Home » Are You The One American Who Understands The McLaren Model Range?

Are You The One American Who Understands The McLaren Model Range?

Mclaren Gts Topshot
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McLaren has a bit of a brand recognition problem. Sure, millions of people watch their F1 team’s efforts, and their supercars are a hard flex, but distinguishing between the supercars can be tricky. The marque’s GT just got a less enthusiastic facelift than the most recent round of updates to the Genesis G70. However, the facelift does come with a new name: GTS. Imaginative, right?

If you forgot about the McLaren GT, don’t worry — you aren’t the only one. While other models were out-and-out supercars, the GT was a more practical McLaren with a liftgate, a comfier ride, and slightly dulled inputs. It was an incremental set of changes, and the new McLaren GTS shows a similarly slight evolution.

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See, the McLaren GTS thinks in small numbers, like 14. That’s how many extra horsepower it gets over the outgoing GT. Another small number? 22, as in the number of pounds pulled out of the vehicle thanks to parts like a carbon fiber roof. Happily, the zero-to-60 mph time is also small at 3.1 seconds, bolstering proper supercar credentials. Likewise, the new nose lift system takes just four seconds to deploy, adding a little ease to urban environments.

Mclaren Gts 1

On the outside of the GTS, McLaren’s subtly reshaped the air intakes in the front bumper, stretched the scoops atop the haunches, and revamped the wheel designs. Inside, a new digital gauge cluster is physically smaller than the one on the GT, but looks richer, and that’s really about it. This is a light facelift, no more, no less.

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If you don’t really care, you’re not alone. For years, the McLaren lineup has suffered from a perplexing sense of deja vu, where you’re not exactly sure which model you’re looking at. Compounding issues, the sheer number of models in the range ballooned to a rather ridiculous point. For a brief period of time, you could walk into a McLaren showroom and find a 570S, a 570S Spider, a 570 GT, a 600LT, a 600LT Spider, a GT, a 720S, a 720S Spider, a Senna, and a Speedtail all as new vehicles, all featuring some variant of McLaren’s V8. It was the Taco Bell of supercar companies, but the overwhelming choice meant that some car fans weren’t having a Baja Blast.

Mclaren Composite

Perhaps McLaren grew too quickly. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted restructuring, with McLaren group selling off its headquarters and leasing it back, laying off 25 percent of its workforce, selling off its McLaren Applied division, bet the company on a hybrid model that suffered some teething issues, and is reportedly about to be wholly owned by the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund. Yeah, it’s been a confusing past few years, so it’s unsurprising that the road car lineup confusion continues.

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Part of the confusion may come from the McLaren website showing models that aren’t in production anymore. The 765LT? The Senna? You can’t buy those cars new anymore. Likewise, the Speedtail and Elva are effectively off the menu. That leaves us with the V6 hybrid Artura, which is the entry-level car competing with the Ferrari 296 GTB. Then you have the GTS, which has less power than the Artura but more practicality, a V8, and less complexity. Finally, you have the 750S in coupe and spider forms, which is the evolution of the gold standard of modern turbocharged supercars. Of course, they all look pretty similar to the last generation of McLaren cars, so you’ll still need an eagle eye to spot the differences.

(Photo credits: McLaren Cars)

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Box Rocket
Box Rocket
3 months ago

I come as close to adoring McLarens as the term allows for without getting into idolatry. They’re easily my favorite supercar brand, and – especially after driving them on roads and tracks – one or more of them would be my first extravagant purchase were I able to justify it (at least one P1 that’s had the hybrid system updated and future-proofed as much as possible, though also seeing what Tavarish has done to his P1 gives me ideas). I wish there was a dealership closer to me so I could come by and ogle the latest wares or whatever else was coming through on display.

I can (largely) match the models to their names, but some of the final versions of some models (mostly the LT models) will throw me until I can see the “long tail” (which is…generally a stretch for those).

There is a difference between the models, it’s not like ordering Small, Medium, or Large, or getting the gold trim over the pedestrian chrome on a luxury car; it’s not just “lipstick on a pig”. The various models behave differently especially approaching and at the limit. The way a 720S puts its power down compared to a 570S or 12C is dramatic and (relatively) justifies its price premium. For me, I’d prefer to daily an Artura over a 750S, but if given the choice between either I’d get the 750S.

The company exists to sell toys to (primarily) the ultra-wealthy and I wish them every success with that. To borrow a thought from “Gone in 60 Seconds” when I see a bunch of Ferrari and Lamborghini and just one or two McLarens (also Koenigsegg and Pagani, but let’s not get sidetracked) I generally see the Italian owners as mindless “self-indulgent wieners with too much bloody money!” and the McLaren owner as “a connoisseur”. Especially at track days where the Ferrari folk expect the car to turn them into racecard drivers, and they get so aggravated at being passed by the British car. Repeatedly.

Óscar Morales Vivó
Óscar Morales Vivó
3 months ago

As far as I can tell they are all the same car. You just pay more to get bragging rights for having spent more on a car.

