At £145,000, the McLaren 570S is still a dream for many - but it's on the right track
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.