So McLaren have just released the 675LT, and I've got to say, I'm not impressed. So what's wrong? Have I gone mad? Apparently 33% of it is completely new, but it still manages looks like another 650S/625C to me. I regret to inform you McLaren, but this is an intervention.
McLaren just don't seem to get it anymore. We don't want more power, we don't want better aero, we don't want new camshafts/connecting rods/fuel pumps. We want Gordon Murray's take on a performance car. We want a performance car that's unparalled in terms of engagement and performance, without compromising form for function. We want something that is able to turn back the clock and make us feel as if we are children again. We want what McLaren once promised - the perfect supercar.
The "perfect" supercar doesn't take you from point A to point B as fast as possible. The "perfect" supercar takes you back to your first ever Christmas morning as you race towards your presents under the tree, and that's why something like the Speciale will keep winning time and time again.
Sure, the 675LT may be faster than the Speciale around any circuit in the world, but the Speciale manages to engage the driver in a way that no modern McLaren has been able to. More importantly, the Speciale manages to preserve the inherent Ferrariness that is distinctly recognisable in any modern Ferrari. McLaren, unfortunately, no longer make McLarens. The matter may be there (i.e. extremely capable and extremely advanced performance car produced by McLaren), but the form is not (i.e. McLarenness, as epitomised by the F1).
So what's happening with McLaren? Incrementally more power and less weight per iteration as a result of their obsession with continuous improvement (if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Just look at Ferrari: a new model, a fast version, repeat - it works!), a new set of bumpers per iteration, and a woeful increase in price per iteration. Hang on, this sounds familiar. Now where have we seen this before? Let me tell you, this is the exact same game that Nissan is playing with the GTR.
You could argue that Porsche and Lamborghini are doing exactly the same thing. Thing is, they aren't. Porsche releases, not a new model, but a new generation (revolution as opposed to evolution), with the GT3 RS/GT2/GT2 RS models representing the pinnacle of evolution within each revolution (the pinnacle of each generation of 911). Furthermore, Porsche still manage to maintain the purity of every 911 variant without compromising on the money making. Sure their range is diluted by the Panamera, Macan, and Cayenne, but don't they still manage to feel like Porsches despite not being a 911?
Lamborghini, on the other hand, are in danger of going down the GTR route. With the endless number of Gallardo spin-offs, they are veering dangerously close to the GTR formula. However, Lamborghini is spared by virtue of being Lamborghini, such that they ensure that every variant of the Gallardo/Huracan still screams Lambo's age old "batshit crazy" mantra. By having more wings than your average spaceship, and looking wilder than one too, Lamborghinis still manage to be proper supercars. Let's just hope they keep doing their thing.
Anyway, I digress, back to McLaren and the problem at hand. Let's not beat around the bush here, McLaren has lost its way. They don't stand for the same thing as they used to anymore. The ethos of McLaren instilled by Gordon Murray and distilled in the wonderful F1 roadcar has been lost in its entireity. I mean just look at the 625C. It is an inferior product, albeit a shiny & gaudy one, to be bought by the Chinese (a la iPhone 5C). Clear evidence of "market research", "customer feedback", and "pre-boardroom meeting meetings". Whatever happened to "we're going to build a car, its gonna have 3 seats, it's gonna weigh as much as a hedgehog, it's gonna have gold lining the engine bay, and it's gonna be the best f*cking car on the road"?
Gordon Murray made sure function came before form without sacrificing purity. Here was a man who knew how to make a car that brought you back to your very first Christmas morning. Here was a man who made a car that did just that.
Unfortunately Murray's legacy isn't at all honoured in any iterations of McLaren's latest road cars, whereas Enzo Ferrari still lives on in every single vehicle on the current Ferrari lineup. If Ferrari can do it, why can't McLaren? If a Macan still manages to retain a flavour of porscheness (so to speak), why can't a 625C contain even a smidgen of (Murray's) McLareness?
I'm not saying that McLaren make bad cars. I'm not even saying that Ferrari make better cars. I'm saying that McLaren now make fancy, pricy GTRs instead of the platonic ideal of a supercar. I'm saying that McLaren have failed to advance Gordon Murray's legacy by failing to preserve the McLarenness of the F1. My dear reader, I am simply saying that Ferrari does Ferrari better than McLaren does McLaren.
Buying a new McLaren if you've already got one (or upgrading your old McLaren) is like buying the newest Philips Sonicare toothbrush ("it's Sooo much better, I swear! See, it records all my brush data and sends them to a database in my computer via Bluetooth, and only cost me my left kidney!"). People who buy a McLaren (bar, perhaps, the P1) do not do so because they desire the platonic ideal of a supercar. People who buy a McLaren do so only because they wouldn't be seen dead driving a Nissan; and that, dear reader, is tragic.
EDIT: I've made substantial changes to my article. Let me remind you that I am merely presenting my subjective opinion on the matter. I am also not a Ferrari fanboy. Read my changes and my responses carefully, you may be convinced that I'm not talking utter rubbish after all.