The McLaren 675LT Spider has been living up in the mountains of Montana for the past year and a bit. This has had both positive and negative implications for the car. When the weather is good, and the roads are free of snow, I can think of no car I would rather be driving on a windy mountain road. On these type of days, the 675LT Spider sees plenty of road time, and I will come up with all sorts of excuses on why I need to take it out. The challenge is the other 7 1/2 months of cold fluffy white stuff that covers everything and makes driving anything a lot more challenging. During this period, the poor 675LT Spider just has to sit patiently and wait for the temperatures to warm. I hate letting cars sit so I have even looked into fitting the 675LT Spider with snow tires, but none come in the right sizes. I also don’t believe McLaren ever intended the 675LT to be driven in snow as it does not come with a “Winter” mode as per the 650S.
The good news is the roads are now clear and the mighty McLaren has gotten plenty of exercise in the past few days. We have several different routes mapped out depending on if we are looking for a longer or shorter run. All the routes wind through the mountains with rarely more than a few hundred yards of straight tarmac between the corners. Personally, these are the types of roads I enjoy the most and they help highlight the exceptional capabilities of the 675LT Spider. Right foot, fingertips, and arms are all constantly in motion as driver, car, and asphalt are all in constant engagement as the geography serves up constant challenges. Wildlife adds in an additional level of complexity and you always need to be on the watch out for everything from deer to moose to big horn sheep and just about everything else in between. We have even taken the McLaren down to Yellowstone for a picnic.
The 675LT Spider feels like it was designed just for these types of drives. It excels at the constant changes of direction, rapid acceleration, hard braking, and quick gear changes. The steering is perfectly weighted and incredibly precise. This allows you to put the car exactly where you want it. The 675LT neither under nor oversteers and the back-end stays glued to the road. On public roads I normally leave the handling in “normal” as I want the maximum amount of “nannying” as the snow leaves plenty of loose gravel on the roads when it melts but the transmission alternates between “sport” and “track” as I prefer the quicker shift times. While the large carbon-ceramic brakes are outstanding, so is the engine braking and in many cases a couple of pulls of the left-hand paddle is more than effective enough in scrubbing off speed going into the next corner. Opening the roof just increases the enjoyment of the whole experience. Six hundred and sixty-six horsepower make passing almost too easy. Threading the 675LT Spider through a line of slower moving traffic heading up the mountain has turned into a bit of a sport.
We spec’d our car with the electric, heated seats and electric steering column which I am now glad I did. It makes getting in and out of the car easier and the touring seats are more comfortable for long drives. I also had the car fitted with the normal Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires vs. the Trofeo R as it sees much more road than track use. While the Trofeo’s are great in the dry, rain is not their friend and storms can come up quickly here. The other must have option is the front nose lift for both speed bumps and potholes. I can’t think of a drive where we didn’t need to use it at least once.
The plan going forward is to keep the 675LT Spider up in Montana for the remainder of the summer and then bring it back down south for all well-earned service in the fall. It will be joined up here shortly by the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. I am very much looking forward to seeing how the two cars compare on some of my favorite roads. If the weather cooperates, we will be taking both across the Beartooth Highway (which is easily one of the top ten roads in the US) and possibly the highly challenging but stunning Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park August. All this summer road time should make up for the long winter hibernation the 675LT Spider had to endure.
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