From £145,30510
"They don’t call it a supercar, but you and I would. McLaren’s ‘entry-level’ model is ultra-fast and extremely engaging"

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. 

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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.

What's it like?

That the pedal wants a firm press - ease off even slightly and the 570S will quickly creep forward once the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is in drive – is an important tell-tale. It’s a reminder that, although the 570S is a usable car, McLaren is still talking to a certain type of person: if you want an easy coupé, go and buy a Bentley; the McLaren gives back to those who are prepared to put something in.

That’s not to say the McLaren is a particularly awkward car to drive. Far from it, in fact. Around town there’s a little ripple to its suspension, but as soon as you have more than, say, 30mph on the clock, the ride – in the suspension’s softest of three modes – is impeccable. There are family saloons that don’t ride as well as this, which, given that it’s a 1313kg (dry) sports car on 35-profile tyres, is astonishing. 

The steering, moderately quick at 2.5 turns from lock to lock, lacks the nervousness that can afflict Ferraris and is full of information while largely free from kickback. In its weight and finesse and accuracy, though, it’s first class. 

Even visibility is good. Well, it’s good by modern standards. I drove a Ferrari F355 and Honda NSX the other day, and they show how it’s done if you don’t care about chassis rigidity. But the McLaren’s scuttle is deliberately low and the wings deliberately raised to make it easier to place.

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Chuck in what is, at road speeds, an adequately responsive engine and a clean gearshift and all of this adds up to being a genuinely, terrifically rewarding road car. One that’s easy to rub along with yet engaging at the same time. 

Up the speed and, well, I can tell you a bit, but the pictures here are deceiving. A videographer, not photographer, came with me on this trip, so the still photos you see were shot on a typical autumn day by a photographer hired by McLaren. A typical autumn day on the Algarve is dry. On our test day, a month’s worth of rain fell.

Still, some laps of a soaked Portimao circuit tells you a few things: that twisting the handling and powertrain modes from Normal, through Sport and to Track is rewarding (though not, in these conditions, strictly necessary), and that the 570S has decent traction, resistance to aquaplaning and a surprisingly good wet-weather braking capability. 

And that if you disengage stability control and give the 570S a bootful, after some lag as the turbos spool, it pushes into oversteer and adopts an easy, relaxed, adjustable slide. McLaren reckons that, despite no limited-slip differential (it has torque vectoring by braking instead), the 570S is equally playful in the dry.

And while there’s only so much you can tell in the wet, from our road testing at MIRA I know that a car that has a vice-free handling in diabolical conditions is very likely to show the same in optimum ones.

Should I buy one?

Certainly, if you have the wherewithal and you want a sports car that is a sports car rather than a cosy coupé. The 570S is one of the most engaging, accurate and compelling sports cars around. Perhaps the engine is less of an event than an Audi R8’s V10, but dynamically it has nothing to fear from anything. 

It’s no surprise, then, that McLaren thinks the 570S and the aforementioned 675LT, for which we’ve also rather fallen, are the products with which it is happiest. Expect the replacement for the 650S, then, to be a bit more 675-ish in its make-up, because the 570S does an awful lot that the 650S does.

It and the 675 represent the mature face of McLaren which, after a promising adolescence, has finally come of age. 

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McLaren 570S coupé

Location Portugal; On sale Now; Price: £143,250 Engine V8, 3799cc, twin-turbocharged petrol; Power 562bhp at 7400rpm; Torque 443lb ft at 5000-6500rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch auto; Kerb weight 1313kg (dry); Top speed 204mph; 0-60mph 3.1sec; Economy 26.6mpg; CO2/tax band 249g/km, 37%


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abkq 22 October 2015

The original F1 came out in

The original F1 came out in 1992. It was not only a technological masterpiece but the tech was also expressed & articulated in the design language (as in the Porsche 918). 23 years on, the 570 may be a great drivers car, but in terms of design it's several steps backwards. All references to technological design details have been removed and the result is no more than a generic design of little merit - like a more expensive Lotus.
RednBlue 21 October 2015

five stars or three stars out of five?

It's good to see Autocar proudly reviewing the 570s and awarding it 5 stars. Point is someone else is not of same opinion. Apparently the engine is crap ("If the figures look jet-fighter fast, the reality is less than death-defying at low engine speeds. The throttle responds slowly and the car feels only moderately brisk; I've driven quicker hot hatches"), build quality is crap ("Little things weren't right on our car; doors not-quite fitting, trim detaching and a bat-squeak whistle from somewhere"), the way it looks is crap, or at least a little weird, and at the end of the day the car is not what we expected ("McLaren describes the 570S as "a sports car like no other", which is nonsense. If anything, it feels like an update on the old Lotus Esprit; well judged, precise, but over biased to the race track"). The truth is that the 488 engine makes the Ricardo-built McLaren V8 a bit old fashion turbo lagged unit. I really appreciate Autocar enthusiasm, but honestly it sounds a bit ridiculous.
jmd67 21 October 2015

I love everything about this thing

I love everything about this thing other than the styling which is almost bang on bit still manages to miss the mark. This headlight/air intake think just doesn't work. It's the weakest part of the P1, 650 and now this. The back lights don't sit quite right either.
People said that the Huracan was disappointing to look at but compared to this, the 650 and the 488 it's a masterpiece of aggression with lovely historical details.
Saying that, if I had 150K to spend on a new sports car I would be heading off to my local McLaren dealer tomorrow.