Just like the 600LT coupé, the Spider is a supercar with a rare and exceptional ability to light up any journey on the road. We should, however, only consider that part of the car’s dynamic mission statement: because a 570S Spider has a comparable ability to delight and excite from A to B – and surely it’s for the LT to offer more, both here and on a circuit, just as the 675LT did.
In identifying and quantifying exactly how much more you get, you can certainly count big doses of extra lateral grip and contact patch feel from those Trofeo R tyres. Smaller but perceptible gains on body control, turn-in agility and steady state, mid-corner balance are delivered by McLaren’s suspension overhaul. But there are also really striking parallel and entirely complementary senses of unerring linearity and accuracy about the car’s handling, and well-judged dexterity about the car’s ride, that allow you to drive it so confidently – and as quickly as is permitted – on the road without ever feeling overawed by it. Those are truly rare qualities in a mid-engined supercar of this performance level – and they make the 600LT Spider a quite stellar driver’s car for regular daily use.
On the track, the car is perhaps not quite as stellar in every sense, though it wants for nothing in terms of grip, poise, pace, stamina or stopping power. As you can read above, it’s little short of astonishing when driven by the book: fast through the apex, late and strong on the brakes, quick through the gearbox, accurate in all and balanced as you feed in the power.
But, while the car’s electronics allow a little exploitable handling adjustability when you’re using ESC Dynamic mode, the Longtail’s handling becomes a little bit scrappy when you disable the aids completely and progress beyond the limit of grip; and so finishing off a set of tyres on a track day, for example, wouldn’t quite be the indulgent, flattering exercise it might be in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS or a Ferrari 488 GTB. To be fair, though, it wouldn’t be a chore either.
The 600LT Spider went nearly a second quicker around the MIRA Dunlop handling track than the Porsche 911 GT2 RS – and it didn’t need so much as an adjustment of tyre pressure to do it. The Lamborghini Huracán Performante went quicker still in 2017, and by a bigger margin than the one to the Porsche. However, on a circuit where aerodynamic downforce doesn’t do quite as much for a car as it might elsewhere, the McLaren’s straight out of the box showing was impressive.