McLaren 600LT Sport Series goes extreme
McLaren’s sublime Sport Series gets its edgy, out-there LT lagship – resistance is futile. By Ben Miller
IF I COULD pause real life I’d hit the button right now. The view through the panoramic, vaguely Group C windscreen is split at the horizon into two contrasting worlds: above, the unbroken blue of a serene September sky; and below a speed-blurred streak of hot Grand Prix circuit. Pinch me. The McLaren and I have made our best fist yet of the Hungaroring’s first four corners: brake-bursting turn one, endless two, interlinked three and the blind-on-entry, over-a-crest rush of four. In third gear through daunting turn four everything’s just so, the car smearing out to the edge of the track with just the right balance of front/ rear slip. And we surge on into the rest of the lap, happy like cats up to our ears in cream.
Thing is, this is the 570S I’m driving, not the new 600LT. Smaller, less complicated and considerably less expensive than the extraordinary 720S (and the outlier that is the Senna), for me the 570S is a meltwater-pure example of McLaren’s thing: stunning steering, serious performance and a refreshing paucity of nonsense. The cockpit, for example, is beautifully gimmick-free and sparse like an East Berlin apartment block, if easier on the eye. And today the 570S, on hand for circuit familiarisation, is every bit the delectable creation I remember: small, agile, friendly and exploitable. On the road it feels indomitable and dronestrike accurate but here, with laps, you wonder if a few tweaks might unlock still greater brilliance. The engine, for example, is omnipresent but here it feels a touch breathless, its ultra-flat torque curve a little lacking in drama. Then there’s the slight fuzziness when you really lay the car into the longer, faster corners, a moment’s delay before you understand exactly where you stand, and how much harder you can – or can’t – push. And couldn’t the rear end just be a little less keen to move around during the lap’s two heavy braking events? Clearly McLaren wondered the same, and has seen fit to fuse two of its finest machines, the 570S and the long-since sold-out 675LT, to create what’s now probably the pick of its range, the 600LT. A Porsche 911 GT2 RS or Ferrari 488 Pista rival on paper, the LT’s list price is the right side of £200k – £185,500 before you delve into the (admittedly tempting) options. Your money (which should be safe4
600LT loves to keep things neat, tidy and fast. Or do this