Super light, buckets of power, and an Australian launch locked in for McLaren's latest long-tail.
McLaren has already dropped the headline details of the forthcoming 600LT, but with the car’s official unveiling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed we can now tell you more about this stripped and whipped hellion, with the stand-out feature being that it will indeed be quicker around most circuits than the 675LT it follows on to.
"It depends on the track," McLaren's chief engineer Paul Burnham told CarAdvice during a preview event in London. "The 675 has more power and more straight-line pace, but the 600LT can generate higher cornering speeds so on anything tight it will have the advantage.”
The success of the 675LT, which sold out limited editions in both Coupe and Spider form, made it a certainty that McLaren would create other “Long Tail” models, the inspiration coming from the marginally extended GTR race version of the McLaren F1. The surprise is that the second LT is spun from the cheaper Sports Series rather than the 720S.
As we’ve already reported, the 600LT Coupe is significantly lighter than the 570S that it’s based on. McLaren claims a dry weight of just 1247kg, 96kg less than the regular car, although that means having to forego both air conditioning – a 12.6kg saving – and the entertainment system (another 3.3kg).
Company insiders admit they expect relatively few buyers will go that far, but there are some significant mass reductions with the motorsport-style carbon seats (21kg), featherweight wheels (17kg), lighter suspension components (10.2kg) and the amazing-looking top exit exhaust system (12.6kg) which we’re told spits flames on a lifted throttle and should also add some of the flat-out aural character the 570S is lacking.
Beyond the standard spec, buyers will be able to specify a carbon roof, full carbon front wings and titanium wheel bolts (seriously) to save another 9kg of mass.
The re-routed exhaust was made necessary by the 600LT’s extremely aggressive aerodynamics package and the need to find room for the vast rear diffuser that sits beneath the rear bodywork. Putting hot gases out so close to the rear wing means this carries a special heat-proof coating which can resist temperatures of up to 250 Degrees C. Altogether the aero creates 100kg of downforce at 250km/h.
The added lightness, and the modest power boost to 441kW from the 570S’s 419kW, mean the 600LT has effectively jumped a segment in terms of raw performance, certainly for those prepared to put up with its deliberate lack of creature comforts.
On McLaren’s numbers it boasts a 2.9-sec 0-100km/h time and an 8.2-sec 0-200km/h time which, along with a 328km/h top speed, mean it is quicker than a Lamborghini Huracan Performante and a Ferrari 488 GTB.
Those numbers don’t tell us whether it will be quicker on track, of course, but with track-calibrated dual-valve dampers, an 8mm reduction in ride height, ultra-grippy Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres and upgraded carbon-ceramic brakes from the 720S it will certainly be fun to try and quantify the difference.
McLaren boss Mike Flewitt says he wants to be in a weight race as much as a power race, and the 600LT is pretty much a manifesto piece.
Paul Burnham admits it could have been given more power, but that would have required more cooling and therefore an increase in mass. It’s not quite as light as the 675LT was, because the basic Sports Series is slightly heavier, but it is still significantly under the weight of every significant rival.
Sales in Europe will start later this year and, although we’re told the 600LT will be coming to Australia, we’ll have to wait for final pricing plus confirmation of what production will be limited to.
At the preview we were told the car will carry a premium of around 25 percent over the regular 570S in Europe and America, and also that a Spider version will follow the Coupe.
Click any of the images above for more shots of the McLaren 600LT