The McLaren 600LT Spider 2019 is a ruthless, roofless wonder



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Mercedes-Benz has AMG, BMW has M and Cadillac has V-Series. McLaren of all the companies surely transcended this need of even more sporting and exclusive versions of already very sporting and exclusive cars? Obviously no, because its models treated Longtail exist, the most recent being the McLaren 600LT Spider 2019.

And like the rest of the McLaren cars, this one also makes you feel like a driving hero.

(Full disclosure: McLaren wanted me to drive the 600LT Spider to the point that she drove me to Arizona, lodged me in a great hotel, fed me a lot and rented Arizona Motorsports Park for a whole day to use us.)

The 600LT Spider was clearly designed for the track. Take a look at its imposing rear diffuser when in doubt. And damn, it follows wonderfully while tickling your ego, to the point that you are ready to forgive the other discomforts that are part of the deal.

What is it?

The 600LT Spider is the newest McLaren to be sold in the long tail. These McLaren models essentially see an increase in power, a decrease in weight and additional exclusivity. For more money, of course.

The 600LT Spider is the convertible version of its 600LT Coupe, easily identifiable by its beautiful, high-exhaust exhaust pipes (!) And its slightly elongated 2.9-inch profile above the 570S. And since the monocoque carbon fiber chassis that underlies both models, called MonoCell II, lacked roof beams, McLaren did not sacrifice stiffness when it pulled the top of the coupe.

Photo: McLaren

There are however some weight gains compared to the coupe: with a full of gas in both, the convertible weighs 105 pounds more. This is partly the result of the three-piece folding hardtop roof and the mechanisms needed to raise and lower it electronically.

But the most dramatic weight gain is that of the 570S Spider. He cuts nearly 200 pounds of the regular car with elements such as carbon fiber racing seats, short exhausts with maximum output, lighter suspension tips, a thinner windshield, lack of glove box or door pockets and the elimination of air conditioner.

At the back of the car, you'll find a fixed wing and probably one of the biggest rear diffusers I've seen on a car that "normal" people can buy.

Features that matter

From the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8, we get 600 metric horses (hence the name of the car) and 457 lb-ft of torque. McLaren also announces a braking power of 592 horses, because the British are fond of this specification. From zero to 60 mph occurs in just 2.8 seconds. With the roof in place, the maximum speed of the 600LT Spider is 201 mph; with the roof lowered, it reaches 196 mph. And that will make a quarter mile sprint in 10.5 seconds.

McLaren says the spider weighs 3099 lbs ready to go, with a full of gasoline. I guess that's what a An all carbon fiber chassis will seduce you.

What is big

The car is fast. Do I even need to tell you that? You hit the throttle, you breathe deeply and you are already in the three digits. It is easy and much too easy.

But what is particularly great is the maneuverability. The 600LT Spider uses a hydraulically assisted steering system, which increases wheel spin at low speeds and provides better feedback when you're going fast. In a world invaded by insensitive and numb electronic assistance systems, weight is welcome. It guides the nose of the Spider to the point of rotation, beautifully transmitting the information of the front wheels into your hands.

McLaren has also done a great job in avoiding loud noise from wind and noise outside the cabin. While navigating the highway with the roof down and the windows rolled, I had no problem to continue the conversation to a normal conversation volume. My hair has experienced some chaos even though it was to be expected.

Of course, with the top exit exhausts, you're sitting closer to where the noise is coming out, which McLaren has done perfectly for you. In Sport mode, there is a so-called ignition cut-off, in which the system cuts the spark during a shift, producing a sensational effect. rift! when you need to change gears. (According to McLaren, this also increases the speed of shifting.)

So, because I'm a child and I had just received a new toy, I wanted to play with it.

On the ramp? Second gear, third gear, fourth gear. Rift! Rift! Rift!

By passing a semi? Seventh gear, sixth, fifth, fourth, third. Rift! Rift! Rift! Rift! Rift!

In Track mode, the changes are obviously faster, but the drama is missing. At least they are not so noisy. In Track, the 600LT uses what McLaren calls "Inertia Push", which "exploits the accumulated kinetic energy to deliver a torque pulse when the next gear is engaged," and is supposed to make the load extremely fluid.

In all that is close to socially acceptable driving in the street, you will not need more. I'll make the changes slower but more theatrical, thanks.

Track Hero

Once you arrive on a homologated track, the sensation of the 600LT Spider is almost unbeatable. He is heroically well balanced and gives you the utmost confidence to push him more and more with every turn you take. It is both light on its feet and able to sneak into corners with the force of a ram and escape without fear. It's so good to get by – simplify things quickly – that you can not help but trust him.

I've certainly trusted the car more than myself. I started cautiously because I had never driven the 600LT Spider before and it did not belong to me. And we were on a track that I did not know at all. Fortunately, the MPA is a sprawling affair of 2.23 miles with many open safety zones. There are four straight lines and 16 corners to memorize.

The McLaren did not brake the engine as much as I thought when I went to scramble to get into the bends. But it's not like I really needed it, because the brakes were more than enough to handle everything I did to the car. The added aerodynamics added on the body worked wonderfully with the stopping power of these aluminum calipers and carbon ceramic discs.

The characteristics of the monocoque chassis seem to be the most understeer. Because it is a single piece, nothing felt like flexing, rolling or deforming in any way under changing lateral forces. I am sure that, besides the clever stability aid devices embedded in the car, I worked hard so that I did not get too involved, but I did not feel so scared that I would be too shy to limit it. limits. .

I never felt that I was going to lose adhesion. The brakes have never faded, even after continuous use. The changes came faster than consistent thoughts. I soon realized that everything about the spider was so good that I did not need to think about them. The car removed all the distractions so that I, the driver, could concentrate on my trajectory – the only thing the car could not control.

I'm far, far from being a professional driver, but behind the wheel wrapped in the Alcantara 600LT Spider that day, it was easy to pretend. If only for an afternoon.

weaknesses

On a race track with a full-face helmet and a friendly British instructor offering you some encouraging tips with a crackling microphone, it's easy to proclaim the 600LT Spider the best car in the world. Because for the use of the track, it certainly seems close.

But take off the headphones and place the Spider in the real world, things start to shake a little.

Photo: McLaren

I understand that weight gains are the focus of the LT game here, but with that weight, all the comfort has been achieved. The carbon fiber molded seats, shining to keep me in place on the track, are incredibly uncomfortable for long drives when my attention is not just about speed.

I do not think that being five feet and three inches should prevent me from seeing cars, but that almost happened here. The seat reassembled as far as possible, I had always struggled to completely reach the pedals. And with the back leaning against the backrest, I was barely able to see over the dashboard. The driver's seat is on rails, but it's not possible to raise or lower it, which I tested and confirmed by a McLaren representative. Regarding the looks on the shoulder? Forget that. The nice people on the track, however, provided a cushion to sit on during my laps.

It seems that only some people will be able to sit in the 600LT Spider and drive it properly. Everyone is too small or so tall that he is constantly hit by the wind.

Will these lucky Goldilocks drivers be comfortable while they drive it? Hard to say.

First verdict

McLaren did not specify the exact number of 600LT Spider examples under construction, but they started at $ 256,500. That's at least $ 60,000 more than the 570S Spider for a less powerful car with slightly more power. The 570 is already pretty good, so removing it makes almost no sense to me.

If you live near a race track and intend to regularly beat your 600LT Spider, I would ask you to do so. This is what the car was designed to do. But if you want it simply because it is expensive and exclusive and you will only use it to go to your dentist's appointments, I suggest you look elsewhere. You're just going to waste it.


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