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2016 McLaren 675LT First Drive

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/22/2015 Manufacturer, Edward Loh

The top line summary of improvements in the McLaren 675LT does not seem that impressive at first—25 more horsepower and 16 more lb-ft of torque—given that the 650S upon which it is based already delivers 641 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. The claimed weight reduction and increase in downforce—220 pounds and 40 percent, respectively—start to waggle the eyebrows, as does the promise of best in class weight-to-power: 4 pounds per horsepower.

By the time McLaren's performance claims are listed, it's low whistle time: 0-62 mph in 2.8 seconds, 0-124 mph in 7.9 seconds, the quarter mile in 10.5 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph.

To get these numbers, McLaren says 33 percent of the 650S was upgraded with all new parts, including a titanium-intensive exhaust system, the lightest wheels the company has ever produced, and carbon-fiber body panels for the front bumper, fenders, and all bodywork behind the B-pillar.

2016 McLaren 675LT First Drive

Roughly 50 percent of the powertrain is new, as well: faster spooling twin-scroll turbochargers, lighter connecting rods, more aggressive camshafts and ECU tuning, and slight tweaks to the intercooler positions account for the increased power and torque

2016 Mclaren 675LT© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mclaren 675LT New water pumps, pulled from McLaren's GT3 racing program and exclusive to the 675LT road car, and new fuel help support a Sport mode added to the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Normal and Track shift programs remain the same as on the 650S; the latter mode utilizes an aggressive "inertial push" strategy that mates the flywheel and clutch plate earlier than normal for a faster, more "shocking" shift. Track mode gear changes only occur above 5,000 rpm and 60 percent throttle; below that rpm/throttle condition or when the 675LT's powertrain dial is twisted to S, the new Sport shift program is engaged.

Unlike the 650S's Sport shift program, which cuts fuel to the engine to slow it down for gear changes, the 675LT keeps fuel flowing but cuts spark. This interruption in the combustion cycle slows the engine enough for a super-quick shift—as low as 40 milliseconds, per McLaren. Part of the speed is because fuel remains circulating (no waiting for fuel pumps to replenish cylinders), so after the gear change, combustion resumes immediately when spark plugs fire. An added bonus: Unburned fuel ignites downstream in the exhaust system for a satisfying pop and the occasional burst of flame, visible at night.

At least in theory. After a handful of laps around England's iconic Silverstone racing circuit, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of 40 millisecond pop shifts or flames shooting from 675's twin tailpipes. This is because we lapped during the day, with helmets on, which muffled the roar of the 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-8. Sound and fury observations would have to wait for the street.

2016 Mclaren 675LT© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mclaren 675LT Still, the 675LT makes convincing arguments to back all of McLaren's claims. Acceleration is relentless, seamless. We didn't strap test gear to the vehicle, but saw above 150 mph down the famed Hangar straight between Becketts and Stowe corners. Braking into and acceleration out of these corners is an eye-bulging, neck-straining, chest-squashing sequence set off by the massive rear wing (50 percent larger than the 650S's) flipping near vertical as an airbrake. It's a fantastic bit of drama that, given the location, brings to mind the voice of famed British naturalist Sir David Attenborough: "See how the aggressive McLaren Longtail broadcasts its braking prowess to its vanquished rivals."

As we ramp up speeds and twist the handling and powertrain dials through Normal, Sport, and Track modes, the vehicle's limits move farther and farther ahead of our abilities. Ask for more entry speed or to tighten up the racing line, and the LT immediately delivers with no fuss. Even with traction control off, all 666 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque remain endlessly, deliciously usable, a veritable fire hose of thrust under your right foot, portioned out by satisfying blips of the paddle shifters.

Steering is quick (the quickest in McLaren's stable, even faster than P1) and consistent; McLaren does not quicken the helm or give it artificial heft between Normal, Sport, and Track modes. This is an excellent strategy as the rest of the car gets progressively quicker and the nannies looser. Regardless of your driving skill, the 675LT is a vehicle that will make you quicker on the track and leave you wanting to push even harder.

2016 Mclaren 675LT© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mclaren 675LT Helmet off, on the road, the detriments of light-weighting immediately become crystal clear. Glass that is up to a full millimeter thinner and a polycarbonate engine cover mean more wind, road, and engine noise permeates the cockpit. It's not harsh, but at speed it is ever-present, like the constant whoosh in the cabin of a cruising jet. You pick up more from the road—literally. The sticky Pirelli Trofeo R tires, measuring a massive 305mm wide in the rear, kick up the tiniest stones, which then go popping and pinging in the carbon fenders.

But all concessions made in the name of increased in performance are forgiven because while the Longtail is lighter, faster, louder, and 20mm lower, McLaren has not messed with the model line's fantastic ride. We first sampled the ProActive suspension system in Portugal five years ago, at the launch of the original MP4-12C. Back then, as now, the active hydraulic system delivered a buttery smooth ride with "one-and-done" bump mitigation. Potholes and lumpy roads do little to upset the 675LT, even with spring rates stiffened by 27 percent front and 60 percent in the rear. Big hits send the wheels up and down through the full stroke of the dampers, but the cabin remains serenely suspended and the driver unperturbed and in full control. Twisting the handling dial from Normal to Sport to Track sends a selection of clicks and whirrs through the Alcantara-lined cabin as the pumps near the footwell increase hydraulic pressure in the system to sharpen the suspension response.

2016 Mclaren 675LT© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mclaren 675LT 2016 Mclaren 675LT© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mclaren 675LT And those shift pops in Sport mode? Confirmed, gleefully, on a couple of full throttle on-ramps to the expressway. "You will find yourself driving around in traffic and shifting for no reason just for the sound and sensation," said Mark Vinnels, McLaren's executive director of product development. Also confirmed.

When the original MP4-12C made its debut, McLaren made a big fuss about the name being a result of a performance formula that only it knew. It then dropped MP4 (McLaren Project 4) as early reviews of the 12C called it too clinical, too mathematical, too emotionless. McLaren iterated relentlessly, eventually dropping the 12C for the 650S and now the 675LT.

The lasting impression of this limited edition Longtail is that it is the result of a massively capable engineering company given the task of solving for maximum performance and maximum emotion (instead of the first ahead of the other). In that it is a complete success. But formulas are meant for testing, and we'd love a real chance to put formula 675LT against Ferrari's 458 Speciale or 488GTB, or the Lamborghini Huracán. Unfortunately such comparisons look highly unlikely. The Italians refuse to partake in such contests and the 675LT production run is already complete. Volume was limited to 500 and sold out before the first one was delivered. At 179, America got the largest share of these 675LTs, but no press or marketing test vehicle. Unless you let McLaren, Ferrari, Lamborghini know how much you'd like to see this comparison in the comments below. 2016 Mclaren 675LT© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mclaren 675LT


2016 McLaren 675LT
BASE PRICE$353,600
VEHICLE LAYOUTMid-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe
ENGINE 3.8L/666-hp/516-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8
TRANSMISSION7-speed twin-clutch auto
CURB WEIGHT3,000 lb (est)
WHEELBASE105.1 in
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT179.0 x 75.2 x 46.8 in
0-60 MPH2.8 sec (mfr est)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON16/22/18 mpg
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY211/153 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB1.06 lb/mile
ON SALE IN U.S.Sold out

2016 Mclaren 675LT© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mclaren 675LT
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