The McLaren 720S Spider wasn’t the only new McLaren we were able to put to the test in Arizona. On the second day of our stay in Scottsdale we received the keys to a bright lime green McLaren 600LT Spider. And oh boy what an absolute treat this machine is.
The McLaren 600LT represents the top of the Sport Series range. Fans of the brand will recognize the ‘LT’ designation which stands for ‘longtail’ and hints at the legendary McLaren F1 GTR Longtail. The 600LT is 47mm longer than the 570S base model. But LT stands for more than just a longer backside. It also showcases some extreme weight saving measures. Just like its coupe sibling the 600LT Spider is up to 100 kg lighter than the 570S Spider weighing in at just 1,247 kg. The short exhaust not only gives the 600LT Spider a unique look but also saves a few kg.
The McLaren 600LT Spider has the same 3.8 liter turbocharged V8 as the Coupe. It produces 600hp and 620Nm of torque. It sprints from 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds and 0-200 km/h in 8.2 seconds. The top speed is 328 km/h with the roof up and 315 km/h with the roof down. Equally impressive is the stopping power: from 200 km/h to standstill takes 121 meters. Only 5 meters more than the McLaren P1.
Looks are very much up to personal taste but for me the 600LT Spider is the best looking McLaren in the current line-up. The two piece carbon fibre roof panel folds away underneath the tonneau cover in under 15 seconds. The rear spoiler and aggressive diffusor clearly set it apart from the other models in the sport series.
The interior is very McLaren with a tablet like infotainment display and all driver controls within easy reach. The carbon fibre bucket seats are perfect and available in two sizes. On the passenger side you even have more legroom than in the 720S Spider. The infotainment is one generation before that in 720S Spider which has a few more glitches and bugs – sadly one of McLaren’s few remaining flaws. Understandable considering McLaren has nowhere near the R&D budgets the big manufacturers do. Although I do hope their electronics and infotainment will get more attention in future products.
The 600LT Spider has a few remarkable qualities that make it easy to forget about these flaws though. Sliding into the drivers seat I immediately get a feeling I rarely have – this car fits like a glove. I feel one with the car and our bond will only grow throughout the day as I spend time on the road and track with it. McLaren did their best to show us what the car can do and after short blast down the highway and a visit to a former mining town we unleashed some of the 600 LT Spider’s 600 wild horses on one of the best roads I have driven in a while. Twisty, smooth and with plenty of height difference the 600 LT is just a joy to drive.
There is only one little catch – randomly along the road there are cattle guards to keep cattle in their designated area. It requires hawk eyes to spot the sign warning for the upcoming cattle guards and equally impressive reactions from the driver. Luckily the brakes work to my advantage as they stop the 600 LT Spider quicker than the V8 can propel it forward.
After a great road drive it is time to see what the McLaren 600 LT Spider can do on track. A convertible. On track. Why you might ask? Because it can. The 600 LT Spider is significantly lighter than its competitors and just as rigid as the coupe thanks to the carbon fibre chassis so on paper it looks promising.
In reality it is even better as with the roof down you have the full sensation of noise, wind and sheer power. The 600 LT Spider is very well balanced and grippy allowing you to set some blistering fast laps that will leave most track cars dead in the water.
And the best thing is you can do record settings laps on Paul Ricard in the morning and pose on the boulevard in Cannes with the roof down and sunglasses on the same afternoon. One might argue that the Aventador Roadster or R8 V10 Spider driver can do the same but very few actually will. McLaren seems to attract a lot of buyers that use their cars the way they are intended to.
To wrap it up: I was blown away by the 600LT but the 600LT Spider is even better. Even when you have no intention of taking the roof down, the little window behind the drivers seat is worth the premium. The 600LT Spider is not limited but will only be build this year.