McLaren may claim that there’s still plenty that separates the mechanical specification of this car’s suspension from that of a 570S GT4 racer, but you simply won’t believe there could be, having driven it.
The particular settings that were dialled into the manually adjustable coil-overs of our test car made it the stiffest-feeling McLaren road car we’ve tested so far. It’s stiffer even than a Senna, most testers agreed, and a car of very present and occasionally imposing purpose even when simply driven from A to B.
On the road, the 620R is super-taut and level. It doesn’t seem to roll through corners in any way whatsoever and shifts very little of its weight longitudinally under heavy braking or acceleration. As such, this could be a hard chassis to read and get on terms with at road speeds were it not for a steering rack that hits particularly rare heights even by McLaren’s high standards.
The 620R’s steering could so easily have felt aggressive and hyperactive over uneven roads – but no. Instead it remains sensibly, intuitively paced.
It telegraphs grip level and contact patch feel more clearly than almost any new car with numberplates there is, save perhaps an Ariel Atom or Lotus Exige. And while it does react a little bit more to bump and camber than McLaren steering systems generally tend to do, it isn’t the kind of tiller you need to hold straight with both hands as if it belonged to a Dallara Stradale or a street-legal Radical. You can relax at the wheel of this car on the road and simply enjoy what’s going on around you – and that would make a big difference to how often you’d be inclined to drive it.
Such stiffly tuned race-bred cars sometimes lack inherent handling balance at normal road speeds, but the 620R doesn’t. Its handling agility fluctuates a little depending on tyre temperature – like so much else about it – but the car is both enormously grippy and really directionally precise when the Trofeo Rs are up to temperature. And in fact, the process of switching those tyres on and then keeping them warm ends up being just another engaging facet of a vividly involving driving experience.
Despite having a chilly and in places damp handling circuit on which to run, the 620R matched the lap time set last year by the 600LT in drier conditions. We can only guess at how much quicker it might have gone on another day, but the answer is likely to be at least half a second.