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McLaren drops stunning new 600LT Spider

2019-01-17 08:40
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Image: Newspress

McLaren released the first images and details of the third new model in its £1.2-billion Track25 business plan - the 600LT Spider.

It's the fifth car to carry the Longtail name, the new convertible fully embodies the Longtail philosophy of increased power, reduced weight, optimised aerodynamics, track-focused dynamics and limited availability.

In addition, it brings a new dimension of excitement over the 600LT Coupé, without compromise to the dynamic purity of the most performance-focused car in the Sports Series line-up: a retractable hardtop to give the choice of open-air driving.

Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive said: "The 600LT Spider adds a new dimension of excitement to the most extreme model in the Sports Series family, while losing none of the Longtail focus. Taking full advantage of the strength of the carbon fibre MonoCell II chassis has ensured that the new Spider has dynamic abilities and performance on par with the 600LT Coupé, for a weight premium of just 50kg and with no additional structural strengthening required." 

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Image: Newspress

Like its 600LT Coupé sibling, the Spider records a significant weight saving over the model on which it is based, with McLaren’s engineers achieving a reduction of 100kg at DIN weight over the 570S Spider.

Furthermore, thanks to its lightweight but incredibly strong carbon fibre MonoCell II chassis, the convertible 600LT retains the structural rigidity of the Coupé with none of the strengthening that is usually required with conventional steel or aluminium structures.

The result is a weight penalty of only 50kg over the Coupé, which contributes to a lightest dry weight of just 1297kg for the Spider. This is at least 80kg less than any direct competitor and the equivalent power-to-weight ratio of 340kW-per-tonne underpins astonishing levels of performance and dynamic prowess.

Enhancing the Sports Series Longtail experience with open-air motoring is as easy as pushing a button to lower or raise the three-piece, powered retractable hardtop roof at speeds of up to 40km/h. With the roof lowered, occupants benefit not only from wind in their hair, but also the memorable aural and visual drama provided by the top-exit exhausts that are unique to the 600LT. 

An electrically-operated, glazed wind deflector can be activated independently of the hardtop, to reduce buffeting or increase ventilation – or simply to allow more of the exhaust sound into the cabin.

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Image: Newspress

Incorporating technology proven in the 650S, 675LT and 570S Spiders, the hardtop roof is more secure and wear-resistant than a fabric alternative would be, as well as offering Coupé-like cabin refinement when in the raised position.

Equally importantly, it allowed McLaren’s design team to maintain the focused design language and silhouette of the 600LT Coupé. When lowered, the roof stows elegantly with the assistance of soft-close technology beneath a tonneau cover located behind the seats; with the roof raised, this tonneau storage area provides an additional 52 litres of luggage space.

The 600LT Spider benefits from the same portfolio of performance enhancements that has proved irresistible to 600LT Coupé buyers. The electronic control systems of the twin-turbocharged, 3.8-litre V8 engine have been revised, the cooling system uprated and the shorter exhausts tuned to liberate more power. The engine produces the same 441kW and 620Nm in the Spider as it does in the Coupé.

The uprated powertrain enables the driver to exploit the 600LT Spider’s carbon fibre monocoque chassis to the full, aided by a dual-clutch, Seamless Shift seven-speed Gearbox (SSG) that features Ignition Cut in Sport mode to facilitate faster changes whilst delivering a dramatic aural crack from the top-exit exhausts, plus Inertia Push in Track mode to optimise acceleration. The 600LT Spider will reach 100km/h from a standstill in 2.9 seconds, with 200km/h achieved in just 8.4 seconds – a near-indistinguishable 0.2 seconds slower than the Coupé. The maximum speed is 324km/h with the roof raised, or 315km/h with it lowered.

Performance is further enhanced by the lightweight carbon fibre bodywork that creates the Longtail silhouette and the same design of fixed rear wing as the Coupé which – despite the aerodynamic challenges posed by a convertible body – generates the same 100kg of downforce at 250km/h. 

Ultra-precise, track-focused handling is supported by a forged aluminium double-wishbone suspension system with recalibrated dampers, firmer engine mounts and a lightweight braking system. The 600LT Spider is fitted with bespoke, track-focused Pirelli P- Zero Trofeo R tyres and the driving experience is further enhanced with quicker steering and sharpened responses from throttle and brake pedals.

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Image: Newspress

Lowering the roof of the 600LT Spider showcases the performance-orientated interior, which features lightweight Alcantara trim and Carbon Fibre Racing Seats from the McLaren P1 as standard. The Super-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Racing Seats designed for the McLaren Senna are available as an option, either on their own or within the MSO Clubsport Pack. Further weight-saving options and measures – including deletion of the audio and climate control systems – are available to buyers determined to shave off every kilogramme possible.

Like the Coupé, availability of the 600LT Spider will be limited, with build slots scheduled around other Sports and Super Series models. 

Each car will be hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey, England.

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