The devil’s work

MCLAREN AU­TO­MO­TIVE CAN’T SEEM TO STOP LAUNCH­ING CARS. BUT AS EACH EPIC SU­PER­CAR SEEMS TO GET BET­TER THAN THE LAST, WE’RE NOT COM­PLAIN­ING. NOEL EB­DON HEADS TO SCOT­LAND TO TRY OUT THE MON­STROUS 666 HP 675LT SPI­DER

Virtuozity - - Automobiles -

get­ting a hint of what it must be like to be Tom Cruise, such is the num­ber of cam­era phones be­ing pointed in my di­rec­tion. There clearly aren’t many con­vert­ible, metal­lic-gold su­per­cars in Glas­gow.

But it does give me time to as­sess the car with­out the per­for­mance equa­tion. The 675 is easy to drive, the roof folds and closes neatly and with­out fuss, and it’s sur­pris­ingly easy to live with. Even sat in traf­fic, it doesn’t feel like a hand­ful or as if it’s strain­ing at the leash. I get the feel­ing I could do the daily com­mute in this, which I cer­tainly wasn’t ex­pect­ing.

A fi­nal un­hin­dered blast back to the ho­tel con­firms my grow­ing love for this car. The power de­liv­ery is spot-on, the di­men­sions are per­fect and the over­all driver in­ter­ac­tion is sublime.

Re­turn­ing the car back to the shores of Loch Lomond, there can be few bet­ter set­tings to mull over a car that has re­ar­ranged my senses and given me a new­found love of driv­ing in the rain.

When Mclaren launched the ini­tial MP412C, it was ac­cused of building a soul­less au­tom­a­ton, with no pas­sion and a clinical ap­proach to driv­ing. At the time, I thought that was a lit­tle un­fair; in my view, most of the V8 mid-en­gine su­per­cars of the time felt very much the same and the Mclaren was one of the best, with fin­ger­tip feel.

Peo­ple al­legedly yearned for Fer­rari’s pas­sion, which in my mind frankly didn’t ex­ist. Peo­ple see Fer­rari as pas­sion­ate, be­cause it was in the past. But the cur­rent cars don’t have that same feel­ing. Peo­ple are ap­ply­ing thoughts of the past to the modern cars with­out ac­tu­ally think­ing about the facts prop­erly. Pretty much any cur­rent su­per­car comes with­out that feel any­more, be­cause frankly, we’re not al­lowed to own cars like that now.

What peo­ple seem to fail to un­der­stand is that much of that pas­sion came from real dan­ger, from liv­ing on the edge, from be­ing able to con­trol the un­con­trol­lable. As we all well know, gov­ern­ments and health and safety peo­ple don’t like that sort of thing any­more, and nei­ther do car com­pa­nies.

Mclaren seems to have car­ried this rep­u­ta­tion of pro­duc­ing clinical cars ever since the 12C, as the arm­chair crit­ics (most of whom have never driven any­thing more po­tent than a Golf GTI) spout the same tired old clichés on ram­bling In­ter­net fo­rums.

Well, they’re wrong. I drove the Mclaren 650S at As­cari, and I am there­fore in a po­si­tion to be able to say it is a stonk­ingly good car with all the pas­sion you’ll ever need.

But the 657LT takes the su­per­car ex­pe­ri­ence to a whole new level. It’s tight, ra­zor sharp, per­fectly built and, maybe most im­por­tantly, achingly gor­geous to look at. That pretty much ticks all the boxes in one go.

And I’d like to go on record by say­ing that this is the best su­per­car I’ve driven in a very long time.

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