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The Best and Worst McLaren Cars in 2020

Reviewing the 2020 McLaren Lineup

McLaren 570GT front 3/4 view

The illustrious British performance supercar manufacturer is remaining true to its roots. Unlike most exotic companies that have jumped into the SUV game, McLaren looks content to watch from the sidelines while sticking to what it does best – offering outstanding vehicles, and some of the fastest cars at exorbitant prices. Despite not reaping the benefits of the SUV craze, the company has still managed to record its best year in history in terms of sales.

McLaren’s 2018 global sales stopped at 4,806 cars which is a 43.9 percent increase over 2017. This means that McLaren Automotive has recorded a growth in every single year since the reorganization back in 2010. But what does the future have in store for the brand? How will 2020 McLaren models fare without a crossover in the lineup? And how does the U.S. market stack compared to other overseas markets?

The U.S. market can freely be considered as McLaren’s bastion. It’s the company’s most important single market which accounts for over a third of their global sales. Meanwhile, the Chinese market has recorded a whopping 122.5 percent growth and now accounts for 7 percent of company’s total sales. European 2018 sales also soared by 44.2 percent compared to 2017, while the company’s domestic U.K. market recorded a growth of 49.2 percent.

McLaren plans on producing up to 6,000 cars a year by 2025 and fielding a fully electrified lineup by 2024. They plan on doing this without developing a super SUV which would surely boost their performance considerably. There are a number of reasons for that particular mindset. For starters, the company isn’t keen on diluting its motorsport heritage by offering a vehicle that’s simply incapable of the standard of performance we’ve come to expect from McLaren’s vehicles due to its physical limitations. There’s also the fact that most exotic SUVs are built on the same platform (e.g. Cayenne, Bentayga, Urus) and McLaren simply isn’t prepared to build one from scratch. Finally, the company doesn’t believe this would be cost-effective for them despite the obvious potential the SUVs genuinely possess.

Take a look at what McLaren sports and supercars will have to offer in 2020.

What’s Hot in the New 2020 McLaren Lineup

05. 2020 Speedtail

While they had exhibited no shortage of otherworldly cars over the years, McLaren has, perhaps, become a bit soft in recent years. A new hypercar is needed to put the automaker back in headlines and the all-new Speedtail answers the call.

The 2020 McLaren Speedtail pays homage to the iconic McLaren F1 in a number of ways. It’s limited to only 106 units which is the exact number of produced F1’s, and it also sports the unconventional seating layout which allows three occupants to enjoy what promises to be a stellar driving experience.

The interior is mostly furbished in leather, carbon fiber, and touchscreen displays, while the exterior was designed with only one thing in mind – speed. After all, McLaren’s new halo car was aptly named as well. The company states that the Speedtail is its most drag-efficient car to date – mostly thanks to its prolonged rear. With it, the Speedtail measures exactly 202.2 inches in length, and, thanks to adaptive suspension, is no taller than 44.1 inches at full speed.

Speaking of which, the McLaren Speedtail will be able to achieve the top speed of 250 mph while accelerating to 186 mph in just 12.8 seconds – almost a full second quicker than the Bugatti Chiron. These figures wouldn’t be possible without its revolutionary design, but a next-gen hybrid powertrain plays an important role as well.

The Speedtail employs the 720S’s 4.0L twin-turbo V8 coupled with a 308-hp electric motor and a battery pack for a combined output of 1,035 horsepower. Most details on the powertrain are still being kept from us which is fine since none of us will get the opportunity to buy one of the 106 Speedtails. They go for more than $2.1 million and have already been spoken for way ahead of their official release date.

Approximately one-third of their population will migrate to the U.S. where the hypercar won’t be street legal. Instead, the lucky owners will have to import them under the Show and Display exemption. If you think that’s too much of a fuss for their hefty price tags, you’re probably right. However, I doubt their future owners will be bothered with that observation.

2020 McLaren Speedtail is the British automaker's new halo car

 

04. 2020 Senna

As the latest addition to the McLaren lineup – not counting the forthcoming Speedtail – the 2020 McLaren Senna represents the pinnacle of evolution for the British brand. This is only fitting considering it was named after the iconic Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna.

