All makers of top-rank sports cars face a difficult challenge in perfecting a dynamic balancing act that is defined as much by the need to accommodate a much broader, more everyday sort of use than more expensive and rarefied cars get.
There’s a reason why car makers call this one the 911 Turbo class: because 911 Turbos are very popular and that’s how people use them.
And yet McLaren’s challenge was even greater than that of most of its rival players for several reasons: how much less inherently suited to narrow B-roads, urban width restrictors and typical parking spaces that wide, mid-engined cars are than almost any other type you care to mention; how much more comfort and stability matter here than they have for any other model produced so far in the company’s new era; and because, this time around, McLaren’s engineers didn’t have fully active interlinked hydraulic suspension to work with but adaptive dampers and humble anti-roll bars.
In spite of all that, the 570S’s creators have done spectacularly well. The ride is flat, taut and cleverly damped but, in Normal handling mode on the Adaptive Dynamic panel, has a pleasing initial compliance that smothers small and medium-sized lumps and bumps on the road very effectively.
For the record, Sport mode should be reserved for billiard-table A-roads and Race for the track.
Some surface patter resonates from the wide rear tyres, through the suspension springs and rigid mountings and in via the tub, making the cabin a bit noisy at times, but it’s nothing beyond what plenty of cars in the class produce.
Although you’ll worry about the car’s width at first, you needn’t, because the steering makes it sublimely easy to place and brings extraordinary precision to the handling at road speeds that makes a narrow lane seem roomy.
On pace, weight, positivity and feedback, it’s utterly brilliant and without equal. It’s more alive to camber change and suspension deflection than other systems might be, but never enough to threaten high-speed stability.
Dry grip levels are huge – you won’t get close to exceeding them on the road – and the handling is incisive and poised. It’s never hyperactive or nervous, just always fluent, predictable, tactile and absorbing.
The standard carbon-ceramic brakes and Corsa tyres give the 570S searing pace and real staying power on track. The drive computer relays live tyre temperatures and pressures, letting you know when its rubber is in peak condition. And when it is, outright lateral grip is breathtaking, matched by perfect steady-state cornering balance and brilliant feel for all four contact patches through the wheel and seat.