What is it?
Last year’s running of our annual Britain’s Best Driver’s Car contest produced both the strongest field we’ve yet seen and the first time a McLaren has won it. The superb McLaren 600LT beat the Ferrari 488 Pista into second, and was the cream of a class field in which the Porsche 911 GT3 RS didn’t even make the podium.
Night following day in the supercar world means that the convertible Spider version of the 600LT has now followed that coupé, with similar levels of greatness expected from a company with a better track record than most for making stiff and uncompromised convertibles that are no longer the poor relations of their coupé donor cars.
The 600LT Spider’s basic mechanical spec is familiar from the 600LT coupé. It shares the same 592bhp version of McLaren’s familiar twin-turbo V8 engine, the lower, stiffer suspension and wider tracks, and that lovely top-mounted, flame-spitting exhaust, while many of the lightweight parts for the cabin are also recognisable. No bad thing, that.
Being a convertible based on the 570S Spider, the 600LT Spider gets a folding hard-top roof that retracts up or down in 15sec at speeds of up to 25mph. The major change over the 570S Spider is the rear deck, which – as the Longtail name suggests – is longer, all with improved aerodynamics in mind. At the rear, the 600LT Spider is 47mm longer than the 570S Spider, with the front elongated by 27mm with its own aerodynamic makeover.
The 600LT has also gone on a diet, coming in 100kg lighter than the 570S Spider at a minimum dry weight of 1297kg if you really go to town with the weight-loss options by deleting the likes of the air-con, stereo and front lift.
You probably won’t, but the point remains that unlike most convertibles, this is a very light car that does without the need for any extra (and heavy) chassis bolstering due to the out-the-box strength of McLaren’s carbonfibre chassis, and it’s been made less weighty still through the likes of lighter suspension and exhaust components, thinner glass and added carbonfibre.