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Say Hello To The McLaren 600LT Spider

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There's a new Longtail in town.

As stripped out as the vehicles are that carry it, the Longtail name carries a lot of weight at McLaren. And this is the latest. It's the McLaren 600LT Spider, and it's the fifth model to which the boys in Woking have applied the Longtail treatment – stripping excess weight, adding power, and tightening everything up to make for an even more extreme, performance-focused supercar than the one on which it's based.

In this case, the donor is the 570S Spider at the bottom end of McLaren's lineup. But there's nothing "entry-level" about the new 600LT Spider.

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Like the existing 600LT coupe, the new Spider packs a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 upgraded to 592 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque, dispatched to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Unlike the coupe, though, you can drop the top (or just the rear window) to experience the wind rushing in around you and the engine barking behind. And you don't pay much of a performance penalty for the privilege, either: stripped of 220 pounds of excess weight from the 570S Spider, the 600LT Spider is just 110 pounds heavier than the coupe.

As a result, it'll run to 60 mph in the same 2.8 seconds (2.9 to 62) as the fixed-roof version. Reaching 124 mph takes just 0.2 seconds longer than the coupe, and it'll keep pulling until it's cracked 201 mph (with the roof up, or 196 mph with it open.) At 155 mph, the fixed rear wing generates the same 220 lbs of downforce as the coupe. Pirelli P- Zero Trofeo R tires keep it glued to the tarmac, and Alcantara-trimmed carbon-fiber racing buckets (borrowed from the P1) hug your body, with even lighter shells from the Senna available.

Though McLaren hasn't said exactly how many it will make, availability will assuredly be limited – each commanding $256,500, before optional equipment from McLaren Special Operations is taken into account. But if this writer's experience driving the previous (and pricier) 675LT Spider is anything to go by, it'll be worth every penny. Watch this space as we'll have driving impressions from Arizona next month on this spiritual (but topless) successor to the extended McLaren F1 GTR.