McLaren 600LT | PH Used Buying Guide
The 600LT ranks highly among the best British supercars ever made. So what's it like to buy secondhand?
By Tony Middlehurst / Sunday, 22 January 2023 / Loading comments
- Available for £130,000
- 4.0-litre V8 petrol twin-turbo, rear-wheel drive
- Track-biased aero-heavy variant of 570S
- Has its own specific raw appeal
- Mechanically strong but some issues persist
- Uncertainty over numbers and reputation is keeping values down
Launched in June 2018 for a production start in October, with a Spider version following in January 2019, the 600LT was a limited-run, track-focused variant of McLaren’s highly rated 570S. On its rather cringey Troy Queefian website McLaren described the 600LT as ‘the fastest, most powerful and most extreme – yet road legal – Sports Series ever’ (Sports Series being the lowest ranking in McLaren’s three-segment range, the other two being Super and Ultimate). They said a lot more about it than that, but you’re probs best off not bothering to go there.
The 600LT followed the 675LT as the second modern-era McLaren to be given the ‘Longtail’ designation. It was justified in this case by the 70mm-ish extension of its back end relative to the 570S. That’s about three inches, somewhat less than the several feet (or so it seemed) that more than justified the long-tail badging of the original LT, the F1. If, quite reasonably, you didn’t notice the 600LT’s extra three inches, you’d have less trouble noticing the carbon fibre aero parts including a fixed rear wing and diffuser and a snowplough front end. These combined with other twiddly bits to give the 600LT 100kg of downforce at 155mph, at which speed the 570S was ‘lift neutral’. The 600 ran stiffer and lower than the 570 too.
The engine management and exhaust were modded on the 600 motor to boost its output by 30hp to 592hp, but the main distinguisher between the 600 and the 570 was the weight, or lack of it. The 600’s Senna-style sky-exit titanium exhaust played a part in that, as did the more extensive use of carbon in the body along with thinner glass, hollow anti-roll bars and forged-alloy suspension wishbones. The resulting 1,247kg figure officially given for the car – up to 100kg less than the 570S – was ‘dry’ and based on the most stripped-down (MSO Clubsport) carbon-rich spec you could get. That meant no aircon, no front axle lift, no audio, no glovebox, and no door pockets. It also meant Senna-spec super-light seats, a £5,000 option on their own that you might either love or hate.
Coupe production finished in November 2019 but Spider production ran on into 2020. In mid-2020 McLaren’s MSO division announced that the last twelve Spiders would be Segestria Borealis editions in black, deep green and purple with acid green highlights, some of which were intended to mimic the webs and fangs of the actual segestria florentina spider that inspired the name. All these SB cars had the MSO Clubsport package – carbon seats and interior trim, gloss carbon front bumpers and titanium wheel bolts – plus a top-spec Bowers & Wilkins audio system. There were no mechanical enhancements over the regular 600LT. In the US market, these SBs retailed at $278,000, a $19k premium on the standard Spider. There’s one for sale on PH classifieds which we’ll link you to in the verdict. In addition, six Pikes Peak Editions were built, each in a different colour.
McLaren refused to release information on the total number of 600LTs built but stats compiled by keen independent researchers suggest that a total of around 340 coupes and 330-odd Spiders were supplied to the European market, split roughly 50/50 between right- and left-hand drive. More detective work on the west side of the pond suggested that 720 cars made it to the US. A global total including those bought outside of the US and Europe (China, Canada etc) has been mooted at between 1,500 and 2,000 cars, but we can’t verify that.
At the time of the 600LT coupe launch in 2018, when the starting price was around £185,000, a mad scramble to buy was expected. After all, it drove even better than the 570S and there was that Longtail sub-branding thing going on. That didn’t happen because the expectation from potential buyers was that McLaren wouldn’t make it difficult to buy one, and that’s pretty much what happened. Even in the 600LT’s honeymoon period you only had to wait two or three months for one and despite list prices climbing to more than £200,000 you had to be a mug to pay that as discounts were easy to get. These days, used Spiders start at around £140,000 and coupes go for between £135,000 and £170,000, or maybe a little more if it’s a rare specification you’re after like a roof-scoop coop.
SPECIFICATION | McLAREN 600LT (2018-20)
Engine: 3,799cc V8 32v twin-turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],500rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],500rpm
0-62mph (secs): 2.9
Top speed (mph): 204 (Spider 201, 194 with roof retracted)
Weight (kg): 1,247
MPG (official combined): 23.2
CO2 (g/km): 266
Wheels (in): 8 x 19 (f), 11 x 19 (r)
Tyres: 225/35 (f), 285/35 (r)
On sale: 2018 – 2019
Price new: (from) £185,500
Price now: from £130,000
Note for reference: car weight and power data is hard to pin down with absolute certainty. For consistency, we use the same source for all our guides. We hope the data we use is right more often than it’s wrong. Our advice is to treat it as relative rather than definitive.
