Slim fast McLaren has gone all-out to shed the pounds with its new 600LT, with increased driver engagement the end goal. Words and photos by Adam Towler.
It was only a matter of time before McLaren revived its Long Tail badge, given the over whelming success of the terrific 675LT. Akin to Porsche’s GT moniker, the LT designation ha s now been applied to a Sports Series model for the first time, taking the already ballistic 570S as its star ting point.
The benchmark for the 600LT wasn’t a rival’s car, but the 675LT, despite it hailing from the class above. In fact, the £185,000 600LT sits in a niche of its own: more expensive than Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS 991.2 but less than a GT2 RS, and with a power figure in between the two. The focus has been on weight reduction, enhanced aerodynamics, more power and a track bias for the chassis dynamic s. Out of these, an increasing obsession with losing the kilograms seems to have come to the fore, borne out by CEO Mike Flewitt’s assertion that, while his firm is inevitably in a power race with its rivals, ‘it would be cool to be in a weight race as well. Actually, I think we’d be winning it right now.’ The overall goal, McLaren says, has been to get more driver engagement than in a 675LT, while also offering more comfort, practicality and improved quality. On some circuits the 600LT is apparently even faster than its older brother, and the broad smiles of those within the firm who’ve driven the car suggest the latest LT is a cracker. Deliveries star t in October, with production numbers limited.
McLaren’s engineers have managed to remove more than 100kg from the 570S, bringing the dry weight of the 600LT down to 1247kg. There’s a 21kg saving in the seats (the Senna’s buckets are an option and save a further 3.6kg), 17kg in the new wheels, 3. 3kg from the wiring harness, 5.6k g in thinner carpeting, 2.1kg in thinner glass (all bar the rear side windows), 7.2kg from the use of carbonfibre body panels (front and rear bumpers, plus an optional carbon roof), 4kg in the brakes (comprising more effective but lighter components from the 720S), 1kg by losing the door pockets and glovebox, and 12.6kg if you make do without air conditioning. Forego the hi-fi and you’ll save a further 3. 3kg.
There are no internal changes to the engine, and the 600LT retains the smaller, 3.8-litre McLaren V8. Extra power and torque – now 592bhp with 457lb ft, up from 562bhp with 443lb f t in the 570S – is achieved by an ECU remap and the 600LT’s star feature: a top - exit exhaust. Inspired by that on the Senna, and designed to save weight, reduce backpressure with shorter pipework and improve the noise in the cabin, we’re told it spits blue flames that illuminate the rear-view mirror.
The twin-clutch gearbox gains an ‘inertia push’ change in Track mode, meaning the ignition isn’t cut during the shift to maintain maximum acceleration, while stiffer engine and transmission mounts assist handling.
|HOW THE 600LT COMPARES|
|Car||PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS 991.2||MCLAREN 600LT||PORSCHE 911 GT2 RS 991.2|
|Engine||Flat-six, 3996cc||V8,3799cc, twin-turbo||Flat-six, 3800cc, twin-turbo|
|Torque||347lb ft @ 6000rpm||457lb ft @ 5000-6500rpm||553lb ft @ 2500-4500rpm|
|Weight||1430kg||1343kg (est, with fluids)||1470kg|
|On sale||NOW||October 2018||NOW|
McLaren’s aim has been to combine the low-speed nimbleness and driveability of its Sports Series cars with the improved highspeed stability of models such as the 720S. So the 600LT’s dampers are recalibrated, with an 8mm drop in ride height and a wider track married to higher spring rates and stiffer, hollow anti-roll bars. The steering has a five per cent quicker ratio and apparently offers the driver ‘increa sed feedback’, while a bespoke Pirelli Trofeo R tyre is standardfit. ‘It’s not just about numbers,’ says project mana ger Philippe Humbrecht. ‘It’s so enjoyable to drive – the way it reacts is very engaging and gives you confidence at a higher level.’ Sounds like our sort of car.
The 600LT is 47mm longer at the rear: hardly akin to an F1 GTR Long Tail, but enough to give the car a more purposeful look that’s accentuated by the new rear wing. All the aero is fixed, but the larger front splitter (adding 27mm to the length at the front), rear wing and other fine-tuning means there’s now 100k g of downforce at 155mph. That rear wing can withstand 300deg C, too, enough to cope with the 240deg C exhaust gases.
Above, from left: revised rear-end features new aero elements; 21kg is saved with lighter seats; new wheels are wrapped in bespoke Pirelli Trofeo R rubber. Below: 600LT is a Long Tail – just – being 47mm longer at the rear than a 570S.
“We’re told the top-exit exhaust spits blue flames that illuminate the rear-view mirror”