McLaren 765LT 1st Impressions

Following the well-received global virtual unveiling back in March, McLaren has recently been shipping prototypes around the global dealer network for customer events.  I had reached out to McLaren Boston several weeks ago and asked them to let me know when the 765LT would be arriving, which they kindly did.  Up until yesterday, I suspect that I was probably one of the last half dozen McLaren owners who had not yet seen the car as Boston is one of the last stops on the 765LT’s US itinerary.   Yesterday I saw the new McLaren 765LT in the “carbon” for the first time at McLaren Boston.  The main question I’m looking to answer is if the 765LT is if it is a worthy successor to my favorite McLaren, the 675LT.

Having seen multiple detailed pictures of the 765LT over the last several months, the car already had a bit of a familiar look to it.  That having been said, until you see it up close and personal, it’s easy to miss a number of smaller details and get an accurate perspective on size.  My initial impression on seeing the 765LT was nearly identical to the one I had when seeing the Senna.  This is a car whose looks are heavily reliant on spec.  In the right colors, the 765LT will look terrific, in the wrong colors, it has the potential to look a bit like a tuner special.  Darker colors will definitely suit it better as the 765LT has numerous wings and scoops which are better visually faded into the background so that the eye better scans the overall lines of the car vs. being pulled into focusing on the various carbon fiber bits.  Walking around the 765LT, where the 720S feels like the car’s skin has been pulled taught over its skeleton, the 765LT appears much more muscular and aggressive.  While I believe both the front splitter and rear diffuser work well, I’m not much of a fan of the front fender louvres.  The rear wing, the 765LT’s “Long Tail”, is certainly substantial with its upturned edge, but its less of a delta vs. the 720S than its predecessor, the 675LT was vs. the 650S.  Given the already imposing size of the 720S’ wing, expecting a similar size increase is not realistic.  The upturned trailing edge on the 765LT’s wing also links it nicely to the 675LT.  What I am definitely not a fan of is the four in-line exhaust tips.  I wasn’t sure about them when I saw the original pictures and like them even less now that I’ve seen the exhausts up close.  The treatment reminds me of a Corvette.  Simple large twin exhaust tips as per the 675LT & 720S would have worked much better.  They could have been made rectangular to differentiate vs. the base model.

The interior of the 765LT is nearly identical to the 720S with a bit less carpeting and a bit more carbon fiber trim.  The big difference is in your choice of seats.  There are three options, base buckets, “P1” type seats, and “Senna” seats.  The prototype at McLaren Boston was fitted with the “Senna” seats.  The “Senna” are far more comfortable than you would expect them to be plus being much easier get in and off of than they are in the Senna.  Which seats to option will definitely be a difficult decision as I quite liked the P1 seats as well.  I do think McLaren missed an opportunity to differentiate the 765LT’s interior from the 720S a bit more by incorporating a few of the Senna’s roof mounted controls.  The prototype also had the optional engine window in the rear shelf behind the seats.  It’s an interesting idea and I will be curious as to how many owners tick that option box for $8,500.

Is the 765LT a worthy successor to the 675LT? That’s not a question I will be able answer until I spend quite a bit of time behind the wheel of the 765LT.  In my humble opinion, the 675LT is the best all-around car McLaren has produced to date so the 765LT has some very big shoes to fill.  One of the major challenges when it comes to filling these shoes will be delivering the same delta on overall performance vs. the 720S that the 675LT does vs. the 650S while remaining a joy to drive in a range of conditions.  Part of the challenge the 765LT faces is that a good many of the 675LT’s upgrades have already been incorporated into the 720S.  Where the 675LT clearly benefited from the learnings from the P1’s development, I will be very interested to see how much of the Senna and Speedtail has made it into the 765LT.

Its near impossible these days to have a conversation about McLaren’s without build numbers and depreciation coming up as hot topics.  Regarding the former, from a business and margin perspective, I can appreciate why McLaren bumped up the production numbers from the 500 675LTs to 765 for the 765LT.  As a potential owner (of a 765LT Spider), I’m less than thrilled by the increase which brings us to depreciation.  A 53% increase in production on the 765LT will certainly not help support values over the next several years.  The 675LT has gotten quite a bit of negative press on depreciation.  This is mostly due to it’s not holding value on par with the Ferrari 458 Speciale.  On a more positive note, 675LT values, after declines in years 2 and 3, have been flat over the last two years and if anything, are starting to tick up as demand has increased as more and more people are catching on to just how good a car the 675LT is.  Longer term I expect values will rise as the 675LT continues gain in reputation among the supercar enthusiasts.  I would expect the 765LT to follow a similar path, with a sharper initial drop due to the higher production numbers, if it is turns out to be as good as the 675LT.  If not, the depreciation curve will look more like the 720S.  How heavily spec’ed 765LTs are will also skew perceptions on the initial drop in values.  Limited Edition cars tend to be very heavily spec’ed and I can imagine there will be a few 765LT that will be invoiced at close to 150% of the base price.  The other wildcard is if McLaren follows the same model progression that was recently established on the Sport Series with the final iteration of the 570 being the Limited Edition 620R.  If a 785R appears in a year or two, it will depress 765LT values in the short term as I am sure many 765LT owners will trade in their cars, saturating the market, for the even harder core version.

 

Summary

In terms of the aesthetics, the 765LT feels like it is a bigger departure vs. the 720S than its predecessor was vs. the base 650S.  I tend to have a bias for the familiar so initially I do prefer the lines of the 675LT vs. the 765LT but that may change over time.  In the right spec, the 765LT should age well.  Whether the 765LT will be considered the greatest of the pre-hybrid Super Series McLaren’s, only time (and personally plenty of time in the driver’s seat) will determine.  Production numbers on the 765LT coupe are definitely higher than what I would have hoped but there is a chance they will be reduced for the 765LT Spider which would be great to see. 

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September 2020

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One Thought on McLaren 765LT 1st Impressions
    Roy Cats
    28 Sep 2020
    8:03pm

    I love my 675LT Almost 30K miles on it now. I have ordered a new 765LT coupe at approx $569K sticker, heavy options. I will not part with my 675 till I have seat time and find the 765 to be the better car….if that does not happen..;it goes up for sale and my 675LLT will stay with me. I just might stay EVEN if the 765LT is that good…

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