2016 McLaren 675LT Review
EngineTwin-Turbo 3.8L V8
Power666 HP / 516 LB-FT
0-60 Time2.8 Seconds
Top Speed205 MPH
Curb Weight2,712 LBS
MPG16 City / 22 HWY
As Tested Price$395,271
We spent a week with a Napier Green 675LT coupe, the limited-edition, track-focused model in the Super Series line-up. It establishes a psychic connection with the McLaren F1 GTR Long Tail developed in 1996 to battle the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR and Porsche 911 GT1. This is what you should know about the 675LT: it's really, really comfortable. Almost excessively so.
At heart is the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 found in all McLaren models, but more than half of its components are new for this application. The camshaft is new, the block gets lightweight connecting rods, the fuel pump is upgraded, the twin turbos are the same size as those on the 650S' engine yet more efficient. Final output is 666 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, an increase of 25 hp and 16 lb-ft over the 650S.
Final output is 666 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 25 hp and 16 lb-ft over the 650S.
More important is the weight loss. At 2,712 pounds the 675LT is 220 pounds lighter than a 650S through major overtures like carbon fiber body panels, less sound deadening, Alcantara in the cabin instead of carpet and leather, and a polycarbonate engine cover. You need a special tool – made of carbon fiber – to remove the polycarbonate cover because the struts and latches have been omitted to save weight. Then there are minute gestures, like the windshield being one millimeter thinner (saving 6.6 pounds), the rear bulkhead glass being half a millimeter thinner (saving 1.1 pounds), and the carbon fiber being satin-finished instead of gloss-finished (saving 50 grams).
For all that precision, the 0-60 mile-per-hour time of 2.8 seconds is only one tenth under that of the 650S, and its top speed is 205 mph, compared to the 207-mph terminal velocity of the 650S.
But hole shots aren't the point – the mission here is to be the quickest thing around a track. Achieving that goal starts with the bodywork, optimized to deliver 40 percent more downforce than the 650S with help from an 80-percent larger front splitter, a 20-millimeter lower front ride height to increase airflow speed under the coupe, a larger rear diffuser, and new rear fenders, deck, and lower bodysides. Everything aft of the B-pillars is specific to this car; its "Longtail Airbrake" is 50 percent larger than on other Sport Series models.
There is nothing riveting about the 675LT at road-legal speeds on straight roads.
It is also gorgeous. I'm not into green cars, but the 675LT is stunning from nearly every angle, especially the rear three-quarter. I'm still not sold on the "shark front" nose, which strikes my eye as a peculiar combination of fussy and Finding Nemo, but you know what they say about opinions. Approached from any angle, key in hand, that minor off-key note never stopped me from being happy to slide behind the wheel.
The best word I have for how it feels to drive: boring. When you're not scaring yourself, that is. Even wedged into bucket seats that clung like a carbon fiber epidermis, trawling lumpy city streets on a track-honed suspension derived from the P1, there is nothing riveting about the 675LT at road-legal speeds on straight roads. It's the same thing we felt about the first-generation Audi R8, a visceral wallop on the outside, a slammed A5 on most commutes. It wasn't until we got the R8 into some knotted roads or up to 190 mph on the Autobahn that we felt as good driving it as we did looking at it.
The 675LT is just so... comfortable. That stiffer, lighter suspension is compliant. Tiny quarterlights at the B-pillar make for good visibility all around; the only place you can't see is out the back window when the airbrake is up. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission races up through the gears for fuel efficiency, and is nonchalant about downshifting when you boot the accelerator. The interior is stocked with navigation, climate control, media ports, lightweight four-speaker Meridien audio,views from three cameras (two outside, one in the cabin over the driver's shoulder), and cupholders (in an awkward location). It's all here. Pairing my phone over Bluetooth took one minute and it stayed hooked up the whole time I had the car. That almost never happens. Set the cruise control to 65 mph and you'll get more than 350 highway miles out of a tank. I would haul cross-country ass in a Lamborghini Aventador because it's exciting. I would take the 675LT from sea to shining sea because it's so easy and pleasant and relaxing. Then I'd whip every Aventador at the track along the way, and most other cars, too.
I would take the 675LT from sea to shining sea because it's so easy and pleasant and relaxing. Then I'd whip every Aventador at the track along the way.
There are two literal sour notes, the first one played by the squealing carbon fiber brakes, the second emerging from the titanium exhaust, a set of straight pipes blurting the least-sexy dustbuster-like drone you can buy for $350,000. The dearth of sound deadening means it fills the cabin. It's about weight loss again, with fancy mufflers and resonance chambers omitted to save 2.4 pounds.
The way to have fun in a 675LT is to take it to the track or head out to roads so twisted and gnarly that doing the posted 45-mph speed limit is a death wish. And then do the posted limit, because the 675LT is prodigiously good when the tires are heated up and on the ground. That's superficially obvious, but a circuit-sharp suspension that's 27-percent stiffer in front and 63-percent stiffer in back can't overcome the body stiffness and low-road height over middling imperfections – the coupe literally flies over sharp bumps. If Krazy Glue and duct tape had a rubber baby it would be a Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tire, however, these rollers need substantial mileage to get to proper operating temperature. Not properly warmed to that degree, the 675LT will frequently battle wheel spin.
The level of trust the 675LT inspires is almost dangerous so long as you can find the appropriate roads.
Satisfy those two conditions and the whiter your knuckles get the better the McLaren gets. Flick it into Sport mode, the steering rack is fast – exactly two turns to lock, making it quicker than the P1 – perfectly weighted, and the feedback through it clear and refined. This is the most enjoyable steering we've experienced in years. Use the carbon fiber paddles to shift for yourself, the reward is instant gearchanges and linear torque delivery. Keep the tachometer needle swinging above 3,500 rpm, turbocharged assistance comes seamlessly, the exhaust bays, rumbles, and pops appropriately, and the coupe cuts its way through corner after corner with disciplined, robust velocity. That P1 suspension geometry and 20-millimeter wider track get some of the credit. The level of trust the package inspires is almost dangerous so long as you can find the appropriate roads. Or, even better, a track.
Some call the McLaren sterile, and it's true you'll find less brio here than in its Italian competition. It's hard to chastise the polished edge of the 675LT when its performance is utterly outrageous, though, so I'll say this is a matter of taste, of whether you want your post-drive pheromones to be tinged more with dopamine or with serotonin. For me, being able to take big, brave swings in the last tenth of my personal ability excuses all of the car's otherwise mundane manners.
The 675LT exhibits the widest gap between ultimate comfort and ultimate performance of any car I've ever driven.
The 675LT exhibits the widest gap between ultimate comfort and ultimate performance of any car I've ever driven. I like more everyday thrills so I'd sacrifice some weight loss for an aftermarket exhaust, and I'd sacrifice ultimate performance for tires that didn't need so much babysitting. Then, whenever someone resurrects the Cannonball Run, I'd show up in this. In Napier Green. And the first thing I'd tell everyone there is, "Yeah, it's really great and all, but it's so comfortable."
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