Well before you’ve even hit the engine starter button, the Track Pack feels special, and not because of what this cabin has got but because of what it hasn't got.
Track Pack cars get carbonfibre bucket seats clad entirely in soft Alcantara. They’re not only beautiful in their simplicity but also deeply supportive and snuggly comfortable even after a couple of hours in the saddle, although you might not want to go for too much longer.
It’s similar story with the steering wheel, whose fuzzy rim is both firm and pleasingly thin and whose exposed carbonfibre spokes are gloriously free of switchgear. This is a fantastic way to set the tone, and in a similar vein, you’ll find your legs channelled neatly into a pedal box that seems oddly offset. This, before you complain, is simply McLaren’s way of gently encouraging you to brake with your left foot. This is easier than you might think because of the low-set point at which caliper is calibrated to oh so progressively bite disc. Why can’t they all be like this?
In terms of architecture, this remains the best driving environment of any supercar, then, and the generous use of Alcantara only makes it feel all the more exceptional. Carbonfibre is also used for the door inserts, gearshift paddles, centre console and the surround for the IRIS infotainment system, which is fitted with a telemetry app for recording lap times. Those of a particularly geeky inclination can also option cameras in the front and rear bumpers alongside a third mounted within the car’s firewall.
The roof, meanwhile, is the usual composite, folding two-piece job that goes up or down in 15 seconds and at speeds of up to 25mph. With it in place, the 570S is impressively refined – genuinely – and you’re nicely protected from buffeting even with it down. There’s nothing to complain about here, and you can lower the rear windscreen with the roof up for a bit more engine chatter and a gentle breeze.
Next to the standard model, there’s no discernible difference in the way in this car behaves, either – which is to say brilliantly. During an afternoon at Brands Hatch, you might detect the saving in unsprung mass, but on the open road the Track Pack’s 33kg overall deficit to the standard car is slight enough to be undermined by a sizeable weekend bag. And you’d get such an item, along with a couple of helmets, in the bonnet cavity, which continues to shame those of similarly mid-engined rivals.
‘Alacrity’ is an abused expression in this line of work, but if any car splices apices in an alacritous fashion, it’s this one. The sense of infinite front axle control is further heightened by the low scuttle carved into the carbonfibre tub, affording the driver panoramic visibility, as well as the heart-warming purity of an electrohydraulic steering rack and the fact that the seats are positioned so centrally within the chassis.
On the smooth surfaces this car so dearly loves, traction and grip are rarely an issue, although such is the adhesion generated by that front axle that the chassis can pivot about its nose under a trailing brake. That might startle the uninitiated, but it’s a driver’s dream, and along the same lines, McLaren’s tuning of the ESP in Dynamic mode remains sweetly judged.
The 562bhp 3.8-litre flat-plane-crank V8 is still a two-sided affair, though. Despite the sports exhaust, at no point will it put the hairs of your nape on alert, as the flat six in Porsche’s 911 GT3 and the V10 shared by the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Huracán frequently do. Perhaps this shouldn’t matter, but it does, the overall experience being poorer for the lack of a ripe soundtrack.
Boy, it hits hard, though. Naturally, there’s some turbo lag at lower crank speeds, and being of an over-square design, this engine’s more explosive moments are skewed towards the 8500rpm red line, so the subsequent delivery is comparable to a depth charge rolled from the stern of a destroyer. And contrary to what you might think, the understated, nasal timbre of the V8 only serves to heighten the intensity of the acceleration.
It does make you wonder who on earth test drives one of these and then thinks "Actually, I will need the 720S after all". The sprint to 62mph, incidentally, is done and dusted in 3.2sec – the same as the F1.
Our only criticism, if you can even call it that, is that you are required to carefully pick your moments when you’re really cooking in this car. The chassis is remarkably pliant, but it’s not imbued with black magic, and the fact that it’s so assured on merely poor surfaces doesn’t mean it can be quite so dismissive of those that are downright mediocre. And neither should it. However, you can get caught out when proceedings become a little cantankerous at speed, especially because the steering is so lively and expressive.