Prospective 600LT buyers will have to act quickly, as production will only run about 12 months. McLaren isn’t setting a specific cap on 600LT sales, but by this time next year, if your car isn’t already under construction, you’re likely out of luck. However, there could be a good reason to procrastinate as McLaren says it has a convertible version of the 600LT waiting to debut in 2019.
But really a better 570S
Like the 570S, the 600LT is powered by a version of McLaren’s 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 mounted amidship within the company’s MonoCell II carbon-fiber chassis. The 600LT not only has an extra 30 horsepower over the 570S, it is also 100 kg (220.5 lbs) lighter, which makes a greater contribution to the car’s performance advantage over its sibling. Additionally, it creates 100 more kg of aerodynamic downforce at 155 mph.
Some of the extra power and weight savings comes from a truncated exhaust system that pours the 600LT’s fiery breath straight out through the top of the engine cover, eliminating a bunch of tubing and contributing to an intoxicatingly exotic engine note. That’s a tough accomplishment for a car with a turbocharged engine, but the 600LT provides a suitably invigorating soundtrack to accompany its owners’ exploits.
The 600LT’s fixed rear wing (it doesn’t tilt to serve as an air brake like the 675LT’s wing) is directly in the literal line of fire of the exhaust, so the middle section above the openings is treated to survive the blast. I can’t see it during my daytime drive, but McLaren’s drivers assure me that actual flames are sometimes visible from the 600LT’s exhaust.
These ingredients combine to produce 0-60 mph acceleration of 2.8 seconds, matching the time of the Super Series 675LT, and a 204-mph top speed. At the dragstrip, the 600LT will complete the quarter mile in 10.4 seconds. But the 600LT’s speed secrets around a road course come from other sources.
In addition to those precise brakes, the 600LT has revised suspension geometry, stiffer springs, and killer Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires that combine to produce faster cornering speeds than the mighty 2016 675LT.
As with all McLarens, shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is done automatically or using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. The computer chooses gears faultlessly, whether driving gently or when pressing to improve a lap time, but the paddle does give the driver the feeling they are contributing more to the effort.
The 600LT’s steering is modestly tweaked, with a ratio the company says is about 5 percent quicker than in the 570S, so the car turns in crisply without becoming abrupt and risking destabilizing itself.
In total, the 600LT is an ideal plaything for prolonged track driving, which is exactly the reason many McLaren drivers buy their cars. Indeed, its ability to tear around the track in 10-lap stints with virtually no performance decline makes the 600LT a “game changer” for the company’s Pure McLaren driving experience program, reports Danny Buxton, who leads the team of drivers that coach customers through the Pure McLaren events.
“We are going to see the biggest percentage of 600LTs on the track of any McLaren model,” Buxton predicts.
That sounds like as strong an endorsement of a super sports car as I can imagine.