What is it?
How many exclusive sports cars has your typical car company released since 2011? Not all that many is my bet, but McLaren isn't your typical sports car company. This, the 570S, is its latest.
Not that this is necessarily an entirely positive phenomenon. The reason the 2011 MP4-12C became just the 12C and then, in effect, morphed into the 650S – whose software McLaren offered as a free upgrade to earlier customers – is because it wanted to right wrongs in the earlier cars.
This is a young company that is growing up fast and in public, which is never easy, looking over at its former self and thinking “good grief, did I really used to wear that shirt?” while trying to develop the world’s fastest hypercar.
And while developing a third tier – an entry-level one – to what is now, in effect, a complete range. The 650S and 675 LT – more on which in a moment – are from McLaren’s Super Series. The P1, whose production run is nearly done, remains the Ultimate Series. And this, the 570S, is the first model from the Sports Series.
Curious that McLaren doesn’t use the word supercar to describe the 570S. It’s merely a sports car, it says, of a carbonfibre-tubbed, mid-engined design with 562bhp, which can reach 60mph in 3.1sec and 100mph in 6.3sec and cover the standing quarter mile in 10.9sec. Quite. Nothing supercary about that at all. Except, you know, everything.
Still, it gives you an idea of where McLaren is pitching the 570 – and the 540C that’ll follow it. The 570S’s entry price is £143,250 and, although adding £40,000 to that is as easy as idly ticking a few boxes with ‘extended carbonfibre’ written in them, it does sit the 570S below the obvious ‘supercar’ opposition and instead in an area that is relatively sparsely populated: Audi R8, Porsche 911 Turbo, Aston Martin Vantage S, that sort of thing.
Usable supercars, in other words, which is one of the major purposes of the 570S. McLaren owners already drive their cars more frequently than Ferrari or Lamborghini owners, and the 570S is more driveable again.
It has a new generation of carbonfibre tub whose sill is 80mm lower than the 650S’s, while the dihedral doors open wider, to ease entry. There’s now a glovebox, there are more storage cubbies, an easy-open bonnet, even door pockets with covers over them – partly for security, partly so your phone doesn’t career to the floor when you upswing the door.
I know. It’s just what you wanted to know about the 570S, isn’t it? That you can squeeze a set of golf clubs behind the seats. Okay, we’ll move on.
The 570 is no smaller than the 650S. In fact, it’s a mite longer and taller, so don’t think of this is a ‘baby’ McLaren. It uses, ostensibly, the same kind of architecture. The three key differences between it and the 650S are that most of the body panels are aluminium, not composite, there are no fancy linked hydraulics on the suspension – it’s all conventional anti-roll bars here – and there are no active aerodynamics.
The engine remains the 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 with a dry sump and flat-plane crank, but 30% of its internals are new. The race is always on to reduce internal friction, thus increasing throttle response on a turbo unit. Our test car also had a sports exhaust, which was quite loud. I SAID IT’S QUITE LOUD. In character, though, it’s pure McLaren: clean and purposeful, if not intoxicating.
You’ll know the cabin is by McLaren, too, if you’re at all familiar with any of its other cars. The ‘Iris’ touchscreen now gets shortcut buttons to make it easier to navigate and the driving position is bang on.
Our test car came with race seats (optional, at a cost) which sit you low and upright. The terrific wheel stretches massively to wherever you want it, and the firm brake pedal, acting on standard carbon-ceramic discs, would suit either foot.