You can’t buy a 675LT, McLaren’s homage to the “longtail” racing version of its legendary F1 of the mid-1990s. The limited runs of 500 coupes and a further 500 Spiders – which are based on the company’s 650S, the only credible rival to the Ferrari 488 – sold out within days of their announcements last year, and McLaren says it will build no more.
You may, however, still get the opportunity to drive one of these rare and fabulous beasts, just as I did recently on the Spanish island of Tenerife. McLaren was launching its new 570GT to the world’s media, and thoughtfully brought along an LT Spider – resplendent in its halo colour of “Solis”, an outrageous shade of metallic yellow-green – for us to try. You can guess who got in line first.
Marginally more powerful than the 650S – its twin-turbo, 3.8-litre V8 produces 666bhp and 700Nm compared with 641 and 678 – but crucially a full 100kg lighter, the 675LT is palpably more athletic in every way. Its performance is so heart stopping, in fact, as to be genuinely discombobulating.
Zero to 100km/h and 200km/h in 2.9 and 8.1 seconds respectively sounds incredible, yet even at half throttle the Spider is insanely quick. Bodywork revisions heap so much downforce on to the LT that you’d swear its Pirella P Zero Corsas were coated with superglue, while the vast carbon-ceramic discs, which are aided by an equally gargantuan spoiler that doubles as an airbrake, eliminate speed just as brutally as the accelerator piles it on.
Even quicker than that on the P1 hypercar, the steering rack is racing-car precise and full of feel, while body control is impeccable. Indeed, the LT has the responses of a motorcycle, so bewilderingly fast on narrow mountain roads such as these that the human brain (or mine, at least) can hardly keep pace with it.
Thanks to the rigorous steps to reduce weight, the cabin is Spartan, yet with the one-piece carbon-fibre racing seats firmly gripping torso and buttocks you’d be hard pressed to find a better or more focused driving position. And though the suspension has been radically stiffened, the ride is still beautifully fluid.
Whether it’s the best vehicle McLaren Automotive has produced in its short, six-year history is a moot point. The head says that honour would go to the all-round-capable – and far cheaper – 570GT. The heart, however, says that the 675LT is everything a genuine petrolhead would ever want from a car: epically fast, sensational to look at and (though I haven’t experienced the P1) easily the most involving – and enjoyable – machine the company makes.
In fact I’d say 675LT is the most exciting car I’ve ever driven, better even than a 488. No wonder I was shaking like a jellyfish when I finally climbed out.
To read about the latest addition to the McLaren range, the 570GT, pick up the July issue of Prestige Hong Kong.