2016 McLaren 675LT First Look
Upping The Ante: When Everyday Supercar Performance Just Won't Do
McLaren isn't good at naming cars. Remember the MP4-12C? You know what the C stood for? Car. That became the 12C before being replaced by the 650S. The S stands for Sport, even though the 650S is part of the Super Series. That's problematic because at the New York auto show McLaren announced its new Porsche 911 Turbo-competing Sport Series of cars. All of this leads us to the new 675LT, which is also part of the Super Series. Oh my. The LT stands for Long Tail, even though the tail isn't any longer. The new car is 1.3 inches longer, but that's mostly due to the revised front splitter. Does any of this matter? Not really, but I just wanted to illustrate that the house Bruce and Ron built isn't so good at the whole naming thing.
But the rear wing is wider! I know this because McLaren hauled me out to the headquarters in Woking, England, to be "the first non-employee to lay eyes on the 675LT." These eyes immediately focused on that massive rear wing. That moveable structure is 50 percent bigger than the similar piece on the 650S, so it will provide even more active aerodynamics, as well as enhanced stopping power when it flips up into an airbrake. The entire rear assembly of the car is new and made of carbon fiber. The only body panels shared with the 650S are the hood, front fenders, doors, A-pillars, and roof. You'll notice that the creased carbon-fiber side intakes flare out farther, making the 675LT appear wider and more exotic.The front center body-color section features an undercut, slightly shark-nosed look. The splitter has an 80 percent larger "effective area" than the one found on the 650S. The front-end ground effects are particularly wild, with upright Formula 1-style barge boards moving air over full-length side sills and into a new secondary radiator cooling vent. All the new kit is said to provide 40 percent more downforce than the 650S.
The 675LT needs more cooling air because McLaren didn't increase the size of the side-mounted radiators. Instead, it angled each out 5 degrees farther. Why not just increase cooling capacity? That adds weight, and weight is the enemy. There's a rather long litany of weight-reducing measures employed by the 675LT (the new carbon-fiber panels, the lightest wheels McLaren has ever fit to a road car, no carpet on the cabin floor, etc.). The combined trimmings add up to a 220-pound weight savings over the 650S. If that number holds water, the 675LT would weigh 3,019 pounds. Talk about Superleggera.
Making a car lighter is one way to make it faster. Aside from new software, the camshafts, connecting rods, turbochargers, and crossover titanium exhaust pipes are all-new. Granted, the power jump is not that dramatic -- 666 horsepower, up from 641, and 516 lb-ft of torque, up from 500 -- but combined with the lowered weight, the half-new V-8 should make for some pretty intense performance figures. First gear limits torque output to 443 lb-ft to prevent wheelspin, though the full monty is available from second through seventh. We rocketed the 650S Spider to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds flat and through the quarter mile in 10.7 seconds, at 134 mph, so straight-line speed isn't really an issue. That said, McLaren is claiming 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds and 0-124 mph in a blazing, hard-to-believe 7.9 seconds. Top speed is 205 mph.
Did McLaren revise the 675LT's handling? You know it. The front end sits 20mm lower, but rear ride height is unchanged. This (obviously) leads to a raked stance that McLaren claims evacuates spent air from under the car faster and that somehow equals more downforce. The 675LT's track is 20mm wider for both axles. The suspension geometry is all-new, as are the uprights and control arms. The front springs are 27 percent stiffer than the 650S', and the rear springs are a spine-compressing 60 percent more stiff. Thankfully, the hydraulic dampers haven't been changed. The steering rack is the quickest one McLaren's ever bolted to a street car (yes, faster than the P1's), and the Dynamic ESC (stability control) allows for greater slip angles. "So it's like a drift mode?" I asked to a room full of nattily dressed raised eyebrows. Also, the ESP is now much easier to fully switch off. Drift mode, indeed.
Should you think of the 675LT as McLaren's 458 Speciale? Yes and no. McLaren feels the car is much more track-focused than the fancy prancing horsey, and as such it's hardtop only. The 675LT is also more exclusive (only 500 to be made, period) and expensive (should start at $350,000 in the U.S. this July). But you should get used to the LT nomenclature as a way to differentiate crazy high-performance variants from the "standard" road cars. Fine by us. Who cares what they call it, as long as they call it.
|2016 McLaren 675LT|
|BASE PRICE||$350,000 (est)|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Mid-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||3.8L/666-hp/516-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,050 lb (mfr)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||179.0 x 75.2 x 46.8 in|
|0-60 MPH||2.8 sec (mfr est)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||16/22/18 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION,CITY/HWY||211/153 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.06 lb/mile|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||July|