Steering precision, scalpel-sharp chassis, brakes, track manners
Engine not quite as impressive as the chassis
What is it?
It’s the new pinnacle of McLaren’s Sport Series range, the 570S’s harder, sharper, faster cousin: 96kg lighter, 23 per cent new parts, a car to follow in the footsteps of the fabulous 675LT. It’s the McLaren 600LT.
Strictly speaking this is the fourth in McLaren’s ‘Longtail’ range after coupe and Spider versions of the 675, and the car that kick-started it all back in 1997, the F1 GTR Longtail. Only nine of those were made. More of these will be made, although McLaren hasn’t put a limit on exact numbers, merely saying that production will begin in October this year and all will be built in the next 12 months.
In order to maintain the separation between Sport Series (570S et al) and Super Series (720S) models, the 600LT does without movable aero devices and hydraulic cross-linked dampers – those features are still reserved for the (even) more expensive models.
Aside from that, just about everything has been seen to. The engine gains new camshafts and a retuned ECU for an extra 30bhp, over 30kg has been removed from the wheels, tyres, brakes and forged aluminium suspension (all important rotational and unsprung weight), the dampers have been recalibrated, the uprights are from the 720S, the track is wider, the ride height lower.
It’s 74mm longer overall as the front splitter and rear diffuser have both been extended to enhance downforce. Together with the new rear wing, the 600LT develops 100kg of downforce at 155mph. Given the Senna develops 800kg at the same speed, that’s not particularly significant. But the 600LT isn’t about downforce, it’s about handling involvement and crispness.
And speed, obviously. The headline figures are 62mph in 2.9secs, 124mph in 8.2secs (0.1secs faster than a 911 GT2 RS, 0.6secs slower than a 488 Pista), a 204mph top end and the standing quarter done and dusted in 10.4secs.
All this, and top exit exhausts? Yes, please. Even at £185,500.
What is the verdict?
The most accurate and agile supercar on sale today? I think there’s a real argument for that being the case. Where the Ferrari 488 Pista feels almost artificially sharpened with its hyper-sensitive steering, here’s a car that picks a corner apart with steely-eyed precision, that exhibits amazing balance and clarity.
Does it feel cold-blooded as a result? Maybe a fraction. It’s an enthralling car to drive, but at its best when going faster and working harder. That’s when you notice just how impressive it is.
People will say it doesn’t move the game on as much as McLaren’s first road-going LT, the 675. And that’s true, the 675LT was McLaren’s break-through car, a step-change from the standard 650S. The trouble for the 600LT is that the 570S is already a terrifically good road and track car.
Making progress from that point, while keeping the 600LT within the cost and technological parameters of the Sport Series range so it doesn’t tread on the toes of the 720S, is a bigger challenge altogether. Times have changed and expectations are higher.
But let’s not get bogged down in looking backwards. The 600LT is a crisper, faster and more focused 570S, and a superb supercar in its own right.