2019 McLaren 600LT Spider First Drive: Top Gun
The McLaren 600LT Spider is fast. I'm flying down the back straight at Arizona Motorsports Park, well past 100 miles per hour, preparing to brake for a tricky double-apex right-hand turn, when I'm passed. Not by a car, mind you, but by a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet from the adjacent Luke Air Force Base.
That $90-million fighter humbles McLaren's latest long-tail convertible. Among vehicles that can't do Mach 1.6 or carry laser-guided bombs, though, there isn't a lot that can outdo the 600LT, and fewer still that can do it without a roof.
Like the 600LT Coupe, a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 with 592 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque scoots the LT Spider to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. Getting to 124 mph takes just an extra two-tenths of a second compared to the hardtop, and I promise, you won't notice the difference.
The 2.3-mile AMP circuit has four satisfying straights that are perfect for a V8 that's this happy at high engine speeds. The 600LT's twin-turbo 3.8-liter engine makes peak torque from 5,500 to 6,500 rpm and peak horsepower at 7,500 rpm. And since it's a McLaren, those numbers arrive quickly and are easy to maintain over the course of a lap. This engine makes its money north of 5,000 rpm, where it's a ...