2016 McLaren 675LT Review

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Showcasing today McLaren’s hot and brand new 675LT , a higher-performance variant of the 650S. There is a bit of trivia in its nomenclature and etymology since the  LT portion of its name is derived from the wild 1997 F1 GT “Longtail” homologation special. That rare and hard to be seen  McLaren menaced as well as cruised  the road with radically lengthened bodywork, racy and structured aerodynamics, and a better power-to-weight ratio than the car on which it was based. The 675LT has two of those things, but its tail? Quite vestigial, we’d say.

In fact, the 675LT is just 1.5 inches longer than the 650S, and it appears a decent stretch of that extra length comes from the sports car’s epic chin splitter. The rest goes to a slightly longer active rear spoiler that McLaren claims is 50 percent larger than the one fitted to the 650S. McLaren says that a “focus on outright performance, weight reduction, and ultimate levels of driver engagement” define a Longtail, so maybe here we are kind of missing the point and we’re just being too literal. That said, the mighty F1 GT Longtail got more tail—the car was a full 25 inches longer than the regular F1. Furthermore, not to mention a full aero kit was present which  entirely altered and modified ( for the good or bad, depends on the perception)  the supercar’s visuals.

Setting aside the 675LT’s length issue, there’s little question it’ll be an epic thing to drive. That feeling of driving satisfaction which has always been delivered by a McLaren, is also experienced quite distinctly.   The 650S on which it is based is no slouch, and McLaren says it swapped out more than a third of that car’s parts to reduce weight and increase power. Standout and distinctive, in all sense of the term, visual differences include a louvered plexiglass rear window; a contoured, P1-like rear fascia with thin horizontal LED taillights and two big titanium exhaust outlets; a plethora and an ocean of extra scoops and vents which would consume the entire article if stated individually; and a carbon-fiber aerodynamics package. The 675LT is 220 pounds lighter than the 650S, thanks to the plastic rear window, additional carbon-fiber body panels, a redesigned exhaust system, and carbon-fiber seat shells.

The same twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 bolted between the 650S’s rear wheels is present here, but McLaren massaged it for an extra 25 horsepower and 16 lb-ft of torque. While the car’s name is based upon and drawn from its 675 metric power, we tabulate and make a judgement it is something satanically different , quite literally. We suspect that the etymology study might give us results that may root to the number  666; obviously the hat tip towards its  devilish horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. With less McLaren to haul around, the V-8 punches the 675LT to 62 mph in a claimed 2.9 seconds—0.1 quicker than McLaren’s stated time for the 650S—and on to a top speed of 205 mph. The LT uses the 650S’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and power is still routed to the pavement through the rear wheels.

Unlike, say, the P1 GTR that McLaren is also debuting at the Geneva auto show, the track-focused 675LT is still road-legal. The interior is “stripped out” but it’s no penalty box—the sweet carbon-shelled seats, for example, are upholstered in faux suede and are similar to those fitted to the P1 hypercar. And if the 650S’s magical adaptive suspension is any indication, the LT should maintain a decent and a satisfying  ride quality to say the least. Production of the coupe-only, roughly $345,000 675LT will be limited to an as-yet-unannounced figure. Deliveries will commence in autumn 2015.

McLaren is quite evidently and clearly looking to spin its two (soon to be three) model lines into various offshoots and special editions, both to keep things fresh and to keep wealthy customers lining up at its door. The prospective look ever impressive and also the general feeling among the rich audiences and customers is that of excitement comprising of that ‘ cannot wait ‘ feeling. The 675LT is a worthy addition to be sure, but we can’t help but wish it pulled more tail, in more ways than one!

 

Q&A with Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen

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It was just more than 24 hours after Cadillac’s “Dare Greatly” advertising campaign showcasing the new top-of-the-line CT6 gloriously debuted during the Oscars broadcast, the oft-irreverent auto industry Web log scored a precious hour of the Caddy boss’ time — it was an indeed rare opportunity of window for proud owners of Cadillac, luxury-brand enthusiasts, curious onlookers and spectators and even a dealer or two to get unfiltered and uninterrupted access to a top brand executive.

Johan de Nysschen was peppered and bombarded with a questionnaire which comprised of all kinds of questions and queries — some were really thoughtful and gave you the sense that the asker had put in a shift of study before coming out with those words, some were sharply pointed and brought about an awkward silence nonetheless Johan dodged a few but most he answered quite meticulously enough, some tongue-in-cheek — about the “Dare Greatly” campaign, about the mighty and at the same time argued decision to move Cadillac’s headquarters to New York, its criticized pricing strategy, current product, future product plans, stunning concepts that didn’t make production, the brand’s naming conventions and more. All the topics were well covered and that session of questions and answers gave a real insight about the company’s upcoming expeditions.

