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HomeFEATUREDDRIVEN EXCLUSIVE: McLaren 600LT – Raw and Unfiltered

DRIVEN EXCLUSIVE: McLaren 600LT – Raw and Unfiltered

Driven is privileged to bring you the first driving impression on SA soil of the recently launched McLaren 600LT, which sits above the 570S and headlines the company’s Sports Series range. LERATO MATEBESE jumped in behind the wheel of the latest entrant to ascertain whether the model warrants the additional capital outlay over the already impressive 570S.

McLaren’s tale of its Longtail (LT) history harks back to the indomitable F1 GTR Longtail race car, which was a lighter and more track-focused variant of the already accomplished F1 supercar, the latter of which still holds the world record for the fastest normally aspirated production car.

While a mean feat in its own right, the Longtail lineage continued with the introduction of the 675LT Coupe and Spider variants, which were loosely based on the 650S models and, anyone who drove those 675LT models, heaped nothing but praises on them.

A NEW KIND OF LT

McLaren 600LT

Now the LT application has been bestowed upon the Sport Series model, in this instance based on the 570S model, which can already hold its own against the likes of the Audi R8 V10 Plus and Porsche 911 Turbo S. The car in question is the 600LT – the number alluding to the metric horsepower measurement – that can be distinguished from its 570S donor car by a slightly longer bodywork (74 mm), thanks to the additional carbon fibre package.

That exotic material is used in many key areas of the 600LT – including the front splitter, side sills, extended diffuser and fixed rear deck spoiler all in an effort to slash weight by 96 kg compared to the 570S.

This brings the total dry weight of the vehicle to a scant 1,247 kg, which is exceptionally light by modern sportscar standards. Other external bespoke items include a pair of top-exit titanium tailpipes that add extra visual venom and emit a guttural tone on up-shifts and pops and bangs on the down-shift. Meanwhile, the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine has been further deep-tissue-massaged to muster 441 kW and 620 Nm via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

600LT IS A SPECIAL BREED

McLaren 600LT

Cabin appointments mirror those of the 570S for the most part save for the form-hugging Alcantara seats that have been lifted wholesale from the mighty P1 hypercar, while you can also opt for even lighter pews as found in the recently launched McLaren Senna.

Of course, the proof of the pudding remains in the tasting, so I was rather intrigued to find out just how more involving, dynamic and ultimately unfiltered the 600LT’s driving experience is compared to that of the 570S.

Right off the bat, it must be mentioned that pictures simply do not do justice to how purposeful the 600LT looks in the metal, particularly in the instance of our test car with its Ceramic Grey hue and those orange brake callipers that peer through the spider-web-like wheels.

There is a sense of occasion that will have you poring over the silhouette and the more you do, the more other body appendages come to the fore, all purposefully yet tastefully done. In fact, the company says that some 23% new parts have been used on the 600LT.

UNLEASHING THE LONGTAIL

McLaren 600LT

Nosing the vehicle onto the road, one of the company’s design aspects is quite apparent in the 600LT – the easy visibility of the road ahead and the relatively comfortable suspension setup, even in Sport mode. Acoustically, there seems to be less sound deadening material than found on the 570S and the hissing of the turbos is more pronounced even on partial throttle inputs.

Speaking of the throttle, it might not be as sharp as that of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS driven elsewhere in this issue as it requires the turbos to spool up before there’s meaningful progress.

Switch things to Track mode, however, and things get more immediate and the 600LT trades its relatively modest demeanour and starts frothing at the mouth, waiting to be unleashed from its metaphorical leash. Once let loose, though, the model makes a beeline for the horizon with such verve and intent, you ought to keep your wits about you since the turn of speed is something that’s part of the 600LT’s lexicon.

Unleashing all the fury of the V8 engine, even on a partially damp tarmac, there’s tenacious grip from the Pirelli Trofeo tyres that you can be judicious with throttle inputs. Yes, the vehicle is more forgiving than, say, the 720S we drove earlier in the year which, admittedly, is more powerful and punches in a totally different weight division altogether.

What impresses most on the 600LT is not only the accessibility of its power but also the linear delivery thereof. There’s also a weighty seam of torque available in the mid-rev-range, and even short-shifting will result in devastatingly effective momentum.

Then there is that raucous soundtrack that will easily shake critters out of trees and rattle the cabin in a manner that’s not all that different to a racing car, all thanks to the unfiltered driving sensation that has been ingrained into the drive and feel of the 600LT.

LAST WORD

McLaren currently does not have a limited run of the 600LT, although production will be staggered between other models so you would do well to place your order now as production is said to last only 12 months, or until October 2019.

As the latest addition to the LT lineage in McLaren’s portfolio, the 600LT is deserving of that fabled suffix and is a car that takes the 570S’ already impressive base and builds an even more flamboyant, more engaging and equally rewarding driving experience that is bereft of any dilution. It is, unequivocally, an unfiltered, primal take on an already impressive sports car recipe – and therein lies its purest appeal.

Report by LERATO MATEBESE | Images © CAR FINE ART

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHERS

McLaren 600LT

South African photographers, Sarel van Staden and Maryna Cotton, developed their “Focussed Diffused Lighting” technique (FDL) to create unique art of cars. “Great photography is often the result of the ability to see, as well as a solid understanding of the characteristics of light. Light can become the proverbial paintbrush to create works of art” says Sarel. “The desire we have to create fine art images of cars was, in part, fuelled by the technical challenges associated with automotive photography, but mostly by a love for the shape of cars. We use our understanding of light to reveal the beauty hidden in the shapes, curves and lines.”
The FDL technique optimises the relationship between shadows and highlights, which in turn brings out the subtle details in the shape of the car, while still rendering soft enough light to manage reflections in the paintwork. This dynamic duo’s ever-expanding collection of car art can be viewed for purchase on www.carfineart.com, or email maryna@carfineart.com.

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