The 2022 McLaren 765LT Spider could be described as uncompromised hardware paired with fully vetted software. The complexity of all cars, and particularly supercars, pretty much guarantees you’ll find at least one (or more) elements ripe for improvement. This makes the 765LT Spider a bit of an automotive enigma. Everything from its exterior styling to its interior ergonomics to is driving dynamics feels more than just “well sorted” or “finely tuned”. It feels wholly and completely done! If you asked me to identify the most fully-evolved supercar on the market today, I would direct you to the McLaren 765LT Spider.
If that’s not high praise enough, I’ll add a further tagline to this supercar’s pedigree: The 765LT Spider is the most capable street-legal car you can buy right now.
That claim is likely being argued by many supercar enthusiasts before they finished reading it, whether they want to talk about a Tesla Plaid’s straight-line acceleration or a Porsche 911 GT3’s track capabilities. But I would argue the 765LT can match both of those vehicles in their areas of strength while defeating them in so many other areas (like going around corners in the Plaid, or dropping the roof for a breezy coastal cruise in the GT3). I’ve seen a 765LT (with stickier Toyo tires) beat a Tesla Plaid, and we know the GT3’s roof doesn’t fold away. Look, there are a lot of really good supercars available right now. I just think from a maximum-capability-while-retaining-effective-daily-use comfort perspective, the 765LT is the best one.
That’s a pretty amazing feat on McLaren’s part, and it’s even more impressive when you consider the automaker’s own 720S hit the market just a few years ago, with arguably the same claim regarding comfortable daily drivability with record-setting track capability. But it also explains why this is happening. The 765LT feels exactly like what it is, a further (fully?) evolved 720S based on the same platform. Consider that with max horsepower jumping from 710 to 755, and max torque jumping from 568 to 590 pound feet, you know the 765LT is going to be quicker than the 720S. Now throw in the 176-pound diet from additional lightweight materials, like a titanium exhaust system and even greater carbon-fiber-intense construction, and you’ve got a more powerful, lighter-weight version of the 720S.
The result is a zero-to-60 time of 2.7 seconds, a zero-to-124 mph time of 7.2 seconds, and a top speed of 205 mph. It’s also got the McLaren Senna’s carbon ceramic brake system, letting it stop from 124 mph in 354 feet — which is slightly longer than the track-focused Senna but a good chunk shorter than the 720S. An adaptive double-wishbone suspension allows the 765LT Spider to manage the realities of public road imperfections while keeping things stable and secure on the track. And advanced aerodynamics give it 25 percent more downforce than the 720S. The carbon fiber rear wing not only changes its angle based on speed, but also based on whether the top is up or down, to maintain a consistent downforce in both states.
These are all impressive specifications that anyone can access by visiting McLaren’s website, but until you drive the 765LT Spider you won’t understand how they come together to deliver an unmatched, real-world driving experience. McLaren reps told us suspension calibration was among the most focused and precise aspects of designing the car, ensuring undiluted performance in multiple environments. The 765LT Spider also rides on unique, 765LT Spider-specfic 10-spoke wheels (19-inch front, 20-inch rear) with super-sticky Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R custom tires, engineered for just this supercar.
How do all these factors (more power, less weight, more downforce, more advanced suspension, custom-engineered tires) translate to the driving experience? The best description might be “unreal” because when you’re driving the 765LT Spider aggressively it does things that don’t seem possible. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 makes glorious sounds as it speeds toward redline and slingshots the McLaren forward, while the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox fires off immediate up and down shifts, allowing you to wring out those 755 horses in a controlled, directed manner. There’s every sense the drivetrain will answer the driver’s call without hesitation or hiccup.
That’s always appreciated in a performance car, but it’s the 765LT Spider’s handling characteristics that illustrate the work put in by the artisans in Woking, England. The Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel delivers the perfect blend of off-center weighting and feedback, while the adaptive suspension and traction control systems maintain the aforementioned, easily modulated delivery of 755 horsepower to the rear wheels, whether punching it in a straight line or feeding in additional throttle at the apex. It allows the McLaren 765LT to move with precision along a twisting two-lane with the kind of speed and confidence rarely experienced in a street-legal vehicle.
That’s not to say the McLaren 765LT is the absolute quickest or fastest vehicle on the planet to today, just that it manages to be among that elite group while still maintaining a factor of comfort, and even luxury. The supple Alcantara goes well beyond the steering wheel, covering the seats, door panels, and dash. This material can be configured with contrasting stitching and seat panels, and the entire cabin can be dressed up with various carbon fiber interior trim packages. Multiple seating options, ranging from basic sport seats to lightweight carbon fiber seats, are available, as is a power-adjustable steering wheel and a 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system.
And let’s not forget this Spider’s roof, a retractable carbon fiber array topped by an optional electrochromic glass panel. This allows the roof to change from clear to opaque at the touch of a button. Because having a retractable carbon fiber roof system, that folds away in 11 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph, and can be operated by the key fob when the car is parked without the engine running, just isn’t enough. That roof needs to alter how much light comes in when the top is up. And it better to it instantaneously, at the touch of a button, dammit!
With McLaren making only 765LT Spider, all of them spoken for, you probably won’t have to worry about its price. Or you are already quite familiar with its price. Either way, at starting MSRP of $382,500 you have to appreciate the 765LT’s capabilities to commit to buying. Our test car was beautifully appointed, in Ambit pearl blue and with nearly every option checked, including multiple carbon fiber interior and exterior packages. The final price rang in at $490,900, which seemed like a lot of money when the car was initially dropped off. But the time it was picked up a few days later we understood the McLaren 765LT to be an incredible value.
Less than half-a-million dollars for the most capable street-legal car you can buy right now? That’s a bargain.