Currently reading: Matt Prior's tester's notes - A cheaper McLaren is exactly what we need
McLaren's 650S and 675LT may be more exotic, but the firm's new entry-level Sports Series models may yet prove to be the customer's favourite

Am I alone in feeling warmer towards the McLaren 570S, the company’s new, entry-level Sports Series car, than I am to McLaren’s bigger motors, the 650S and 675LT?

I say ‘bigger’, but it’s not size that separates McLaren’s new car from its existing ones. The 570S is lower-tech; it doesn’t get the linked hydraulic suspension and active aero you’ll find on the 650S and 675LT Super Series cars, and it has aluminium panels, not composite ones, clothing its carbonfibre tub.

But the most notable things are horsepower and cost. The 570S develops fewer horses and requires less money. And those attributes are why, I think, I’m more naturally inclined to feel a bit gooey towards it.

This is idle conjecture of the sort that’s the specialism of this column, you understand, but obtaining 562bhp from the 570S’s twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 feels to me like an easier, more responsive and less boosty job than squeezing 641bhp from the same-capacity unit in the 650S.

Turbocharging has seemingly joined death and taxes as an inevitability in life, and new turbocharged engines are becoming ever more responsive. But, as a rule, the lower the boost, the shorter the lag time. And I like the idea of that.

Then there’s the cost. Not that it matters to me, because I’m no more likely to walk on Mars than I am to amass the £143,000 I’d need to buy a 570S, but there’s no conjecture in knowing it’s easier to find £143,000 than £200,000-plus.

And I think less powerful, more affordable cars are a better fit with the times. We’ve said it before on this website and will no doubt be saying it again, but make a car less powerful and at once you make its performance more accessible and the car more usable.

Certainly, more affordability and usability seem like a good fit with McLaren. One of the nice things about a 650S is that it’s an easy, comfortable car to drive – more so than its Ferrari or Lamborghini counterparts. If you’re spending nearly a quarter of a million quid on a supercar, though, there’s an argument that you might not want it to be usable, just spectacular.

At Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8 or Aston Martin DB9 money, which is where the 570S will find itself, I think the way people use sports cars is different from how they use raw, old-school supercars. I think there is an expectation that these are cars you could use daily, and that plays to some of the strengths that have been evident in McLaren’s cars since it first launched the MP4-12C.

Since that car, McLaren’s range has hopped about a little, almost nervously. But if the 570S does what it should, I get the feeling that finally, confidently, it will have planted its feet.

Back to top

Join the debate

Add a comment…
voyager12 28 April 2015

You must be happy then...

with the entry level 540S... Cheaper still and with the same engine. A tuner can probably upgrade this to 570S performance specs.
Sitikchai 11 April 2015

I think McLaren will run into trouble soon

While i agree that having cheaper entry level cars is a good thing the way mclaren goes about doing it is all wrong because there is not enough differentiation between the models. They look like carbon copies of each other and they are based on the same platform and engine. If mclarennis serious about entry level models then it needs a 3.0 V6 and much different styling. The 911 and Boxster/Cayman share a lot of components under the skin but they are very different in size, engine layout and they look sufficiently differentiated. Sorry guys i don't think this will work. Ferrari has a high priced strategy but has no problems selling 7,000 cars a year because each model is different. That's something mclaren needs to learn how to do.
harf 10 April 2015

McLaren concerns

Maybe it's just me but I think McLaren have some difficulties ahead because they're seriously confusing potential customers. I just don't see any naming strategy going on. And don't even mention this sports/super/ultimate series guff. That's not relevant to a consumer as it doesn't appear on the cars. The difference between the 570S and the 650S is much more than just power but how are you to know from the naming? The 675LT has barely more power than the 650S and a random LT designation that means nothing to anyone (i wouldn't want to make people aware of the F1 long tail because it was a hideous looking version of a sublime car) What's wrong with 650S and 675R? Missed a trick at geneva by not painting the cars to exaggerate the different LT aero package. Plus everyone knows that R is for racing and will likely be a lightweight variant, which it is. I wish them all the best but I think that a bit more thought on the naming could make their lives much easier commercially.