While de Nysschen, quite obviously and understandably owing to his very busy schedule,  couldn’t answer and respond to all of the overwhelming amount of questions, he reverted back to as many as possible. On occasions he would give it back to some smart alecks. He thought on his feet and gave smart retorts seeming he had an ace up his sleeve. For an instance, Q: Will the next gen ATS and CTS have a usable backseat? A: Depends what you want to use it for! Such incidences came like embellishments and lightened the whole mood of the audience compulsing smirks out of the onlookers.

How much response did Jalopnik generate with the Q&A? As of 2 p.m. today, 2 hours and 15 minutes after it went live, more than 380 comments.

Those weren’t just some mere words or thoughts, they represented and highlighted the mentality, work process and objective of the Organisation as a whole. The passionate response underscores the marketing challenges facing Cadillac — a brand whose most recent products have received critical praise but are struggling to compete against its luxury counterparts for demanding, brand-conscious customers.

Falling sales

Cadillac, once the king of luxury for in the U.S. for decades, saw its annual sales fall 11 percent in 2014 amid concerns about overproduction and high pricing. Audi — whose turnaround in the U.S. was engineered by de Nysschen. Yes, he was the man at the apex and he headed the major revolutionary changes that took place and brought back the wheels on track. Subsequently, passed Cadillac for the first time last year, making Caddy the No. 5 brand in the U.S.

In addition, Cadillac’s line is narrower than those of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, etc. It doesn’t have a small luxury crossover in what’s been a white-hot segment, nor does it have an entry in the small, niche wagon or convertible markets — points responded to by de Nysschen today.

It was clear today that Cadillac has people rooting for it, but many of them disappointed with the brand’s direction. To be fair to de Nysschen, he hasn’t been at the helm for long — only since Aug. 1 of last year — and he has made it clear that Cadillac’s turnaround won’t happen overnight. He saw further evidence today that he has his work cut out for him.

De Nysschen deserves credit for putting himself out there. It was a situation tailor made by reporters and journalists, wherein the person in the limelight was on the back foot and it was a podium for them to flurry him with awkward questions and eventually make him uncomfortable. Not many executives of a struggling brand would expose themselves to potential ridicule that has become far too typical in such online forums. And, perhaps, this was an exercise in gathering the valuable marketing data he needs to get Cadillac back on track — and back on people’s shopping lists.

Q&A sampling

Here’s is a sampling of reader questions and de Nysschen’s responses.

And, if you wanted to ask him anything, what would it be?

Let’s first take a look at this sneak peek which would help you to gauge how the company will function in the next few years.

On the CT6 preview during the Oscars:

The Oscars has a sophisticated audience, and it’s a convenient opportunity to reach them. The new Cadillac brand campaign is a statement of our brand values — it’s about attitude, mindset and philosophy. It explains who we are and what we stand for. We are a bold and confident American icon with a proud heritage. We will continue to innovate and push boundaries and not shy away from taking risks. The CT6 reflects this attitude and we wanted to offer a tantalizing glimpse of the future.

On Infiniti’s alphanumeric naming scheme created under his leadership there, and Cadillac’s future naming conventions:

I don’t really feel like explaining Infiniti’s naming scheme, but I’ll do it anyway. Q is for cars and coupes, QX for crossovers and SUVs. The bigger the number, the more expensive the car. Simple.

As far as Cadillac is concerned, we are planning a dramatic expansion to the future Cadillac product range, and we simply could not find room to create names for these cars within the existing Cadillac naming convention.

On Cadillac’s “frame of mind” in deciding to move its HQ to New York:

I’m very fond of Detroit. This is where I first came to when I moved to the U.S.; I even got married here. The decision to move to New York has nothing to do with my personal preferences. Quite frankly, I’d be quite happy to stay in Detroit, myself.

We are establishing Cadillac as a more autonomous, separate business, and we need to create some space to the General Motors Corporation. If we don’t have geographic separation, then processes and the way of doing business will not change and we run the risk of continuing to apply successful strategies aimed at mainstream brands to the Cadillac business as well. The majority of our operations will, in fact, remain in Michigan.

On diesel plans:

We will have four-cylinder and six-cylinder diesel engines, but not before 2019.

On future plans for a convertible:

I think it’s time that Cadillac gets a convertible back in the lineup, but it will take a few years. We are working on many different projects.

On the lack of a manual-transmission wagon:

Apart from you and me, and a handful of huge enthusiasts, there are not too many eccentric souls demanding a high-performance, manual-transmission wagon. So we have many other priorities. I’m pleased to remind that we are driving enthusiasts at Cadillac, and so ATS and ATS-V are available with stick shift. Awesome driver’s cars!