So if you’re one of those cheapo poors who can only afford the $200k McLaren you’re going to have to hang your head in shame when someone comes around in the $500k McLaren. Other than that pretty much every owner will wrap the car around a tree trunk well before it reaches top speed.

Myk El
Myk El
3 months ago

I like McLarens. If I could afford a supercar new, I would likely get one over other brands. I’ve walked through a McLaren dealer (one in Denver hosts a regular Cars & Coffee which I attended when visiting the area over the summer). I like the design language and I think it differentiates McLaren from other makers…and I still couldn’t match model names to pictures. I don’t have this problem with Lamborghini and Ferrari. I’d have a similar problem with Koenigsegg, but I’ve only ever seen those in pictures, so I’ll give myself a break there.

Sandy Eggo
Sandy Eggo
3 months ago

“It was the Taco Bell of supercar companies, but the overwhelming choice meant that some car fans weren’t having a Baja Blast.”

I laughed out loud reading this. Well said.

sentinelTk
sentinelTk
3 months ago

In theory, it isn’t too hard to follow. They used to have the “entry-level” supercar, the full-on supercar, and the halo or hypercar. Then they added the grand-tourer. Ok, not too bad….

The problem is they started doing the incremental revisions which gets confusing (is the 675LT new or a spin on the 650?), then they started replacing (ok, the 650/675 is now replaced by the 720), then more replacing (wait, is the 750 new or a revision of the 720?!), but wait, there’s more!

When they added the grand tourer, they used a simple name, GT, instead of a number (ok, I follow). Then they unveiled the Artura seemingly indicating a new direction (ok, so they are switching to names instead of numbers, makes sense). Then they said f*** continuity and went back to numbers (wait, so back to 750?!).

All the while, never clearly replacing their halo/hypercar tier (is the Senna the P1 successor? Or is it Speedtail? Wait, what’s the Elva?!).

Ferrari’s similar model has gotten confusing, but at least it is a bit easier to follow since they are clear what replaces or upgrades what….

(Meanwhile, I didn’t even touch on the oddballs like the China only 540 or the sorta-GT but not really GT 570GT.)

Last edited 3 months ago by sentinelTk
Toobs-N-Stuff
Toobs-N-Stuff
3 months ago

I can’t be the only one who just can’t bring myself to give a flying f-bomb over any of the McLaren road cars.

they all look _exactly the same_ +/- a swoop or 2 on the front bumper, they all use the same chassis… the biggest difference between models is incremental powertrain upgrades and suspension tuning.

when seen in person they do not stand out, they just say “generic expensive sportscar designed by a 5 year old”

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
4 months ago

“It costs me a lot of money to look this cheap” – Dolly Parton

“It costs me a lot of money to look like I can’t afford a Ferrari” – McLaren owner

Mark Jacob
Mark Jacob
4 months ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

I would so much rather have a McLaren than a Ferrari.

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Jacob

That’s what they will say, but that they don’t have something like a Corvette E-Ray tells you they are desperate for prestige but could not afford a Ferrari.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
4 months ago

All I see in that grid of photos is Derek Zoolander’s calendar shoot.

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
4 months ago

You can only do so much with the same monocoque.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
4 months ago

When asked why they don’t give their cars fanciful names like Ferrari, they responded “well, the McLaren Woking doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?”

That tells you everything you need to know about this company. You couldn’t have less creativity or flair if you tried. How anybody cares a bit about McLaren is quite beyond me. And they once made the greatest car OF ALL TIME

I don’t say this lightly: fuck these nerds

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
4 months ago

No company does less with more

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
4 months ago

Wait until you see BMW, Mercedes, or Porsche

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
4 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Those are all companies making distinctive cars creatively. Their naming schemes aren’t exactly groundbreaking, but you can immediately think of what every car they make is and associate it with the name. To me, McLaren makes the F1, Senna, Speedtail, and then a whole bunch of nonsense

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
3 months ago

You’re giving McLaren crap because all their cars looks the same, while Porsche has been building the same model since 1938(yes I know not really). To me, Porsche makes the 911, the Boxster/Cayman, and then a whole bunch of nonsense.

To me, BMW is the M3, the not cool 3 series, and then some bigger and smaller versions of exactly the same thing.

Mercedes makes….. the S class? And the G wagen?

Toobs-N-Stuff
Toobs-N-Stuff
3 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

but at least the Porsche’s have a distinct style. the McLarens are all just “generic expensive sports car”. there is nothing that stands out design wise except being boring as fxxk

Cerberus
Cerberus
4 months ago

Have no interest in any of their road cars that aren’t M6 GT or F1. They all look about the same—like a ’90s high schooler’s generic supercar sketch with better lighting—don’t even have memorable names, have about the same engine and monocoque (though I guess that changed fairly recently), a myriad of reported problems, and performance that’s useless (like all these kinds of things). It’s cooler seeing one on the street than another CUV, but that’s about it. Of course, I can say that about almost all the modern douchebag supercars companies, even if I love their old stuff (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti though I’m not sure I should even include that considering the only present similarity is the name VW didn’t even buy from the original family). For modern cars, I’d take a pair of Morgan Super Threes over any of them (one to streamline and add a sliding canopy to), though there’s a long list of vintage stuff I’d buy or recreations I’d commission.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
4 months ago

This was always Doug’s beef with McLarens as well and frankly I agree with it. Too many cars, so many “special” models that none of them feel truly special anymore, etc. Their design language is honestly pretty great as far as supercars go and I certainly drop everything I’m doing to look at one if I see it in the wild…but I definitely can’t tell you every single model and what makes each one unique or whatever.

