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It’s difficult to think of a car manufacturer that has enjoyed as great a resurgence in recent years as McLaren. In the space of less than a decade, the Woking firm has shouldered its way through the crowd to become a supercar front-runner alongside the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Whether the dizzying heights of the F1 have been matched is a moot point, but what isn’t is that increased accessibility has led to sales rises every year since the release of the MP4-12C in 2011.
Some of the more high-end offerings will no doubt go straight from the showroom to investment-grade cryo-bubbles and rarely see the road – but there are other, more usable and achievable machines.
Leading the pack is the 600LT, the ‘entry level’ Sports Series range-topper that apes the long-tail F1 of 1997 (hence the LT). Unlike its more expensive stablemates, the 600LT does without movable aerodynamics and cross-linked dampers, sacrificing downforce for precise handling and speed – a happy trade-off.
Powered by a 3799cc V8 producing 592bhp and 457lb ft of torque, the 600LT is capable of a top speed of 204mph and covers the 0-62mph dash in just 2.9 secs.
Impressive as those figures are, however, the McLaren’s real strength comes to the fore not during runway speed trials but on twisting country lanes, where the beautifully balanced chassis and perfectly weighted steering bring it to life.
The seven-speed double-clutch ’box is lightning fast, the (optional) carbon-ceramic brakes sharp with good feel once warm, and the throttle response astounding – particularly in the upper limits of the rev range, when turbo lag becomes less noticeable.
The interior is a wonderful place to be. While clearly track-orientated, it still manages to be comfortable, spacious and well finished, with lashings of Alcantara and a high-quality feel throughout.
The lightweight, figure-hugging seats come from the Senna and are one-piece carbonfibre with foam inserts tailored to suit your frame. That may sound like a cross between a straitjacket and a prison bed, but they’re actually remarkably comfy and keep you secure in high-speed corners.
The view is also impressive for a supercar – you can even see out the back. So much so that it isn’t beyond the realms of reason to run a 600LT as an everyday driver.
From an enviable (if slightly confusing) roster of hypercars, you won’t go too far wrong with any of the ‘new’ McLarens.
The P1 and Speedtail were always destined to be collectibles, but the 600LT has the talent to follow suit. It costs the same as a high-spec Honda NSX, yet limiting production to just 12 months should ensure exclusivity.
Add in spine-tingling performance and design that pays a respectful nod to the F1, and you have the makings of a true classic.
Images: John Bradshaw
Engine twin-turbo, 32v 3799cc V8; 592bhp @ 7500rpm; 457lb ft @ 5500-6500rpm
Transmission paddle-shift seven-speed dual-clutch manual, RWD
0-62mph 2.9 secs
Top speed 204mph