McLaren 1 WEB

This is the new pinnacle of the McLaren Sport Series range and follows in the tyre tracks of the superb 675LT.

The 600LT (long tail) benefits from a range of spanking new elements such as new camshafts, recalibrated dampers, a lower ride height, and new ECU that delivers an extra 30bhp. Plus they have shaved 30kg from its weight, as weight has always been the sworn enemy of performance. The result – well, pretty mind-blowing it has to be said. You don’t get any of the really fancy aero stuff as that is reserved for the ‘expensive’ models.

Although you do get an extended front splitter and rear diffuser that enhances downforce, this is not all about downforce. It’s about speed, agility and handling – and the handling is truly remarkable. The slightest twitch and you have changed direction. It reminds me of the go-karts l used to race as a kid but this, l can assure you, is no go-kart.

Try 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, 8.2 seconds to 124mph, a 201mph top speed and the standing quarter-mile polished off in 10.4 seconds. There is no doubt this car is quick but it is the way it does it that is most impressive. The solidity of the ride is superb and ensures you feel totally connected to the tarmac – not in the teeth-rattling way but just total connection from your hands and bum to the surface.

The accuracy and precision it offers allows you to push the limits and brake and turn at the same time with total confidence, and its ability to change direction quite defies belief. If you feel that dab of oversteer, it takes nothing more than a twitch of your hands and everything comes back into line, almost magically.

It’s not magic of course but it is damn good British engineering. After all, McLaren is a company with a long and illustrious history in Formula 1, as the second-oldest team (after Ferrari) and the second most successful team having won 182 races, 12 World Championships and eight Constructors Championships. So they should know a bit about making fast cars! And in lil’ old Woking in Surrey.

Inside, you have a fabulous seating position in this track-focussed car. You sit pretty low but not uncomfortably so, and the steering wheel feels great in your hands and, refreshingly, without a single control button to be seen – it really is just a steering wheel. And from what l hear, stick to the standard seats – you can select the lightweight seats from the Senna and save 24.6kg but don’t if you enjoy your internal organs. I had the original seats and they did the job admirably.

Everything is laid out pretty well although l felt l couldn’t rely on the Sat- Nav but all in all, it is sparse enough not to annoy and kitted out well enough that you don’t feel you are missing anything. Of course, the signature scissor doors are a hoot and really do allow you to park closer to another car than you could with conventional doors. But more than that, they are a bit of theatre, and why not?

As for the sonorous noise emanating from the exhaust pipes, it is sublime. As this is the Spider, drop the roof and hit a tunnel at full chat and heaven awaits.

Comparisons are tough at this level. Everything is so individual but it sits well with the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, Lamborghini Huracan Performante and the Ferrari GTB. I would take it over the Lambo and the Ferrari but the Porsche would give it a run for its money. Then it would come down to personal choice and therefore l would exclude the Porsche, and the 600LT would be my pick – l would never not look forward to driving it.

Once that theatrical door slams shut, you are cut off from the world with just you and your monster of a car. I have rarely been happier.

Model tested:McLaren 600LT Spider Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 592bhp
Speed: 0-60 2.8 seconds
Top: 201mph
Economy: 23.2 mpg combined
Price from: £201,500 (inc VAT)
As tested: £235,680

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