The limited production supercar takes its rightful place among the Ultimate Series models like the former P1 and F1, and the upcoming Speedtail. As such, it costs an eye-watering $960,000 and is limited to 500 copies all of which have, as you might expect, already been sold.

Unlike the aforementioned Speedtail, the McLaren Senna is actually street legal but its natural habitat is still on the track. A low weight of around 2,850 pounds and aerodynamics that generate up to 1,764 pounds of downforce at 155 mph attest to that. Furthermore, the Senna utilizes company’s latest RaceActive Chassis Control II suspension which lowers the car at high speeds – 1.5 inches up front and 1.2 inches at the back. Moreover, it’s also the first McLaren to sport the hybrid carbon-ceramic/carbon-carbon (CCM-R) brakes.

The ingenuity doesn’t stop there as the Senna’s powertrain represents an evolution of the 720S’s 4.0L twin-turbo V8 unit with improved camshafts, a carbon-fiber intake manifold, and a more efficient twin fuel-pump system. These improvements have raised the engine’s totals to 789 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of rotational force which is 79 hp and 22 lb-ft more than what the 720S makes. Thanks to this, the McLaren Senna is more than capable of accelerating to 60 mph from a standing start in just 2.6 seconds, doing a quarter-mile in high nines, and maxing out at 211 mph.

It’s also worth mentioning that these figures have been achieved in a prototype model with the VP736-P15 designation (of which only around dozen were made), hence the more conventional Senna models are actually a tad slower. Regardless, the McLaren Senna stands out as one of the best supercars money can buy (or rather could buy, before they were all sold out) and as such, represents one of the coolest McLaren vehicles today.

The British will also sell you a tack-only GTR version of their new car that sings to a tune of 825 horsepower and sports a number of performance-related improvements like a free-flowing exhaust, completely overhauled rear wing, and a more aggressive aero kit.

McLaren Senna VP736-P15 prototype front 3/4 view

 

03. 2020 720S

The mid-range 720S serves as a basis for the most powerful McLaren models and certainly gets our vote as one of the coolest McLarens around. It’s still not the most affordable McLaren, but at around $300,000, it’s definitely a less burdening one – not to mention the fact you can actually get your hands on one provided you’re capable of obtaining such a hefty sum. It’s also worth mentioning that there are ways of adding more than $100,000 to the mentioned base price.

Anyway, the McLaren 720S replaces the outgoing 650S as of 2017, and its life cycle is slowly-but-steadily nearing its end. Despite that, the 720S is, as mentioned, one of the most intriguing McLaren sports cars due to its abilities on and off the track. Since its focus is actually on-road driving, the 720S exhibits a higher level of comfort and cancels road imperfections in a much more effective manner than its more expensive siblings. The 720S is also lighter and boasts two times the aerodynamic efficiency of its predecessor thanks to the new Monocage II carbon fiber platform.

The engine behind the 720S is a well-known option in the modern-day McLaren lineup. A 4.0L twin-turbo V8 is paired with an also-standard-across-the-range 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission which routes all the available power to the rear wheels. Speaking of power, the 720S puts up 710 ponies and 568 lb-ft of rotational force which allows it to hit 60 mph in 2.7 seconds and top out around 212 mph, which is quite an impressive feat for a car weighing 3,161 pounds.

The McLaren 720S is available in both the coupe and convertible forms with the latter requiring at least $318,000. Due to its unique structure, the McLaren 720S Spider also weighs 108 pounds more than the coupe and boasts a slightly lower top speed of 202 mph. It also adds one-tenth of a second to the coupe’s 0 to 60 time despite having the exact same powertrain, but that’s all understandable if you’ve looked into differences between the coupe and convertible architecture.

McLaren 720S front 3/4 view

 

02. 2020 600LT

The 600LT was the last to join the British company’s current Sports Series lineup in 2018, whereas the spider variant arrived in January 2019. It’s also the most powerful of the aforementioned range of models which additionally consists of the oldest 570S and the entry-level 540C.

