Car Reviews

2019 McLaren 600LT Review

Toby Hagon’s 2019 McLaren 600LT Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.

In a nutshell: Lighter weight, more powerful version of the most affordable McLaren with an emphasis on track driving. Translation: brutally fast, wonderfully capable and occasionally compromised.

2019 McLaren 600LT Specifications

Price $455,000+ORC Warranty 3 years, unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months, 10,000km Safety Not rated Engine 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 Power 441kW at 7500rpm Torque 620Nm at 5500-6500rpm Transmission 7-speed twin-clutch auto Drive Rear-wheel drive Dimensions 4604mm (L), 1930mm (W), 1194mm (H), 2670mm (WB) Kerb Weight 1356kg Towing NA Boot Space 150L Spare No Fuel Tank 72L Thirst 11.7L/100km

LT is more than just letters in McLaren lingo. The duo of letters denotes Longtail, the track-focused special editions of existing models.

2019 McLaren 600LT Review

The 600LT is the fourth (and newest) Longtail in the McLaren family, bringing an extremely focused high-performance take to the Sports Series lineup. With one eye on the track, the 600LT is the latest low volume McLaren to push the performance boundaries.

What’s in the range and how much does it cost?

The $455,000 600LT is an evolution of the Sports Series, the most affordable of McLaren’s three lineups (Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series).

It uses the same basic body as the 540C, 570S and 570 GT but with a longer tail focused on aerodynamics (there’s an extra 47mm to its tail). Rather than plump it full of more gear, the 600LT actually gets less in the way of showroom glitz and glamour than the more affordable brethren in its family. That’s because it’s focused on reducing weight (more on that later).

2019 McLaren 600LT Review

The air-conditioning and sound system are optional, for example, although fortunately each costs nothing to add back into the car (other than the weight penalty, which slows things down); you’d be crazy not to tick that box!

So, there’s a 7.0-inch touchscreen for those who dare add the kilos and it incorporates a sound system and satellite-navigation, two of the biggest ticket items on a skinny list of standard kit.

Of course, the big focus for the 600LT is on going fast and having fun doing it, so there are plenty of extras to achieve that goal. They include a unique body that is longer than the regular Sports Series cars, a rear wing, top-mounted exhausts, lightweight wheels and grippy (in the dry, at least) Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres.

2019 McLaren 600LT Review

The basics are also go-fast class, including a carbon fibre body, aluminium suspension components, adjustable dampers and a seven-speed twin-clutch paddle shift auto mated to a twin-turbo V8 engine.

Still, if you want to spend more that’s easily done, too.

Our car had (gulp) $110K worth of options, including a bunch of stuff you might expect standard: parking sensors front and rear, reversing camera, floor mats and the lift kit to raise the nose over speed humps and low driveways.

Plus, if you want to be looking at more exposed carbon fibre rather than have it painted then that’s also on the list of options.

What’s the interior and practicality like?

It’s low, tight and cramped. Even getting in takes some shaking and shimmying, such are the broad, high sills (made of carbon fibre) and doors that lift up in a scissor fashion.

2019 McLaren 600LT Review

But, once you’re there, head room is respectable and the seats snug. Ours had the optional carbon fibre seats also used in the McLaren Senna hypercar; they’re best left to smaller derrieres such is their deep, narrow bucket construction.

You don’t have to look far to see where weight has been saved. The dashboard is covered in Alcantara, which gives it a unique look, one interspersed with circular air vents around the organic flow of the dash itself.

Combined with no carpet on much of the floor it saves 5.6kg. There’s no glovebox or door pockets, the lack of storage saving a single kilogram of mass. Small nets on the doors hide a surprisingly useful space, one where phones or wallets could easily hide. There’s also a small covered centre console with USB plugs inside.

Soft bags could sit on the shelf behind the seats or you could use the compact 150-litre boot under the nose.

What are the controls and infotainment like?

Like the lightweight thinking, there’s a minimalist flavour to the 600LT, although there are flashes of tech.

The instrument cluster is fully digital, for example, and toggles between three layouts depending on which of the three driver modes (Normal, Sport and Track) you’ve selected. It also displays the reversing camera when backing up, in part because the central screen is optional.

2019 McLaren 600LT Review

Other than that, it’s all basic stuff, contained in the (no-cost option) 7.0-inch central touchscreen.

Press the McLaren logo and it takes you to the home page, which then lets you jump between audio, navigation or phone functions. Plus, you can access settings.

One negative is that the screen also controls the (no-cost option) air-conditioning, so you have to select the menu to then access the virtual buttons for things such as the fan speed and temperature. Another negative is that the central screen doesn’t like polarised sunglasses; you’ll either have to take them off or tilt your head to actually see the screen.

