We’re in pretty rarefied territory here already, as McLaren won’t sell you a car for less than £190,000 (for the moment at least). But excluding the other-wordly hypercar that is the P1, the 675 LT is the hottest big Mac money can buy – if they weren’t all sold out.
You will need £259,500 before any options, but for that you get a lot of new stuff. 33 per cent of it in fact, compared with its 650S sibling, including new bodywork on the nose and the tail, the LT designation coming from the original McLaren F1 cars turned racers.
More downforce, sharper looks, more power from an engine with lots of new bits, 100kg of weight reduction and stiffer suspension. Sounds like a recipe for success, but is it?
The technical look of the original MP4-12C seems a million miles away compared with the 675 LT, which has drama and race-car inspiration written all over it. The P1-look nose is low and the big curves of the air intakes give the impression it’s being sucked down on to the road, which isn’t far from the truth.
Wider hips and a truncated tail add to the drama, while the Plexiglass rear lid allows you to see the furious V8 engine as well as saving weight. Finished in lurid lime green, it’s now a much harder job to sell the argument that it’s less good-looking or dramatic as the key competition from Porsche and Ferrari.
It may have been honed to work especially well on the track, but happily the 675 LT is at least accommodating enough to make it driveable to the track in the first place. The dihedral doors make getting in reasonably easy, acknowledging the fact that it is very low to the ground.
Once inside, the driving position is excellent and happily does away with electric adjustment to save weight as well as air-conditioning but the latter can be re-added. Storage space in the cabin is on the slim side, but the 144-litre boot in the nose of the car is reasonably accommodating for a car capable of 205mph.
Performance & handling
If you hadn’t worked it out already, the 675 LT is an exceptionally fast car. The 0-62mph time of 2.9 seconds is impressive but still limited by traction; the 0-124mph time of 7.9 seconds puts that into context and it could probably get you locked in no time at all.
The extra power is more than just software-based, with 50 per cent of the parts being new including lightweight conrods, cams, uprated turbos and redesigned cylinder heads. There’s an even ignition cut when shifting gears that not only means faster changes but also a pleasing pop from the exhaust. The bottom line is the chances of you coming across something quicker are slim to none.
Mighty though the performance is, it’s the way the car steers and handles that really impresses. It responds even more directly than before, with a sense of solidity and connection to the whole car that inspires huge confidence.
The incredible ride quality is still there , which means on a bumpy B-road you can travel quickly more of the time simply because it’s less disturbed by imperfections. And it’s more playful, too, as it has launch control and a burnout mode. This is a McLaren on its summer holidays.
Economy & environment
It might be faster and more powerful but thanks to the smartness of the turbocharged engine and the reduced weight, McLaren claims the exact same fuel consumption and emissions figures as the 650S. 24.2mpg combined and 275g/km of CO2 is impressive for a bona fide supercar and a good 25g/km better than the key competition.
Equipment & value
In some respects you get a little less with the 675 LT, but this is often the way with lightweight specials. The all-important carbon ceramic brakes are standard and there’s a pair of lightweight carbonfibre bucket seats from the P1 in the cabin. The tweaked engine is topped off by a titanium exhaust.
You still get the Meridian audio system with navigation too but with only four speakers, while McLaren Track Telemetry is a new feature that lets you track your track progress in real time with splits, deltas and comparisons with other cars. You can even add cameras to the system for a full-on nerd fest.
If you’re thinking about having a crash then you can do much worse than choosing a car made from immensely strong carbonfibre like this. New to the 675 LT is an ESP system that is now separate from the handling mode setting, so you can tweak the suspension as you wish and keep the ESP fully on, off, or in its intermediate setting to give you more room to play. Add to that tyres with increased grip and those phenomenal brakes and you’re in a very safe place.
This may be a car for the lucky few – just 500 lucky souls in fact – but that doesn’t dilute its brilliance in any way. Even though it offers shattering performance you are never left in any doubt that it’s on your side and it’s more fun to drive than any previous McLaren whilst being faster than anything this side of a P1. It’s stunning to look at, incredible to drive and inevitably rare, which pretty much ticks every page in the supercar book.
The obvious competition comes in the shape of Porsche’s box-fresh GT3 RS, which costs significantly less but can’t quite stay on terms in performance terms. From Italy there is the 458 Speciale, which as an ownership prospect is more potentially more tempting than the McLaren but is a bit harder to live with.