48 Hours with a McLaren 600LT

Supercars & Road Trips
January 21, 2019
View on the Car Market – Q1 2019
February 7, 2019

Several days ago, we had the pleasure of spending 48 hours with a McLaren 600LT.  This was the first time I had driven one of the “Sport Series” McLarens in several years ( https://karenable.com/36-hours-with-a-mclaren-570s/and for more information on the different McLaren car series: https://cars.mclaren.com/home#) . Similar to my initial impressions of the 570S, to truly appreciate the 600LT, you have to realize is it is not a lite version of its Super Series older brother, the 675LT.  With the 600LT, McLaren has again created a completely new and different car.  This was something I struggled with for the better part of the first day together as I constantly found myself comparing the two LTs which is fair to neither.

On first impression, there is no mistaking the 600LT’s McLaren lineage.  When walking slowly around the car, strands of DNA from both the 675LT and 720S are clearly visible.  From the front and side, the 600LT appears to be slightly smaller than the 675LT but when checking the actual dimensions this turns out to be an illusion, it’s the same width and very slightly longer.  What is surprising is that the 600LT is a bit heavier than its older sibling.  The interior and controls come across as a blend of the 650S and 720S.  The steering wheel, dashboard, and key controls all have a very familiar “McLaren” look and feel to them.  The dashboard screen layout is again a mix of 650 and 720 with the new “Track” display a very nice addition.  The extended carbon fiber paddles on the 600LT are near perfect and should be standard on all McLarens.  Mrs. SSO found the controls overall to be simpler and more intuitive than the other McLarens we have in the garage.  The carbon fiber racing seats that come as standard fitment are quite snug and require a bit of dexterity to get in and out of.   

After 10 minutes on the road, you quickly realize that this is not a car you would want to live with every day.  The ride is quite firm, closer in many ways to the Porsche 911 GT3 RS than the 675LT.  While the 600LT feels glued to the pavement it tends to feedback a bit too much information on the condition, or lack thereof, of the road surface.  This combined with the racing seats pretty much rules it out as a daily driver.  Pushing it a bit, the 600LT changes directions brilliantly and confidently.  It displays the same lightness and agility that make the 675LT such a brilliant car to drive.  Gear changes are immediate with a tug on the paddle, and in track mode come with a nicely pitched “whack” from the back.  Acceleration feels completely linear without the violence of both the P1 and 675LT.  Despite being a twin turbo V8, I could not detect any turbo lag.  In “Track” mode the rear end feels a bit looser than other members of the McLaren family, but this could be just a factor of the winter road conditions this time of year. 

In our two days together, the 600LT did a couple of long highway runs on the concrete rings that envelop this part of Texas, did errands in the city, and went to both dinner and brunch.  The front nose lift made getting into and out of parking lots easy and is a must have option.  Parking is simple and the doors need less clearance to open than those on its larger siblings.  Luggage space in both the front nose, and on the shelf behind the seats is generous for a car in this class.  Certainly, enough to accommodate two on a week-long road trip. Like all McLaren’s, in traffic it was extremely well behaved.  On the highway and during a short stint in the countryside is where the 600LT really shines.  It is a car that needs and wants to be pushed hard.  The harder you can push it, the more it rewards.  It’s a car I would love to take up into the mountains of Montana ( https://karenable.com/montana-the-mclaren-675lt-spider/) for an extended test.

McLaren categorizes the 600LT as a Sports Series car.  Personally, I see it as more as a junior supercar that could more than give the latest Porsche 911 GT2 Turbo a run for its money. I don’t really see anything in either Aston Martin’s or Ferrari’s current lineup that I would consider a direct competitor.  With the 600LT McLaren again has created something unique and has re-written the supercar rule book.  

Many thanks to McLaren Dallas for the loan of the 600LT.  

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February 2019

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