This year’s Best of the Best is all about the situations and circumstances that lead to unforgettable experiences that stir the heart and spirit. Here, we have the McLaren 765LT, the best supercar in our books
The McLaren 765LT makes no pretence of its hard-edged performance intent, as evidenced by the aerodynamic longtail bodywork that clothes one of the latest offerings from the British marque. Stab the start button and the four-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine growls to life through a lightweight, quad-exit all-titanium exhaust that amplifies the McLaren’s raspy bark. It’s a percussive soundtrack befitting a car making 755hp and 800Nm of torque, impressive specifications that don’t quite convey the onslaught of power, which hurtles the 765LT to 330km/hr, with a zero-to-100km/hr sprint time of just 2.8 seconds.
McLaren’s seven-speed Seamless Shift Gearbox delivers smooth, immediate response to match the car’s laser- sharp handling and telepathic steering feedback. The active suspension helps drivers tackle corners fast, flat and with a reassuring sense of control, bolstered by the presence of the same massive brake calipers found on the McLaren Senna.
Simplicity prevails in the cockpit, which offers elbow room, excellent forward visibility and a centre-tunnel touchscreen that handles infotainment, climate control and onboard telemetry. Wide, low and happier kissing rumble strips than speed bumps, the 765LT – of which only 765 examples will be made – rewards drivers seeking a precision tool for road or, even better, track.
Long tail, long heritage: The McLaren Longtail went from a one-time nickname to an eagerly anticipated lineup that delights the most enthusiastic drivers
For McLaren, the LT moniker stands for Longtail, and this means whatever car it is attached to is just a little more – more power, more aerodynamically adroit, more track-ready, and – well, less, too, but only in terms of weight. It denotes a vehicle that is just a little more serious about performance, and a driver who is a little more serious about driving.
The origin of the Longtail goes back to McLaren’s first brush with the road car. In 1994, McLaren was strictly a racing team, but took the world by storm with its first road car: the McLaren F1, a legendary figure even today that still holds the world record for fastest naturally aspirated car. It was not specifically designed to race, but when it did, it won, in the form of the track-focused F1 GTR. In 1995, it took the crown at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and four of the top five places besides. The year 1997 saw a new version of the F1 GTR that, due to its elongated profile, was given the nickname Longtail. It also sported fully adjustable suspension and sequential transmissions, and was over 100kg lighter than its predecessors.
McLaren Automotive, the road car division that we know today, entered the scene in 2010 and quickly carved a niche for itself in the supercar market thanks to its intelligent, purposeful designs. The Longtail was revived in 2015, when the 675LT Coupe was introduced as an enhanced version of the core 650S. At the time, it was considered the purest expression of McLaren series-production cars, with some 40 per cent greater downforce than its siblings and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that was twice as fast. For good measure, it was 100kg lighter. It was limited to a run of 500 and the response was tremendous. When it was followed by the open-top 675LT Spider, that run of 500 was snapped up within two weeks.
This was followed by the 600LT in 2018, this time as an evolution of the 570S. It made for an exhilarating, razor-edged drive, complete with top-exit exhausts. Its aggressive stance, eight millimetres lower, is one that befits its track-focused nature, while its rear was extended by 47mm for aerodynamic benefits as well as to accommodate better positioning for the carbon-fibre rear wing.
The success of these models meant that by the time the 765LT was announced in 2020 – as an enhanced version of the emblematic 720S – the Longtail was a much-anticipated release that became highly sought-after by the most enthusiastic McLaren fans. It is the most powerful LT yet, and has an unparalleled focus on being lightweight with 80kg dropped from the already trim 720S. The coupe and spider versions are limited worldwide to just 765 units each, with the former already sold out and the latter expected to follow suit.