Downforce is the name of the game these days in supercar circles, particularly if it can be achieved without a giant rear wing. So here’s a new one: the McLaren 600LT’s twin exhausts fire out upward behind the engine bay to save weight, blow on the spoiler a bit … and look deadly cool.
The new 600LT more or less replaces the 675LT in McLaren’s lineup as the top dog in its Sports class, Sport being the lowest its classes go. The Superclass now features a lone 720S, and the Ultimate series only has the Senna and the P1 in it, so the Sports class is where all the action’s at right now.
Compared to the 570S, which we found immensely enjoyable, the 600LT is 96 kg (212 lbs) lighter at 1,247kg (2,749 lbs) – provided you tick every lightweight option in the options list. It makes about 30 more horsepower at 591 ponies, or if you like you can go with metric horsepower (pfederstarke), in which case it nails 600 on the nose to make the name quite convenient.
It shares its monocoque carbon fiber chassis and basic platform with the 570S, with a quarter of the parts changed. Much of the change comes in the underhanging aeros, with its huge splitter and diffusers dominating the undersides of the car and extending its overall length by a couple of inches.
The motor is still that hard-charging, mid-mounted 3.8-liter twin turbo, but part of the weight saving is achieved by ditching the twin rear exhausts. In their place is a novel arrangement where the pipes exit right behind the engine bay, pointed more or less right at the rear wing.
I’m not here to tell anyone how to live their life, but it strikes me that supercars are really all about presence, pulling power and wow factor, with actual performance a distant second. And if that’s the case, there are few things cooler than a car with doors that open upward and exhausts that fire little flames up into the air. It’s one badass gimmick, even if the wing needs to be heat-coated in the middle to stop it melting. I can see videos of rich kids on YouTube already, screaming at their beleaguered dads for getting them the wrong McLaren without the pipes on the top.
Beyond that, handling is focused more on track than road driving. Where the 540 and 570 cars made some pretense toward everyday drivability, the 600LT is a touch more extreme, with all its inputs sharpened. Indeed, while LT stands for Long Tail, the tail on this thing really isn’t much longer at all. Instead, it’s McLaren code for track focus. We hope it’s still as friendly to drive.
Priced at UK£185,500 (~US$243,000), the 600LT will be built in limited numbers, with production beginning this October. Do yourself a favor and check out the video below, even if it’s just to see those funky exhaust-flame fox-tails shooting out the top of the car.