The Woking-based company says the 570S Coupé “introduces McLaren DNA to the sports car segment for the first time”, bringing the lessons learned during the development of the 650S supercar and P1 hypercar to a lower price - which officials have confirmed is £143,25
The 570S Coupé also marks the official birth of the McLaren Sports Series, which will be developed as the entry-level tier in a new three-rung model strategy that also incorporates the Super Series and Ultimate Series.
The debut of the Sport Series models will bring another jump in McLaren output. The company expects to hit a production peak of about 4000 cars per year when the 570S Coupé and subsequent cars in the range are established.
Aggressively priced supermini steps up interior game, but lacks performance...
Despite its entry-level billing, the 570S Coupé - which went under the code name P13 during its test and development programme — nevertheless packs heady performance that puts it firmly into the territory occupied by the high-end Porsche and Audi sports cars.
The new car retains the mid-engined format of its more powerful big brother, the 650S. Power comes from a tweaked version of the twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8 already used in the 650S and P1 and is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The engine produces maximum power of 562bhp (which equates to 570PS and informs the car’s name) and 443lb ft of torque. It has been given the designation M838T E, with the ‘E’ standing for ‘evolution’.
The 570S Coupé can cover 0-62mph in 3.2sec and 0-124mph in 9.5sec, going on to a top speed of 204mph. The new McLaren can reach 100mph in 6.3 seconds.
By comparison, the £137,500 R8 V10 Plus has maximum power of 601bhp and peak torque of 413lb ft from its naturally aspirated 5.2-litre engine. Official figures indicate that the all-wheel-drive Audi can match the McLaren from 0-62mph but is 0.4sec slower to 124mph and has a claimed 205mph top speed.
Prices for the 911 Turbo S start at £142,120. With 552bhp and 516lb ft on tap from its twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre flat six, the all-wheel-drive Porsche pips its rivals from 0-62mph, taking 3.1sec. It hits 124mph in 10.3sec and its top speed is 194mph.
One of the key features of the new McLaren is its comparatively low weight. With the 570S Coupé tipping the scales at a claimed 1313kg - about 150kg lighter than the R8 V10 Plus - it has a class-leading power-to-weight ratio of 428bhp per tonne.
Crucial to the low weight is a new design of McLaren’s carbonfibre MonoCell II chassis, tweaked from the version used in the 650S. The 570S’s structure weighs less than 80kg and, in line with the new car’s focus on usability, it has modified sills to make it easier to get in and out of the cabin.
The sophisticated interlinked suspension that is a feature of the 650S has been replaced on the 570S with a more standard double wishbone design paired with adaptive dampers and anti-roll bars. As with the 650S, though, the powertrain and handling settings can still be switched between progressively more focused Normal, Sport and Track modes.
McLaren claims fuel economy of 25.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 258g/km for the 570S. The R8 V10 Plus returns a claimed 23.9mpg and the 911 Turbo S a claimed 29.1mpg. The 570S is slightly larger than the 650S in each key dimension, being 4530mm long, 2095mm wide and 1202mm tall.
The 570S is clad in aluminium bodywork, which, McLaren says, allows for an intricate panel design. The car retains key elements of the McLaren family look, such as the P1-derived front and rear lights.
There are broad similarities in shape and stance, which are largely informed by cooling considerations, but the 570S shares no panels with other McLaren models. Instead, it has bespoke aerodynamic styling features, such as the front aero blades, side skirts and rear diffuser.
Aerodynamic devices such as the rear wing are fixed, rather than active. The door tendons are inspired by the P1 and they channel cooling air into the engine bay.
It is aft of the cabin where the 570S Coupé looks significantly different from other McLaren models. In place of the 650S’s long rear glass engine cover, the new model features a ‘flying buttress’ pillar design, together with a vertical glass rear window and an engine cover that fits snugly over the V8 powerplant.
The new model is designed to provide “day-to-day usability and driveability” compared with McLaren’s more extreme offerings. There’s a greater emphasis on interior comfort, with additional stowage in the cabin, leather upholstery and a best-in-class front luggage capacity of 144 litres.
The infotainment system is mounted on a floating centre console and the 7.0in touchscreen includes sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio. A four-speaker McLaren Audio system is standard, with upgraded audio kit available.
Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, and the 570S comes with a unique design of forged alloy wheel, with 19in rims on the front and 20in on the rear, wearing Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres.
Extensive interior upgrades and customisation options are available via the ‘By McLaren’ specifications first offered on the 675LT unveiled at last month’s Geneva motor show. Other Alcantara, leather and carbonfibre upgrades are also available for the interior.
Standard specification on the 570S includes a full leather interior, LED lights and carbon-ceramic brakes.
Speaking at the launch of the new car, McLaren's executive director for global sales and marketing Jolyon Nash said: "This is probably the most important car in our short history. It's a game changer in the segment and will transform and double our business." Nash says McLaren's sales have jumped from 150 units in 2011 to 1649 units in 2014, and company was profitable in its third year of business.
Nash also poured cold water on any suggestion of McLaren developing an SUV: "In the future we will not be manufacturing or developing an SUV. We know what we're good at, making cars that are breathtaking to drive."
Mark Vinnels, executive director of product development said: "It's the definitive sports car. It delivers the McLaren DNA to a new customer base and is the first in the series as an entry point to the brand. Several new bodystyles in addition to the coupe will be rolled out over the next few years."
"30% of the components in the engine have been changed; it has not just been detuned. We have spent a lot of time on the sound and induction system; there's a lovely harmonic, tuneful sound system.
"The figures are better than some supercars out there; this is supercar performance in the sports car class."
Vinnels also says that much of the 570S's structure is new: "It's pretty much an all-new Monocell. The challenge was to deliver it on a technical and production side. It has the same stiffness but is a bit heavier, and the sills much lower to help ingress and egress. There is lots of storage space, including holes and space behind the seats."
The 570S Coupé will go on sale after its public debut at the New York motor show. A second Sport Series model, dubbed 540C, is aimed at the Asian market and should provide an entry point into the Sports Series range. That car, which will be priced from around £127,000 and is expected to offer 533bhp, is due to be revealed at the Shanghai motor show later this month.
Further down the line McLaren will expand the Sports Series range with a more spacious and practical GT model - due in 2016 - before adding a Spider variant to the range around 2017.