26 Sep, 2018 (All day)
The rate of progress at McLaren seems to have no limits these days; the cars keep coming faster and faster, and they get better every time.
And with the 600LT (where the LT stands for Long Tail) McLaren has surpassed its previous efforts again. Having driven it around the challenging Hungaroring GP circuit for a day, it’s clear this car is something else again.
On paper, the 600LT doesn’t seem that much different from the 570S on which it’s based. Its 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 has another 30bhp (plus a similar increase in torque), while its styling has been tickled to give it a more aggressive look. Even so, from 50 yards away you’d still be forgiven for thinking it was a 570S with a slightly bigger wing.
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Look more closely, however, and the 600LT is, in fact, a very different animal. It is almost 100kg lighter for starters, thanks to the addition of new carbon- fibre panels. It also generates an extra 100kg of downforce, due to its various new winglets. Plus, it rides on a set of bespoke Pirelli Trofeo R tyres, which, in conjunction with suspension tweaks front and rear – and a stronger, sharper set of new brakes – make it “much faster, much more dynamic to drive” than a 570S, says McLaren.
How much faster? Around a 2.7-mile circuit such as the Hungaroring it’s between four and five seconds quicker; at least two seconds of which would come from the tyres alone. In a straight line, the 600LT can hit 0-62mph in a scant 2.9 seconds before monstering its way to 124mph (200kmh) in 8.2 seconds. Top speed is 204mph.
As ever, there is a long options list. The car we drove, for example, had around £60k of extras, taking the base price to around £245,000. While not everything is strictly necessary, the £25k Clubsport pack brings the supportive seats fitted to the Senna hypercar – plus various other tasty bits of carbon inside and out – and is well worth the cost.
On the move, the LT feels and sounds instantly more alive than the 570S. The seats immediately clamp you in position with more conviction, even though the cabin itself looks pretty similar.
There’s more noise emanating from the all-new, upwards-facing exhaust pipes, too, while the ride, although still supple, has an immediacy to it that simply isn’t present in the 570S.
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In a straight line, the 600LT doesn’t actually feel that much quicker than its donor car. But the moment you hit the brakes and turn into a corner at speed, that’s when you notice the difference.
The response from the LT’s brake pedal is much sharper, a lot more powerful, and on turn-in the steering feels crisper as well. The nose goes absolutely where you want it to, almost as if you were driving a single-seater racing car. Yet at the same time, there is no corresponding over-reaction from the tail. Instead, you just point the LT and it goes, feeling not just sharper, but easier to drive than a 570S, purely because you can place it more accurately on the track. Plus, of course, it has a lot more grip than a 570S, thanks to those ultra-sticky tyres.
As a combination, it all adds up to a quite phenomenal driving experience, but one that’s not too hardcore or too over the top. For although the 600LT is sensational to drive on a track, you just know it will feel equally at home on the road. Unlike the Senna, it isn’t just a thinly disguised racing car, which means the Porsche 911 GT3 RS now has some serious company. We can’t wait to try the 600LT back in the UK, on British roads; a test due in the very near future.
- Model: McLaren 600LT
- Price: £185,500
- Engine: 3.8-litre V8 turbo
- Power/torque: 592bhp/620Nm
- Transmission: Seven-speed twin-clutch, rear-wheel drive
- 0-62mph: 2.9 seconds
- Top speed: 204mph
- Economy/CO2: 24.1mpg/276g/km
- On sale: Now
Source: – autoexpress
New McLaren 600LT 2018 review