by Roger Biermann
McLaren’s resurgence began with the MP4-12C – the first model in the Super Series line of vehicles, and the one that would eventually evolve into this, the McLaren 675LT Spider. It features McLaren’s MonoCell carbon fiber chassis, a twin turbo V8 with 675 metric horsepower, and LT stands for Longtail – reviving the legendary name that graced McLaren F1 GTR that finished 1st in the 1995 24 hours of Le Mans on McLaren’s first attempt. The 2nd generation Super Series, the 720S, may be upon us, but until such time as there’s a track hardened version of that, this is McLaren’s most focused model still in production.
McLaren’s MonoCell carbon fiber chassis is notorious for making ingress and egress difficult – necessitating a climb over a wide side sill and a drop into a low mounted seat. Once you’re done practicing your contortionism, the low driving position is perfect and forward visibility is impressive. Rear visibility isn’t, but no one in this class can better what the McLaren offers. What is immediately apparent is how small the 675LT is – the cabin houses two occupants in a snug manner, not offering the spaciousness you’d find in a Porsche 911. But the retractable hard-top roof has dual-functionality – either drop it entirely, or just the rear glass, in which case the glorious V8 noise siphons in from behind you.
In this track-focused 675LT, the interior is pared back a little with a more minimalist focus. But you still get a central touch screen controlling most functionality, but the system feels dated against rivals like Ferrari’s 488 and Lamborghini’s Huracan.
Thanks to MonoCell, removing the roof in no way compromises the 675LT Spider’s rigidity – no other rival offers this. The LT, being the most hardcore model derived from the 12C, features stiffer suspension and upgraded damping. Though the ride may be firm, the damping is one of the most compliant around – the diagonally linked hydraulic and electric systems providing supreme control of body movements across any surface, and ensuring that the 675LT remains undisturbed by mid-corner bumps.
However competence is nothing without feel – something the 12C was criticized for heavily. In its evolution to the 675LT, it’s developed soul. The chassis constantly talks to the driver, through the seats, through the steering, through everything. Responses are so eager and feedback so deft, the 675LT feels like an extension of the driver – a high tech prosthesis – more than a mere machine being piloted.
Like all things McLaren, at its heart is a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine. The basic architecture remains the same on just about all McLaren’s, but gets tweaked, tuned, and augmented in the 675LT to deliver devilish figures of 666hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The rear wheels are solely responsible for delivering power, through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. 0-62mph is dispatched in 2.9 seconds, with 0-124mph taking 8.1s. Top speed is north of 200mph. Though the engine feels immensely powerful, it lacks a characterful note associated with the likes of the Ferrari 488 GTB.
Staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch rear alloy wheels wear Pirelli P Zero tires, whilst carbon ceramic brakes, LED headlights, and an active air brake are all standard. Cruise control, dual-zone climate control, leather and suede upholstery, and navigation are standard fit too, and a nose lift function is available on request, along with powered seats with heating, and a 10-speaker audio system. Like all supercars, the 675LT Spider hasn’t been crash tested, but features ABS brakes with EBD, and traction and stability control. MonoCell is also engineered for extreme safety in the event of a rollover.
Limited to just 500 units, every 675LT Spider is already sold. That doesn’t mean we can’t still lust after its exceptional chassis, intoxicating speed, and handling that rivals that of the P1 hypercar. The 720S may have arrived, but the 675LT is unforgettably good.