Ferrari Purosangue 2023 review
The Purosangue is the first high-riding, four-seat, four-door vehicle ever produced by Ferrari.
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Like most people in this day and age, I like to consider myself fairly green-minded. I recycle. I canvas bag. One time I even took public transport, despite having a perfectly good car at my disposal.
But most importantly, at least as far as our only planet is concerned, I’ve embraced electrification in the automotive world, confident in the knowledge that, 99 times out of 100, introducing a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric powertrain to the equation improves both the driving experience and your fuel bill.
The one out of that 100? That would be the McLaren 750S — the British brand’s new apex predator, and a vehicle that might just be the marque's last non-electrified series-production supercar ever.
It’s powered by a spectacular twin-turbo V8 engine that contributes to a drive experience so raw, so pure, and so unfiltered, that to sully it with heavy batteries or silent electric motors would just about qualify as a crime against humanity, or at least against the parts of humanity fortunate enough to be able to afford one.
So, is this McLaren 750S the best of the current supercar bunch? Let's find out.
The McLaren 750S can be yours in hardtop ($585,800) or drop-top Spider ($654,600) guises, both of which have travelled north from the pricing applied to the 720S, which was $489,900 at launch, and its Spider equivalent, which was $556,000.
What you’re getting, though, is more — and less— of everything. More power, more performance, more downforce and more stiffness, combined with less weight, with McLaren having taken a forensic approach to stripping kilos from the 750S.
What you're not getting, though, is much in the way of niceties, with the McLaren 750S offering less interior tech and comforts than a mid-range hatchback (“it now has Apple CarPlay,” they exclaimed excitedly).
But for mine, that only enhances the drive experience, with the 750S offering a genuinely pure-feeling drive — a steering wheel free of buttons, a cabin largely free of distractions, no safety chimes bonging, and a nuclear reactor attached to your right foot. These are all good things.
Elsewhere, the McLaren 750S rides on ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels (19-inch front / 20-inch rear) wrapped in Pirelli P Zero rubber as standard, and there are thinly cushioned carbon-fibre-shelled racing seats that hold you snuggly in place, and are every bit as comfortable on bumpier roads as cuddling a cactus.
In the cabin, McLaren has worked to up the tech, though its best to remember this is pared-back over plush.
A steering column-mounted driver display is new, and delivers all your key driving info, and it’s framed by all your go-to switches, like your 'Drive Mode' options.
In the centre, an 8.0-inch portrait-style screen now has Apple CarPlay as standard (but not Android Auto), and there are USB-C and USB-A connections for your devices, too.
McLaren concedes the cosmetic updates for the 750S are “relatively subtle”, but there have been some key changes.
The front bumper and splitter are new, as is the rear bumper, while the rear wing is now bigger, with 20 per cent more surface area.
Also at the back, a new (and lighter, of course) stainless steel exhaust is now centre-exit, rather than off to either side.
Like the 720S before it, the 750S looks more like a statement of intent than a designer’s dream, with aerodynamic function over form the order of the day.
In the cabin, you’re looking at two sports seat, a grippy Alcantara steering wheel, and two relatively small screens by today’s sizeable standards.
You can have your cabin trim in full Nappa leather, or the leather mixed with Alcantara, and the audio is taken care of by Bowers & Wilkins.
Still, the 750S delivers everything you need and nothing you don’t in a car in this category.
Next question, please. This is a stripped-back, lightweight, two-seat supercar designed to get you to, and then around, a corner in the least amount of time possible. So, no, you can’t fit much in the way of grocery shopping in the back.
You can, however fit a total 150 litres (front) and 210 litres (rear) in the 750S, and it gets bonus points for having deep cut-outs in the roof that make slipping in under those scissor doors far easier than you might expect.
Ah, now we’re talking. In the huge-displacement world of supercars, a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 might sound a little on the small side when put up against V10s and V12s out of Italy.
But this mid-mounted, twin-turbo powertrain perfectly compliments the overall balance of the 750S, and when its 552kW and 800Nm (fed through a seven-speed automatic) meets the lightweight McLaren, the results are staggering.
The zero to 100km/h dash is dispatched in 2.8 seconds, while 200km/h flashes by in 7.2 seconds. Want to push to 300km/h? You’ll need just 19.8 seconds.
McLaren says you can expect 12.2L/100km on the combined cycle, with emissions pegged at 276g/km. But you can also expect to win the lottery. It doesn’t make it likely.
It’s hard to imagine how softly you’d have to treat the 750S to get anywhere near those numbers, but I know you almost certainly won’t. The temptation is simply too great.
Usually we wouldn’t be dedicating much space to the kilogram’s shaved here and there off the total weight of a vehicle, but it’s important in this case.
In the 750S, that starts with a bespoke carbon-fibre monocoque platform, which is not only light, but also so inherently stiff that even chopping the roof off for the Spider version required no extra bracing or supports, and only marginally impacts the performance figures.
Then, there are the lightest alloys ever fitted to a series McLaren, which reduce unsprung weight by up to 14 kilos.
That rear wing isn’t just bigger, but also lighter, saving another 1.6 kilos, the carbon-fibre-backed seats save a whopping 17.5kg, the new suspension springs shave another two-or-so kilograms. The list goes on and on.
All up, they've found 30 kilos between 720S and 750S, which is now 1389kg total.
The result is a vehicle that feels endlessly athletic — light, lithe and perfectly balanced — but also one that, when you’re feeding on that endless power, feels as though it might suddenly take flight.
Flat-footed acceleration is laugh-out-loud fun, the tyres scrabbling for grip with each donkey-kick gear shift, even past 100km/h, with the rear end shifting around slightly as the Pirelli rubber deals with the physics of what’s happening. It’s loud, visceral and intoxicating, and you absolutely never tire of it.
But the magic in this McLaren is that it's more than just brutally fast in a straight line, it's also one of the most engaging vehicles I've ever driven, and one that provides a near-telepathic connection to the car, its tyres, and the tarmac below.
The more time you spend behind the wheel, the more tameable it feels, and even at warp speeds (somewhere above 270km/h), you feel connected and in control, owing mostly the open lines of communication between the tyres, the steering and the driver.
Also ferocious is the McLaren's braking force, combining carbon ceramic discs with a rear wing that doubles as a jet-style air brake, and stamping on the brake pedal produces vision-blurring force that leaves you feeling like you're not just stopping, but hurtling backwards through time.
So, race track, tick. But away from it, the McLaren – with its 'Proactive Chassis Control' hydraulic suspension – is surprisingly compliant when you want it to be, with its 'Comfort' drive mode delivering exactly that, softening the important bits so you don’t rattle yourself to death on the freeway.
If the 720S was a benchmark, then this 750S is something else entirely, shifting the needle in every important way to create a vehicle that sparks pure, unadulterated joy from behind the wheel.
3 years / unlimited km warranty
Safety systems hardly abound here, and nor is McLaren or ANCAP likely to pony up for the 750S for crash testing.
You do get front and front-side airbags, front and rear parking sensors and a reversion camera, as well as a handy nose-lift function which should stop you scraping over steep speed bumps and the like.
The 750S is covered by a standard three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is fully transferable.
Owners can also spring for an extended warranty, which can cover the McLaren for up to 15 years.
Servicing is required every 12 months or 15,000km.
Not just a love letter to the intoxicating delights of the mighty V8 engine, the McLaren 750S is a genuine joy across the board.
Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel, accommodation and meals provided.
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