The McLaren 600LT is, however, the most extreme and arguably the best of the three. It draws inspiration from the 650S-derived 675LT discontinued in 2017 and the F1 GTR from the mid-nineties. The LT acronym, of course, stands for longtail which is clearly distinguishable on the McLaren 600LT.

This has had an impact on the 600LT’s dimensions as the car grew almost 3 inches in length. The 600LT also sports a large rear wing and considerably larger diffusers compared to other Sports Series models. The coupe version starts from well-north of $240,000 while the convertible costs at least $261,000.

Both the 600LT coupe and spider use the same 3.8L twin-turbo V8 and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic combo which enables them to develop as much as 592 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. The coupe will max out at 204 mph, while the spider is capable of hitting 196 mph with its top down or 201 mph with it raised. Both will hit the 60 mph mark in 2.8 seconds, however, despite the fact the convertible weighs 110 pounds more, tipping the scales at 2,879 pounds.

Speaking of weight, both models can be ordered with a sound system and climate delete options which shed additional pounds. What’s more, there’s also the expensive $22,090 MSO Clubsport Pack which adds lightweight carbon fiber seats from the Senna and a number of additional carbon fiber bits among other things.

McLaren 600LT Spider front 3/4 view

 

01. 2020 570S and 570GT

The original Sports Series McLaren 570S debuted in 2015, while its more road-oriented GT version arrived a year later. There are precious few differences between the models from a visual standpoint but the GT sports a softer suspension, better sound insulation, and slightly more cargo space thanks to its side cubicle mounted atop the engine cover.

Another difference is the fact the 570S comes in both the coupe and convertible forms, whereas the GT is exclusively offered as a hard-top. The former cost $195,000 and $212,000 respectively, while the 570GT hits the sweet spot in the middle with a price tag of around $204,000.

Regardless of choice, every model packs an impressive list of available convenience features for its class, but lacks any driver aids and advanced safety gear which would only be a burden anyway due to the 570’s need to remain fit and lightweight.

Both the McLaren 570S and 570GT use the same 3.8L twin-turbo V8 mill paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox which routes the engine’s power to the rear. As their names suggest, the engine produces 570 metric horsepower or 562 of our own ponies and throws in 443 lb-ft of torque.

Both boast exceptional driving dynamics but that’s the least one can expect from a McLaren. What’s more, they’re somewhat affordable – at least as far as McLarens go. Still, there’s very little practicality involved, even after taking all the GT model’s improvements on that front into consideration. Then again, a supercar isn’t intended to be practical anyway.

McLaren 570GT front 3/4 view

 

What’s Not in the New 2020 McLaren Lineup

01. 2020 540C

The entry-level Sports Series 540C is exclusively available in a coupe form and represents the cheapest way of owning a McLaren supercar. Available since 2015, the McLaren 540C focuses on daily driving and starts from around $150,000.

So, what’s wrong with it? It’s not available in the U.S. – that’s what’s wrong with it. The 540C was initially intended for the U.S. market but an apparent lack of interest forced the British automaker’s hand into exploring other options. Luckily for them, the more potent 570S has been a success and the 540C’s absence from their most important market hasn’t been felt.

Yet, we can’t shake the feeling the company’s actually excluded the 540C from the U.S. (it’s available in Canada) on purpose in order to achieve bigger profit margins by selling the more powerful and expensive Sports Series iterations which are all available.

The McLaren 540C sports the same 3.8L twin-turbo V8 found across the entry-level series’ lineup, but squeezes only 533 ponies and 398 pound-feet of twist out of it. This is still enough for the top speed of 199 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 3.4 seconds, however.

Needless to say, the most attainable McLaren sports car ever developed would have never made the wrong side of our hot and cold scale had it actually been available to the U.S. public. Heck, no McLaren car deserves to be considered uncool or unworthy as they all have their place in this world. Yet, here we are – frowning upon the poor 540C like it’s the black sheep of the family. Honestly though, we’re just mad we can’t have it.

 

McLaren 540C front 3/4 view







Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!