If you’ve gone for the McLaren Track Telemetry with its three cameras you can also record your laps for downloading later via one of the USB ports. One thing McLaren does beautifully is its switchgear and controls.

Whereas some supercar brands (including Lamborghini and Aston Martin) borrow elements off mainstream brands (Audi and Mercedes-Benz respectively) everything in a McLaren is unique to the brand.

The slender metal indicator stalks, for example, are pure McLaren, as are all the infotainment controls.

What’s the performance like?

Performance is what the 600LT is all about – and it doesn’t disappoint. It uses the familiar 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8, tuned to produced 441kW and 620Nm. In a car that weighs just 1356kg that is more than enough.

Below 2000rpm there’s not much on offer, but the equation quickly changes once you pass that mark, the turbos huffing hard to increase the pace. There’s immense pull once you’re at 4000rpm and it only gets better beyond that, surging frenetically towards 8000rpm.

2019 McLaren 600LT Review

So quick is the acceleration in first gear that the shift lights as part of the Track instrument display come in handy. They flash green then red then blue, following the sequence used in modern Formula 1 cars.

By the time the blue lights are on it’s time to pull the right-hand gear shift paddle to change up a gear, at which point there’s a seriously quick upshift, the seven-speed twin-clutch auto making the most of what’s on offer from the engine.

There’s also a purposefulness to the way the engine goes about its business, some of it as a result of the intense focus on race track performance over comfort. Stiffer engine and transmission mounts, for example, mean better responses when accelerating, but there’s more vibration coursing through the car.

The top-mounted exhausts also transfer more noise into the cabin, which – given the performance focus of the car – is a good thing. The sound is purposeful and hoarty rather than the classic (often refined) V8 sound.

And, once the engine is hot and you’re pushing on you can even get flames (both orange and blue) pulsing out of the exhaust pipes; it’s quite the attention grabber.

What’s it like on the road?

Like the rest of the car, the focus on how the 600LT drives is very much on going fast on smooth roads. Its talents come from lighter suspension that’s been lowered 8mm compared with the (already low) Sports Series models, such as the 570S.

That suspension has also been stiffened, to the point where even in its softest (Normal) setting there’s a firmness that picks up every road join, every bump and every catseye between lanes.

2019 McLaren 600LT Review

Speed humps are best tackled on an angle at walking pace or lower, such is the super low carbon fibre snout; there’s a lift mode that raises the nose to reduce the chances of snagging some very expensive material, although even when raised there’s not much clearance.

That nose is all about aerodynamics, as is the larger wing and tail that has been extended 47mm. It’s all fairly useless at regular road speeds – the wing also reduces the already average rear vision further – but becomes more useful once you’re pushing on.

When we say pushing on, we mean really pushing on at the sort of speeds you’re unlikely to experience on the road. Indeed, it’s a track where the 600LT clearly would be more at home, its suspension keeping the car flat and poised.

2019 McLaren 600LT Review

But even on the road there are handling benefits, mostly from the extra grip from the track-focused tyres. They are Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tyres designed to maximise grip in the dry and cop a punishment when driven hard. Up front they’re 19 inches in diameter and 225mm wide and at the rear they’re 20-inch units measuring 285mm across.

Does it have a spare?

Nope, forget it. If you get a puncture it’d be best to call a tow truck.

Can you tow with it?

Err, no. If anything, it’s the sort of car that would prefer to be towed – to a race track so it can be properly unleashed.

What about ownership?

Services are due every 12 months or 10,000km and, assuming you’re enjoying the performance on offer you wouldn’t want to go skipping any check-ups.

As with most luxury brands, the warranty falls short of mainstream cars, limited to three years (there is no kilometre limit, although that’s largely irrelevant given most people won’t use their 600LT every day).

What safety features does it have?

The McLaren gets front and side airbags, but that’s about the extent of its safety gear. Active safety is limited to anti-lock brakes and stability control, the latter well suited to containing all the grunt if you get too eager. The latest active safety features simply aren’t available.

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the controls and infotainment?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety?
Practical Motoring Says It’s a brutally fast and capable machine, but the 600LT is compromised for road driving. As such, it’s not the sort of car you could live with every day. Really, you need a race track because this is a supremely fun toy that needs to be unleashed to be properly enjoyed.

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Toby Hagon

Toby Hagon

From Porsches to LandCruisers, Toby Hagon loves all things cars and has been writing about them for more than 20 years. He loves the passion and people that help create one of the world's most innovative and interesting industries. As well as road testing and chasing news he more recently co-authored a book on Holden. These days he crosses the world covering the industry but still loves taking off on the Big Trip in Australia.