ENGINE & GEARBOX
Some reckoned that the 4.0 V8 was at its limit in 600LT guise. For a relatively large-capacity engine assisted by two turbochargers, the performance below 3,500rpm was bordering on tumbleweed, but it lit up nicely above that (and above 4,500rpm especially) with an exhaust note that was generally considered to be somewhat superior to the 570S’s. There was some fairly serious intake suck and a bonus feature of flames on the overrun which were a hoot in the rearview mirror at night. The 600LT’s 0-62 time was identical to the 666hp 675LT’s at 2.9sec. Its 0-124 time was either 7.9sec or 8.2sec, according to which bit of the internet you were reading.
Overall the 600LT’s mechanical reliability record seems to have been good but it wasn’t all roses. Some owners found that the start button needed poking more than once, or that they had to stand really quite hard on the brake pedal to wake the engine up. These wake-up issues were often down to nothing dodgier than flagging batteries in the key fob. In the best tradition of old-school computers 600LT electrical issues could often be cleared by turning the car off and on again and locking and unlocking the doors. The odd coil pack has failed and been replaced under warranty.
One owner of a Canadian-supplied 600LT with not much more than 5,000 miles on the clock found that the car would intermittently shut down when it was put into reverse gear. The upshot of that was a complete new transmission. Slow coolant leaks picked up in a small number of cars have been traced back to poor hose clamping and/or cracks in the coolant reservoir. Both were cheap fixes if they fell outside of the warranty.
As regards servicing, different McLaren dealers will charge different prices. Some will haggle. The 600LT is not especially cheap to maintain as certain parts are hard to get to, increasing labour costs. In 2020, a full dealer service including oil and filter change, cabin filter, air filter, brake fluid, wiper blades and keyfob batteries was reckoned to cost about £1,500. In 2023, specialists like Litchfield were quoting VAT-inclusive 600LT service prices of £399 for the annual (oil change with filter), £871 for the 20,000-miler (adding coolant, clutch oil and filter changes), and £1,248 for the 40,000-miler (adding gearbox oil and filter changes). Litchfield’s nicely transparent pricing structure offers £109, £254 and £119 respectively for cabin filters, air filters and brake fluid changes.
The 570’s carbon fibre tub was modified for the 600. Its design meant that no additional strengthening was needed for the folding-hardtop Spider, though it did weigh 50kg more in Spider guise. Light weight is good in any car but it does add some extra head-scratching to solving the equation of getting the balance of springing and damping right. The 600LT’s conventional suspension had 13 per cent stiffer front springs and 34 percent stiffer rears than the 570S’s, with stiffer ARBs (by 50 per cent at the front, 25 per cent rear). Its 8mm lower ride height meant there wasn’t much vertical movement in the 600LT, making it jostly on rougher roads, but it redeemed itself through the excellence of its adaptive damping which was retuned for the model.
The 600’s carbon ceramic brakes were pinched from the 720S. Its braking feel could be an unusual experience for the newcomer in that the first bit of pedal travel didn’t seem to do a lot, but that was by design because many dedicated McLaren trackdayers preferred a ‘dead pedal’. For road drivers, it was just something to get used to.
There have been reports of electrical shorting in the braking system. Steel replacement discs by firms such as Giro have been recommended on a cost/longevity basis by owners who split their 600LT time between track and road, though they could be a bit squealy. Essex/AP Racing steel kits (discs and calipers) were also highly rated but they were also highly expensive. Slightly uneven pad wear seems to be par for the course, allegedly as a result of McLaren’s particular caliper mounting design.
The open-diffed 600LT was richly gifted on the handling front, its turn-in and grip helped by stiffer engine and transmission mounts and four percent quicker hydraulically-assisted steering. Five-spoke forged alloy wheels were a £4,200 option. Reflecting the car’s trackday targeting, the standard tyre was a mega-sticky bespoke Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R with regular P Zeros as a no-cost option. Front-end vibrations have been experienced on some Trofeo R-shod cars. On at least one car this was attributed to defective tyres. In that particular case McLaren knocked back the warranty claim. Heavy vibrations through the steering wheel have resulted in at least one case in the warranty replacement of a tie rod. Checking the geometry on a regular basis is a job you should allow for in a McLaren.
Various carbon packs were available to dress up the outside or inside of your 600LT. The Exterior pack no 1 (door mirror casings and extended side intakes) was £3,300. Exterior pack 2 (front splitter with integrated twin endplates, side skirts with aero winglets, rear bumper with integrated diffuser, rear bumper aero fins and rear spoiler) was just under £5,900. An interior upgrade pack (door inserts, tunnel sides and other bits and bobs) was £5,700. The Security pack with nose lift, front and rear parking sensors, rearview camera and car cover was £4k, and the Lux pack – power adjust seats and steering column, Bowers & Wilkins 12-speaker audio, and soft-close doors – was £7,500. The adjustment for those soft-close doors went out on some cars, manifesting itself as a reluctance to open unless the door was pushed in slightly.
MSO Defined and Bespoke options were on another level of cost. Defined paints were over £6k a pop, front bumper louvres were nearly £10k, and the MSO Clubsport pack which included the carbon louvres, carbon seats (Regular or Touring), carbon interior upgrade and titanium wheel bolts was £18,200. It’s estimated that around sixty roof-scooped 600LTs exist worldwide. Ticking that box cost £21k.