I also wanted to co-sign what Goof’s saying (not that he needs it haha). There are a lot of QC and reliability issues with these cars and if the forums are to be believed the ownership experience is pretty mid for how much you’re forking over for one. Plus the have panel gap issues that make Tesla’s look like child’s play…and you’d better be someone who likes being the center of attention if you roll up in one.

If that’s your thing then have at it, but it’s definitely not mine. Anyway, this sounds lame as hell but McLarens are one of the seemingly infinite cars that I look at and say “yeah that’s cool as hell but I’d rather have the most 911 that money could possibly buy me instead”

Andrew Daisuke
Andrew Daisuke
4 months ago

well said!

Strangek
Strangek
3 months ago

Yeah, exactly, you can probably do better for the money. I only ever see McLarens when I’m vacationing somewhere, it would be dumb to drive one in this rusty pothole of a city. When I see them, I think they look great and they have a definite presence. I never know which one I’m looking at, but to be fair, I’m not sure I can differentiate the various flavors of 911 or Cayman at a glance either.

Timbuck2
Timbuck2
4 months ago

I never cared for McLarens except for the F1 and the 720s. All the other ones are just some variation of the MP4-12C. Plus, they have an image of being the supercar for overexcited YouTubers. People like vehiclevirgins, shmee, the stradman, and all those types. It really cheapens the brand tbh.

Thomas The Tank Engine
Thomas The Tank Engine
4 months ago

That leaves us with the V6 hybrid Artura, which is the entry-level car competing with the Ferrari 296 GTB”

The Artura does NOT compete with the Ferrari 296 GTB.

Sure, they are both new models with V6 turbo engines paired with a hybrid drivetrain, but they are not competitors. The Artura is less powerful and much cheaper than the Ferrari.

McLaren’s 720S / 750S is the competitor to the 296 GTB.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
4 months ago

My best man bought a McLaren a few years ago, I had to Google it to tell which one it was from the picture. I’d have to Google it again now to tell you which one it was.

I loved driving it, way fast, obvs, but also weirdly comfortable. It made for a great daily driver.

He loved it, kept it for three years, which is like ten years in normal person car ownership, because he gets bored of them. He has a Ferrari now, but I’d have to Google to tell which one because I’m no longer willing to memorise the never ending array of cars I’ll never own.

Anyway, he didn’t know anything about my GT86 when I got that, so I guess it works both ways. People with McLaren money are probably paying more attention to them than the rest of us. I’m not sure that confusing the poors has any negative effect on their business plan.

Jj
Jj
4 months ago

I haven’t understood it in years. It seems like every time they change a switch on the dash they call it a new model.

Admittedly, it’s not hurting them financially that I don’t get it.

Goof
Goof
4 months ago
Reply to  Jj

McLaren is in a tough segment to begin with, but what really hurts them are reliability bugbears, some of the dealers, and the frequency in which they trade hands means they fall into the olden days supercar depreciation hole that some other options now avoid entirely.

I’m curious if there are any long-term (5+ years) McLaren owners here on The Autopian for their ownership experience take. I’ve personally not met anyone whose kept one long term. The dealership around me is alright, and I’m aware some are fantastic, but there’s also a ton who can be downright awful. In some markets like the UK it’s abhorrent, but it seems that trying to own anything nice in the UK is signing up for a beat down by a dealer.

They have the best steering, incredibly predictable handling, and they’re devilishly quick. Yet lots of bugbears, the supercar suspension system TCO is yikes long-term, and they’re similar to Ferrari in which they’d rather you not DIY anything on them.

Jj
Jj
4 months ago
Reply to  Goof

Do people who buy these even plan to keep them for five years? It seems like I see those guys with a different toy every year or so at C&C type events.

If they keep one even moderately long term it’s usually a used holy grail that they spent a long time tracking down… and even that will get boring to them and they will be talking about selling it in a couple of years.

Goof
Goof
4 months ago
Reply to  Jj

>It seems like I see those guys with a different toy every year or so at C&C type events.

Oh, trust me when I say that’s a lot of super car buyers. It’s something they’ll casually mention to people they know, etc. but the thing mostly sits around because they realized you can’t just “buy the image” you have to buy the reality of something that’s not the comfy luxury crossovers they normally drive.

Yet I’m still to meet a long-term owner. Which is a shame, because they’re actually feel more exciting than most of their competition.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
4 months ago
Reply to  Jj

I can’t tell any of them apart. At least with Ferrari, I can tell a 296 and a 812 serve very different purposes just from looking at them (I did have to look up their names though). Just looking at McLaren’s line up it looks like all their cars serve the same purpose.

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