McLaren 675LT review

The McLaren 675LT builds on the 650S model but adds an extra thrill factor - and a lot more exclusivity. The experts at Car & Driving check it out.

Ten Second Review

Mclaren's 675LT is the ultimate model in its Super Sports Range; more power, less weight, better aerodynamics and various chassis and design tweaks combine to produce a car which closes the gap between 'supercars' and 'hypercars'. Tellingly, the entire 500-model initial production run sold out prior to the car's release.

Background

The 657LT shares the same carbon tub and Ricardo-sourced 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine as all other McLarens. Here though, this unit develops the 675bhp output the model name suggests, with the 25bhp increase over the 650S (the next McLaren model down) as well as an extra 16lb/ft of torque delivered thanks to a range of fresh mechanical components. The brand says that over half of these have been changed, in comparison to a 650S model also 100kg heavier. Some things stay the same though. The carbon 'Monocell' chassis and the hydraulic suspension set-up are both familiar from other models in the range. The idea here is to add a bit of drama and excitement to McLaren ownership and the 675LT is the culmination of everything the company has learnt over the past few years, a car that's faster, better looking and more focused.

Driving Experience

Some of McLaren's cars have been criticised for being a bit too clinical and not as much fun as other supercars, despite them being faster and more powerful. With the 675LT, that changes, the aim, being to make the car massively more involving. To achieve that, the engine has 50% new components and this model's driving modes (Normal, Sport & Track) have been recalibrated. In addition, the clever 'airbrake' system is bigger and offers more downforce, allowing for better braking and cornering. On top of all that, an uprated Electronic Stability Control system debuts on the 675LT and allows the driver some slip during cornering. It's this, perhaps more than anthing, that gives the McLaren a new attitude; it remains just as useable as previous cars - offering an excellent cabin, a tractable drivetrain, huge performance and excellent ride quality - but now more thrilling acceleration, extra downforce and, when you want to play, a system basically designed to allow you to go sideways. McLaren reckons though, that what might impress prospective owners most is this car's suspension, the aim being to make this 675LT both comfortable and race car-stiff at the flick of a switch. On the road, the 'comfort' mode is ideal for soaking up bumps and imperfections. A stiffer 'sport' mode can be used on the highway but is best left for smoother tarmac. Finally, there's a 'track' mode that firms the car up to a point that would be unviable for road driving. Ultimately, for all of this, performance figures don't differ much from those of the 650S: the 675LT manages 0-62mph in 2.9s en route to 205mph.

Design and Build

The 675LT is an evolution of the formula Mclaren designed to beat Ferrari in the supercar segment, so a massive amount of research, development and money has gone into its creation. The 'MonoCell' carbon tub chassis is both incredibly light and strong; it weighs just 75kg in the 675LT and thanks to its superb torsional strength, lends itself well to both coupe and roadster. For the time being, there's only a fixed-top model on offer. Around the car, there are some very neat features that show great attention to detail. Take the door handles: they aren't actually handles but small buttons under the crease of the dihedral doors. Press them and the door locks release. The interior, though visually a little sparse, is a masterpiece. Ergonomically, it couldn't get much better. The driving position is excellent and all controls are located well and easy-to-use. The centre console and transmission tunnel curve into each other and house the IRIS infotainment screen, gearbox controls and Active Dynamic Panel that gives you your various driving modes. The steering wheel is kept unusually free from buttons; the gear paddles (you can change up/down on either side by pushing/pulling them) are the only control here. This allows greater concentration when driving and is in stark contrast to the Ferrari, which tries to put as many controls on the steering wheel as possible.

Market and Model

The 675LT is an evolution of the 650S and both cars sit in what McLaren calls its 'Super Sport' line-up. This range started with the original MP4-12C model, which later became the 12C before the 650S took over. Every single example of the 675LT was sold before McLaren even publically released this model. Which means that your only hope of actually owning one of these £259,000 cars is if one of the 500 lucky current owners decides to sell. The 650S is still available though and though it may not be quite as focused, powerful or as desirable as the 675LT, it's really not far off. At around £195k, it's also quite a bit cheaper and though it weighs more and doesn't have quite as much power, it's hardly what you'd call slow. 0-100mph in 5.7sec and 207mph flat out make this as fast as you'd ever need on the road. The 650S is likely the better road car too, the 676LT being more optimised for track work.

Cost of Ownership

By using a turbocharged engine, this McLaren can offer better efficiency and economy than some other cars in its segment. The turbo unit apparently produces more power for each gram of carbon emitted than any other rival. Quite an achievement considering the performance on offer. The basic stats - 24.2mpg on the combined cycle and 275g/km of CO2 - are the same as they are with the lesser 650S model. That's not especially frugal or economic but it's a respectable showing for a 200mph+ supercar. Servicing intervals are surprisingly lengthy too; every 2 years or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Summary

McLaren made many changes to its 650S model to create the 675LT, each one with performance in mind. The lighter weight allows the ride and handling to be improved - and economy to remain unchanged despite an engine tuned for more performance. The various software changes have introduced a more playful side to the car, allowing the driver to have full control if desired and even allowing a little slip before the electronic nannies kick in. Adding this playful side to an already ferociously fast car with impeccable handling makes a package that's seriously hard to argue with. The acceleration puts the 675LT in amongst cars costing three or four times as much, while the weight loss, the uprated airbrake system and various chassis changes allow this car to corner harder and faster than before. That only leaves the sleeker look to set off a hugely capable and highly exciting supercar. Ferrari will be worried.