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
Matt Prior
10 April 2015

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.

Our Verdict

McLaren 650S

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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.

Join the debate


10 April 2015
Now that McLaren's three car strategy is revealed, I think the company has planned their range exceptionally well, putting real distance between three cars based on the same architecture. The 570S seems very appealing but the 650S is undeniably more exotic, with its trick chassis and aero, and sexier low nose and carbon fibre body. It is still more desirable than the entry level model. The P1, of course, has been an unqualified success. The 570 Spider might end up being the best though, giving you 90% of everything you'd want from a McLaren at a relatively accessible price.

10 April 2015
The idea is very well and the price points might work, but why on earth could Maclaren not give this car a more distinctive nose? To the untrained eye they all look exactly the same now. And that is no good thing if you just bought the most expensive one of the lot and your neighbour turns up with the baby model, spent thousands less and yet everyone thinks the two of you have the exact same car. NOOOO. Stupid plan.

10 April 2015
NeufNeuf wrote:

if you just bought the most expensive one of the lot and your neighbour turns up with the baby model, spent thousands less and yet everyone thinks the two of you have the exact same car

So what if the neighbours do think that?

Are you seriously suggesting that P1 owners' happiness is predicated on strangers knowing how much they spent on their car?

10 April 2015
Yeah, MCL will sell as many of these as they can make.

The competition is an outsized Audi TT, an 80k 911 with 40% price inflation and a turbo, a hard top Merc SL look-alike, and the DB9- too ancient for consideration.

If I had 150k to spend, I'd want something different.

10 April 2015
The fact that the 570S costs around £150,000 is academic for 99% of the population, but I think the company knows what it's doing. By pitching itself at this elevated end of the market, it avoids competing with the likes of Audi, BMW and Porsche which is exactly right for a small specialist company. Lotus should have done this 30 years ago, when it had a credible racing pedigree. Competing against mass market manufacturers able to huge economies of scale and parts sharing will always be difficult for the smaller firms.
I think in time and with products like these, we'll come to regard McLaren as the "British Ferrari". Now it just needs to sort out the racing team...

10 April 2015
Unqualified success? The P1?? Whilst the car is probably superb, McLaren have made fools of themselves with it. This is because they set up camp at the 'Ring for months on end, made a great song-and-dance about the P1's lap time but then refused to reveal what that lap time actually was. This is because, as we now know, the Porsche 918 is generally a bit faster around a track. So, in the one place in the world where you might expect to be able to use your P1 as intended, it is slower than its main competitor.

10 April 2015
The thing that I was most pleased to discover about the 570s is that the body panels are formed in aluminium. I don't care whether this makes it marginally heavier. To my way of thinking, it makes it more desirable than the ubiquitous carbon fibre usually employed in this type of vehicle.

10 April 2015
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.

11 April 2015
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.

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

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