Those 500 people who took a gamble on signing up for McLaren’s new £259,500 supercar before test-driving it can breathe a sigh of relief: the 675LT is sensational. Sensational to look at, sensational to drive and sensationally fast.
But first, a quick lesson on the McLaren stable: there’s the core 650S range, offered as a coupe, or, as eight in 10 buyers prefer, as a Spider convertible. Then there’s the boundary-pushing P1 hypercar (the latest version of which is also already sold out). And, from next year, the new 570S range, McLaren’s (relatively) cheaper rival to the entry-level Porsche 911 Turbo.
The 675LT is like a harder-edged and more tuned-up version than the 650S. The LT branding stands for “Longtail”, though McLaren admits “the tail isn’t actually much longer.” Those expecting a dramatic, stretched-for-aerodynamics rear end like the original 1990s McLaren F1 GTR “Longtail” that gave this car its name will be disappointed. Still, it’s not about the length of the tail; it’s what we do with it that counts.
The one sop to Longtail ideals is a rear spoiler that’s a full 50 per cent larger. It’s humongous. At great expense, McLaren has fitted bespoke rear bodywork with cut-outs for it to sit in: it now stretches the entire length of the rear.
On the regular 650S, it works as an airbrake, and also gives “active” aerodynamics when driving quickly. On the 675LT, active becomes hyperactive. Special modes pop it up for extra downforce on track – it’s an impressive site – and when the computers sense even more is needed, it will rise up and down constantly, like the flutter of aircraft wings in autopilot mode.
How functional is it? McLaren’s test driver admitted he forgot to engage track mode during one session on Silverstone’s Grand Prix circuit, and blasted out assuming it was on. Good job the 675LT has track-biased tyres, monster carbon brakes, lightweight wheels, wide-track suspension and a huge 100kg weight saving over the 650S. Particularly as the 675hp 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, 50 per cent of which is all-new, has the power to hurtle to 62mph from rest in 2.9 seconds, and 124mph in just 7.9.
The engine is incredible. Brand new exhausts growl with menace and the sheer racecar bite of the engine is unlike almost any other road car. McLaren’s even engineered a racer fuel cut function for gear changes. It makes them neck-snapping severe, but incredibly fast.
Cornering excitement has been upped by a racier suspension setup, including bits up front taken from the P1. If you thought the 650S was direct, this will leave you breathless – but unlike other supercars, it’s not edgy and will give rich feedback even when you’re not driving it like the Stig.
With its race-honed cabin, seats so much like buckets that you struggle to get out and forward visibility that’s virtually panoramic, McLaren’s created something wonderful with the 675LT.
And a final tip from us – these coupes may all be sold out but there’s a rumour that a 675LT Spider is set for release next year. Keep an eye out, though – they’re sure to disappear in a flash.
Richard Aucock writes for motoringresearch.com.
THE FACTS: MCLAREN 675LT
0-62MPH: 2.9 secs
TOP SPEED: 205mph
CO2 G/KM: 275g/km
MPG COMBINED: 24.2mpg
VALUE FOR MONEY ★★☆☆☆