will never, ever fully experience on a public road. The canyon roads in Southern California are no match for this car. I can take any turn at any speed and I know the 765LT is totally capable of more. This is one of the most sensational supercars I’ve ever experienced – the sound, grip and sheer intensity of acceleration are addictive. The steering is brilliantly weighted and perfectly communicative, offering a direct line of feedback to those sticky front tires.

Without driving the 765LT back to back with a 720S, I can’t say I notice a huge difference. The suspension is as impressive as any other McLaren, keeping the car flat and composed without knocking its teeth over broken pavement. The large shift levers are a joy to use, even if they are mounted on the steering wheel instead of the column (where they belong), and the whole experience is just great. I’m sure my usual canyon ride takes less time to run with the 765LT than the 720S, but both cars are equally thrilling.

If you are really curious about how the 765LT handles on the track, watch this video of my colleague Henry Catchpole putting McLaren to the test on a racing circuit. If there’s one place where the 765’s updates over the 720’s are noticeable, it’s on a good track.

The night moves.

Jonathan Harper

Is the 765LT perfect? Nah. When you’re not pushing the throttle, the transmission is too eager to shift gears and likes to stay at 1,100 rpm in seventh gear in town, which makes the engine crackle and make you think it will stall all the time. This car also makes an alarming amount of electronic noises when idling or maneuvering at low speed, and selecting Reverse and Drive often additionally taps the button on the center console before the car actually responds to your command.

The 765LT is also terribly expensive, starting at $ 358,000 in the US, or nearly $ 60,000 more than a standard 720S. And this is only the beginning; there are a great deal of options, both from the standard McLaren catalog and from the Special Operations List (MSO). The car pictured here? $ 428,150. And this is slightly optioned.

None of that matters, however, as only 765 of these cars will be available globally and McLaren wouldn’t take the time and effort to design an even more extreme version of an already extreme car if they didn’t think they could sell each one. The 765LT is an incredible car with an almost unmatched level of capability. It’s the 720S and then others, and that’s the kind of madness I can take.

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