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First drive: McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.

First drive: McLaren 570S
McLaren describes its new 570S as a sports car; we beg to differ.

 



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McLaren 570S

5 5 5 5 5

McLaren's third tier has arrived, the 570S representing the entry point to McLaren's range to rival cars like Porsche's 911 Turbo S and the Audi R8 V10 plus. McLaren is promising driver focus - and it delivers.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: McLaren 570S
Price: £143,250
Engine: 3.8-litre V8 twin turbocharged petrol
Transmission: seven-speed SSG paddle-shifted automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: two-door, two-seat coupé
CO2 emissions: 249g/km
Combined economy: 26.6mpg
Top speed: 204mph
0-62mph: 3.2 seconds
Power: 570hp at 7,500rpm
Torque: 600Nm at 5,000- to 6,500rpm

What's this?

It's the third and most important model that McLaren has launched, the 570S representing the Sports Series of McLaren's three-tier line-up. It slots below the Super Series cars, which are the 650S and 675LT, and the Ultimate Series models like the limited run, ludicrous performance P1 and its P1 GTR spin off.

The Sports Series was planned from the very beginning of McLaren Cars, which, if you stop and think about it, is only six years ago. What this car represents then is nothing short of extraordinary. The 570S - and its soon to be launched 540C relation - aim to compete in the sports car market alongside cars like Audi's R8 V10 plus, Porsche's ubiquitous 911 Turbo and Turbo S and other similarly priced, but slightly different in execution exotics like Ferrari's California T and the Aston Martin V12 Vantage. The 570 part of the name relates to its power output, and like all its McLaren relations the 570S is built around a lightweight carbon fibre tub, which weighs just 75kg without any bits hanging off it. McLaren describes the 570S as a sports car, but the numbers look pretty super to us, with 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds, double that in 9.5 seconds and a 204mph top speed. McLaren promises a car that's more driver focused, so the company is less worried about numbers and instead concentrated on engagement. So there's no active aero, there are sensibly-sized tyres and things like hydraulic steering and conventional suspension (as opposed to the 650S's trick system). The aim for the Woking firm was to build about 3,000 or so of these a year. There'll be a Spider in 2017, and an as yet undisclosed extra variant early next year - we're guessing something a bit lighter still and perhaps borrowing the LT signature from its big brother. Regardless, the 570S is here, so we'd better see what it's like.

How does it drive?

We've seen it on motor show stands and on pages now for a while but the McLaren 570S still has the ability to make you stop and stare. The back is pure P1, with its cool grilled lights and their LED sweep around the curvaceous rear - it's a neat signature. The front's sharp and the flanks busy, the 570S certainly addressing complaints that McLaren's earlier cars were a bit too generic in their style. It arguably looks its best in less extrovert hues, though the neat contrasting black elements do make for a shape that's stand-out in its looks, and efficient in its nature. It's been designed as much in the wind tunnel for its stability and cooling purposes as it has for its design, though McLaren admits it's not a car built with downforce in mind.

The interior is beautifully executed. If the exterior is somewhat busy, the cabin is a demonstration of glorious restraint. There's a simplicity and purity to its design that's hugely appealing and the 570S is relatively practical too, with useful cubbies in the doors, a glovebox and space behind the front seats. Opt for the sports seats and you're held in place firmly, though comfortably, McLaren offering a choice of specifications that can swing from racer to luxury and - via MSO - anything in between. The scuttle is deliberately low, making visibility good, while the lowering of the sill on the carbon tub makes getting in and out a cinch. The instrumentation is all digital, changing depending on what driving mode you're in, and the satnav, entertainment and climate controls are all far better integrated into McLaren's own touch-screen operating system. It doesn't feel in any way entry-level; indeed, after a 570S you'll find the 650S's cabin disappointing.

Thumbing the starter button has the 3.8-litre twin-turbo engine fire up after a short whir. The V8 is borrowed from its bigger relation but has had around 30 per cent of its components revised for this application. It's down on power with 'just' 570hp, arriving at a heady 7,500rpm for a turbocharged unit, while peak torque of 600Nm is produced at 5,000rpm and hangs around until 6,500rpm. Optionally fitted with a sports exhaust, and fired up for the first time in a basement carpark, the 3.8-litre unit sounds great, but once it's rolling it's not the dominant feature. That's the steering. McLaren has stuck with an electro-hydraulic set up. Admitting it could drop a sizeable amount of CO2 if it went the pure electrical route of its rivals, McLaren put steering feel above everything else. That's a very good thing, as the steering is so beautifully weighted, so crisp in its response and, yes, loaded with feel, that it's one of the defining features of the 570S.

The rigidity of the 570S's chassis no doubt contributes, as does the suspension tuning, but the front axle on the 570S is so quick and incisive it makes its rivals feel numb in comparison. The suspension delivers a level of control that's remarkable too, the dampers offering a choice between Normal, Sport and Track. Normal gives the 570S the sort of ride comfort many family saloons could benefit from, Sport adds some tautness without harshness and Track is best left for what it's named after.

There's the tiniest hint of understeer on the road if you enter a corner with too much speed, but a slight lift sees the McLaren tighten its line. The grip levels are high and McLaren's electronic driver aids work beautifully with as much assistance as you want. There are five modes, each heightening the thresholds and giving more control to the driver, though even with everything off on track it's not a daunting, difficult car to drive. That's not to say it's not engaging, as it'll move around underneath you far more than its relations, but it's so easily read, so quick to catch and enjoyable that it feels like the most natural thing in the world to do.

That's with 570hp at your disposal too, making this sports car supercar quick. The 3.8-litre really gives its best above 4,000rpm, but is still wickedly quick below that. The SSG paddle-shifted seven-speed transmission is quick to respond, if not quite with the immediacy of Ferrari's paddle-shifters, but it's infinitesimal degrees here. It works well in auto mode, too, should you ever be stuck in traffic in it. The brakes, carbon ceramic items, are unending in their stopping power, which, given a few laps around Portimao saw the 570S easily achieve 170mph on the main straight before the heavy braking zone, is a good thing. McLaren's quick to point out it's not a track car, though it's incredibly adept on circuit, even if its relations are unquestionably quicker, but the 570S driver will be having way more fun. That's hugely significant, not just for McLaren, but for the market, as the majority of its rivals can offer similar, even better performance, but none offers the sort of interaction and engagement of the 570S.

Verdict

A sports car in its feel and interaction but very much a supercar by the numbers, the McLaren 570S is a triumph however you look at it. The British company promised fun and involvement and it's delivered exactly that. The biggest problem it causes is for McLaren itself; as amazing as its 650S relation is it'd be difficult to pass up the 570S for it. For a car company to have achieved this in such a short space of time is nothing short of remarkable - it'll have no trouble at all selling every car it can make.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 20 Oct 2015









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2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.

2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.



2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.
 

2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.
 

2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.
 

2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.
 

2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.
 

2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.
 

2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.
 

2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.
 

2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.
 

2015 McLaren 570S. Image by McLaren.
 






 

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