The $1 million Senna may be a 789-horsepower sports car made to dominate the racetrack.
With a curb weight of just 2,641 pounds and none of the comforts typically related to a vehicle of that price, it’s also so bare-bones it’s nauseated some automotive writers, as Jonny Lieberman noted during a series of increasingly green-faced Instagram posts last year. (To say nothing of its recall for fire risk.) Nonetheless, Senna represents the highest of the road at McLaren, a standing that’s irresistible to the select car buyers with the means and iron stomach to accumulate such a machine. the five hundred models planned for production sold out soon after the car’s debut in 2018.
This brings me to the 2021 McLaren 765LT. At $358,000, 755-horsepower, and a whippet-thin 2,709 pounds, it presents all of the driving thrills of the Senna at a fraction of the value, and no vomit bag needed. If you omitted on the Senna or want something slightly more suitable for highway driving on your thanks to the track, this new Longtail is worth considering.
A Definitive Driver
McLaren features a history of manufacturing numerous cars so imperceptibly different in look and performance it befuddles consumers and critics alike. Few folks can note the differences between the 570S, 570GT, and 540C without painstaking examination. What’s more, the corporate itself has experienced shaky ground recently with habitual record and liquidity issues, consistent with a Sept. 1 report by Bloomberg analyst Joel Levington, also because of the surprise sale of what had been its assets, the laboratory-like corporate and research and development headquarters in Woking, England.
But the 765LT lends a grounding sense of identity and specificity to the brand. you’ll tell it’s special from your first glimpse of its fin and extensive mesh rear grill, its four centered tailpipes, and therefore the new signature “Special” ($2,430) and “Elite” ($5,430) paint jobs in “Burton Blue” on the one I recently drove up California’s Route 2.
It’s noticeably longer (by 2.3 inches) and more svelte than its predecessor, the 720S, with a cacophony of unique carbon-fiber aerodynamic wonders on the front splitter, sides, and rear that provide ventilation and ease airflow.
The doors flip open like switchblades; a rear spoiler extends automatically to act as an air brake at high speeds. The car is extremely low—5mm lower within the front than the already stressfully low 720S—but an important push-button lift kit to assist prevent the front fender from scratching over speed bumps comes as a no-cost option.
With such aggressive and distinctive attractiveness, the 765LT manages to seem sort of a car of its own standing, not another cookie-cutter McLaren. Better yet, with more sound insulation and a not-quite-as-bone-jarring chassis, it’s infinitely more drivable over longer periods of your time, in real-world conditions, than the Senna ever is going to be.
The big emphasis for McLaren engineers once they designed the 765LT was losing weight, compared to the 720S, which I detected within the car’s hyper-nimble and lusty V8 engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as soon as we launched up Angeles Crest. Some proof: It shifts and accelerates quicker than a 720S (some 15%, McLaren says) and has the fastest lap times at the Nardo Ring testing track (among others) of any McLaren Super Series model. Zero to 60mph takes 2.7 seconds; the highest speed is 205mph.
The car swooshes and cuts through canyon roads sort of a rapier: instantaneous, sharp, and demanding. Its carbon-ceramic brakes and body harmonized into some perfectly balanced ballet as I rushed up and down California’s mountain roads, the downhill portions infinitely more technical than driving uphill. (Those brake discs and calipers, by the way, are equivalent to those within the Senna and are Formula 1-inspired, with caliper cooling ducts so integrated they create for sublime pedal feel and stopping power par excellence.)
The standard version of the 765LT is so scant that it comes sans radio (which saves three pounds), with feather-light racing seats (weighing just seven pounds) and a replacement exhaust that saves eight pounds over the 720S. alongside additional weight savings in such things as wheels, redacted carpeting, and therefore the lack of infotainment and climate control (you can choose those at no cost), the car is 176 pounds lighter than the 720S. this suggests, in short, that at just a couple of pounds heavier than the Senna, and with nearly equal power, the 765LT feels as exciting to drive as even McLaren’s current top dog—even if, on paper, it’s a shade slower.
Production of the 765LT coupe is restricted to 765 units, roughly 18% of the 4,100 cars the corporate is probably going to sell globally in 2021. a 3rd of these are going to be sent to the U.S. Not too many are going to be made than the extraterrestrial Senna, all things considered—but if you hurry, you’ll have a fighting chance.