Rattles have been reported on some cars after 5-10,000 miles. We’ve heard that some dealers would fix these ‘bedding-in’ noises without a quibble, while others would only do it within the first three months of the warranty, that being the window for dealer reimbursement by McLaren for adjustments. Some paint issues have also come to light.
600LT windows sometimes lowered themselves without being asked. One theory that’s been put out to explain this was sub-optimal battery condition causing the system to lower the window as a kind of ‘get into the car free’ card. Windscreens have been famous for stress-cracking on ‘little’ McLarens since the 12C. The 570S suffered from it too, and that was without the 600’s thinner glass. As far as we know these screen issues have been resolved under warranty for the 600LT with ‘gen 2’ screens but we don’t know how long they last.
You could probably write a whole separate piece on the travails of McLaren’s IRIS infotainment system over the years, but barring the odd iPhone mic cutout (which turned out to be an Apple fault rather than a McLaren one) the system’s failings had been largely ironed out by the time the 600LT appeared. A reboot would remedy most glitches.
The driving position was bang-on with a low wheel and scuttle for confidence-building visibility but you’d either love or hate the optional Senna-style carbon seats, depending to a large extent on the extent, large or otherwise, of your shouilders. It’s very much a case of suck it and see before committing to buying a car thus equipped. Some have found them harder to get in and out of than the regular seats, in which case they wouldn’t be ideal if you were looking to daily your 600LT. The normal seats were heated and had a memory but they didn’t grip you quite as securely if you were making the most of the handling. There was a Clubsport Pro option with a harness bar and racing harnesses but it wasn’t cheap at getting on for £20k installed.
Stickiness in the centre console buttons has led to warranty replacement of the complete console. Headliners have also been replaced on some cars where the liner has started to come away from the door seals. Some airbags have been replaced.’Key not found’ issues could very occasionally pop up. Air cons could stop conning.
With the 600LT McLaren was targeting cars like the Ferrari 488 GTB, Lamborghini Huracan Performante and Porsche 911 GT2 RS or GT3. Whether you see it as being as desirable as any of those options will be down to personal preference and/or which team you support, but from a purely objective standpoint it’s hard to argue against the 600LT as a genuine rival for these mega machines.
It’s a raw sort of drive in some ways – the 570S was generally thought to be more comfortable, while the cleverly-suspended 720S was seen as impressive but maybe a little ‘cold’ – but for many the 600LT’s track-biased rawness and tendency to move around in an imperfect but engaging fashion was a big part of its appeal. It’s all relative, anyway: jump into a 600LT expecting to find a rough and rattly old thing and you will be surprised at how civilised it actually is.
Right, something on values. This was a limited-run car, but McLaren’s reluctance to share information on the number of cars they make (even limited editions) hasn’t helped the market to determine used prices now. Prices for the 765LT, the third modern-era ‘Longtail’, have been dropping of late. Is the 600LT going the same way?
Well, they certainly don’t seem to be going up. As an example, here’s that Spider Segestria Borealis we mentioned at the start. Even at £186,950 this 2,000-miler has lost quite a lot of its value based on its initial US price of around $275,000, and at the time of writing it wasn’t selling at that £187k price. The headline number of Segestria Borealis 600LTs at launch was given as twelve, and it seemed that all those were for the USA, but owner/researchers who have put a lot of time into investigating this whole question of cars built reckon that’s only a minimum number, with ten more RHD cars (of which this PH classified car is one) extant along with a few more left-hand drive cars in Europe. Nobody seems to know the actual number made.
With added qualms caused by 600LTs gradually sliding out of the warranty period, this sort of uncertainty is bound to colour some buyers’ views. A relative lack of demand compared to the other marques mentioned above should give those buyers the opportunity to strike some pretty hard-nosed deals, especially if they know that the 600LT has not been problem-free in some areas.
On the positive side, mechanical reliability signs look good with many owners reporting zero issues during their ownerships, and the impression we gained during our research for this piece was that McLaren has been fairly open-handed when it comes to warranty work, most of the issues raised by owners appearing to have been sorted without a quibble. It makes sense therefore when buying a used 600LT to be looking hard at an extended factory warranty. We haven’t been able to establish how much that might cost in the UK but in autumn 2022 US owners were being quoted $8,000 or thereabouts for a two-year block.
The lowest-priced Spider on PH classifieds as we went to press was this 2019 car with 8,500 miles on it at £143,850. All the other Spiders on PH bar the Segestria mentioned above were under £160k. The cheapest coupe was also a 2019 car but in this case with 10,000 more miles on it and both of the exterior carbon packs at £132,850. This was the lowest-priced 600LT on sale in the UK at the time of writing. Two grand more would knock 6,000 miles off your mileage in this ’19 car which also came with the two exterior carbon packs.
There’s a good choice of 600LTs in the £130k-£140k range. Up at the loftier end at just under £165k was this 2021 Clubsport Pro car with 3,000 miles and about the same number of options. Halfway between those limits at just under £150k we like the look of this desirably-specced 4,900-mile Apex Edition car in high-shout red.
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