The new McLaren 765LT is the spiritual successor of the brilliant 675LT released in 2015. It’s also a lightened and more hardcore version of the 720S. The 765LT is the third member of McLaren’s Super Series and is longer by 0.35 inches than a stock 720S, hence the LT or Longtail designation.
Truth be told, we knew McLaren was cooking up a storm when the company unveiled the 720S two years ago. We were told the LT version would be more powerful, lighter, and sharper to drive than a 720S. Admittedly, McLaren took its sweet time in conceiving the 765LT. But with a more powerful V8 and a track-ready persona, it was all worth the wait.
“The 765LT is faster, lighter and more powerful than any previous car with the LT badge and delivers almost telepathic driver engagement,” said Andreas Bareis, Vehicle Line Director – Super Series, McLaren Automotive. “The connection through the seat and feedback from the steering wheel is incredible, allowing a customer to fully exploit every aspect of the ‘Longtail’ abilities or simply take pleasure from each drive.”
According to McLaren’s press release, the mid-engine 765LT is the most dynamically advanced and engaging LT model ever from McLaren Automotive. Based on those words alone, it’s only natural to expect big things from McLaren’s newest track weapon.
“This car is the very essence of an LT,” Bareis added.
The McLaren 765LT is equipped with the same 4.0-liter twin-turboc V8 from the 720S. But this time, the motor is pumping out 765 PS (755 horsepower) and 590 lb-ft. of torque at 5,500 rpm. The engine, complete with a flat-plane crankshaft and dry sump lubrication, features an additional fuel pump, revised oil pump, and a re-calibrated engine management system.
The icing on the cake is the three-layer head gasket lifted from the McLaren Senna.
Transmission Tech: Bouncing On The Limiter
Revisions here come in the form of lower gear ratios to improve in-gear acceleration by 15 percent. Also new is a “limit downshift” function for the seven-speed sequential shift gearbox. This allows the unit to execute a downshift without over-revving the motor. In the 720S, the gearbox will refuse to downshift if it senses the action will over-rev the engine.
By contrast, the transmission software of the 765LT better harmonizes road and engine speeds when finding the appropriate lower gear. McLaren uses the term “harmonize” as a fancy way to say drivers can “bounce” momentarily on the rev-limiter before the next gear engages.
It depends on how you read the numbers. For instance, the 765LT hits 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, only a tenth quicker to 60 than the 720S. What? All those stampeding horses for one-tenth of a second? It doesn’t sound too impressive, right?
Wrong. The McLaren 765LT unleashes its broad array of talents at higher speeds. It goes from zero to 124 mph in 7.2 seconds, which is 1.2 seconds faster than a 720S. That alone is enough to prove how well the engine pulls at the upper reaches of the rev range. The top speed is quoted at 205 mph in seventh gear, which is lower than the 720S and its quoted top speed of 211 mph in sixth gear.
Essential Foundations: Like a Feather
The easiest way to improve a car’s performance is to shed weight, and that’s what McLaren did in the 765LT. Overall the 765LT is 176 lbs. lighter than a 720S. The curb weight of 2,952 lbs. makes for a power-to-weight ratio of 614 bph per ton. If you opt for every weight-saving option, your 765LT will have a dry weight of 2,709 lbs.
“Any Longtail is a very special McLaren, a car that drives our designers and engineers to question how much more we can do, how far we can go,” explained Filippo D’Adamo, Program Manager of the 765LT. “In the 765LT, this has resulted in new McLaren carbon fiber technologies enabling vital weight savings, the most power and torque ever in an LT, the quickest acceleration, and the highest levels of driver engagement.”
McLaren used carbon fiber in the body panels and for other components, including the front splitter and bumper, side skirts, rear bumper, wing and diffuser, and even the license plate holder. The vehicle is also fitted with alloy wheels (48.5 lbs. lighter than stock); lightweight racing seats; a lighter battery; and polycarbonate rear side glass to shave off another 13.2 lbs. Even the carpeting was deleted to save 5.3 lbs.
The full-titanium exhaust (24 lbs.) is 40 percent lighter than a comparable steel system, and 8.3 lbs. less than the exhaust of a 720S.
Going a Few Steps Farther
If you’re as obsessed as McLaren in cutting weight, you can specify carbon fiber for the hood; front and rear fenders; and door handles instead of aluminum. Lighter seats from the McLaren Senna are available upon request. You can even delete certain comfort and convenience features like the radio and air conditioning (which McLaren will gladly put back at no cost if you prefer!).
“Customers who want to further reduce the weight of their new 765LT, add individual touches of luxury, or enhance the car’s already striking looks are catered for by personalization services available from McLaren Special Operations,” explained Ansar Ali, Managing Director, McLaren Special Operations.
Ultimately, McLaren reduces heft for the freedom to add more discretionary weight. The 765LT is equipped with upgraded brakes from the Senna, for example. This includes the calipers and brake booster which add 9.3 lbs. of unsprung weight back into the 765LT. The one thing they don’t add is an extra expense, as the Senna’s carbon-ceramic brake discs are a no-cost option.
New Set of Legs
After tuning the engine and adding carbon fiber, McLaren shifted its attention to the 765LT’s suspension. Gone are the previous dual-rate springs with helper units in the 720S for lighter main springs that save weight across the board. With revised spring rates, re-tuned dampers, and a lower 0.2-inch ride height at the front, the 765LT’s suspension embodies what McLaren was going for from the beginning.
“A McLaren LT really challenges us to push the boundaries of what is possible – especially in regard to weight reduction – and the 765LT is no exception,” said James Warner, Chief Engineer of the 765LT. “We have investigated every area of the car to deliver even further savings: ‘helper’ springs in the suspension enable a 3.3 lbs. reduction, a bespoke lightweight center tunnel saves 3.1 lbs., and optional carbon fiber fenders are 2.6 lbs. lighter than the standard panels.”
Smooth Like Butter
Aerodynamics, not surprisingly, played a big part in designing the McLaren 765LT. The car benefits from an aggressive aero kit to tame the wind while producing the highest levels of downforce. The 765LT has a larger front splitter with vertical air blades mounted lower to the ground. There’s a massive active rear wing, with a cutout in the center section, to increase downforce by 20 percent over the 720S. You’ll also find some neat air vents on top of the front fenders to better guide and direct airflow.
“The stretched silhouette that enhances aerodynamic performance and the honed physique that improves downforce and cooling – especially on track – immediately identify the new 765LT as a car that will deliver on the promise of the purest driving thrills,” said Rob Melville, Design Director, McLaren Automotive.
McLaren 765LT: Maintenance & Warranty
Normal service intervals for the 765LT are one year or 12,400 miles, whichever occurs first. McLaren’s Vehicle Warranty covers the vehicle for three years from purchase without mileage limitation, while paint surface is covered for three years; visible cosmetic corrosion for five years; and perforation corrosion of the vehicle body for 10 years.
McLaren 765LT: Pricing & Availability
McLaren is only building 765 units of the 765LT with prices expected to start around $370,000. The first deliveries should arrive by September or early October this year. The new McLaren 765LT is not cheap, but it’s hard to put a price on exclusivity and all-conquering performance.
Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.