McLaren's 'Sports Series' is a line-up that includes the brand's most affordable models and the flagship in this part of the company's line-up is this car, the 570S. It's the kind of machine you might buy in preference to, say, an Aston Martin or a Porsche 911 Turbo. The experts at Car & Driving check it out..
The 570S coupe engages with a wider audience than McLaren has targeted before, but it serves up a treat at first asking. This car delivers the uncompromising driving experience that the Woking brand promises, moving forward with innovations in comfort and design, ensuring new buyers are afforded McLaren's legendary attention to detail.
In its evolution from Formula 1 team to car manufacturer, McLaren has set out an ambitious three-spoke product strategy. The P1 hypercar and P1 GTR make up the 'Ultimate Series', the 650S and 675LT the 'Super Series' and the 540C and 570S the 'Sports Series'. The barrage of numbers and letters could get confusing but, being McLaren, there is meticulous method amid the mayhem. The numbers in the Sports and Super Series signify the power outputs of each model (in PS units). While the P1 of the Ultimate Series represents 'Pole-Position', in case anyone needs reminding that McLaren is one of the most successful teams in Formula 1 history. The 570S coupe is the range-topper of the Sports Series and with it McLaren have stepped into territory long dominated by Porsche and, more recently, Audi with its impressive R8 V10. It's an important product for McLaren to get exactly right.
McLaren's philosophy revolves around the driving experience, so it's no surprise that the 570S rates highly here. While the models further up the range have an emphasis on track driving, the 570S is more focussed on the real-world use that sports cars endure most of the time. So it has to be comfortable and manageable in the city, yet deeply rewarding when unwinding on country roads. McLaren achieves this with science proven in the crucible of motorsport. It employs an adaptive suspension system, an innovative 'Brake Steer' system which applies gentle braking pressure to the inside wheels when cornering, and a seven-speed paddle-shift gearbox to allow the car to respond instantly to different styles of driving on different types of road. These settings can be tweaked from a control panel between the seats for maximum comfort or optimum road-holding at speed. The 570S coupe's lightweight structure is propelled along the road by a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, tuned to deliver 570PS (just over 560bhp) making the car rocket to 62mph in 3.2 seconds, passed 100mph around three seconds later, and on to a top speed of 204mph. These numbers alone put the 570S coupe at the head of its class.
The family face of McLaren is now firmly established and it will take a keen eye to differentiate a 'Sports Series' design like this one from an even quicker model in the pricier 'Super Series'. The 570S wears the signature headlights reflecting the company logo and the overall stance of the car carries the DNA established in early McLaren road car projects such as the fabled F1 built in the 1990s. Shaped for performance, every surface optimises the flow of air over and around the car, drawing on the expertise McLaren have accumulated from decades at the pinnacle of motorsport. The minimalist interior keeps everything simple with a touch-screen centre console controlling most of the car's functions and settings. There is nothing on the 570S that doesn't need to be there. Every little detail contributes to the driving experience, yet it is executed with an understated elegance that sets it apart from more flamboyant rivals. Care has been taken to give the occupants adequate stowage for a little luggage and even a cup holder. At this level, build quality cannot be compromised and the state-of-the-art production centre near Woking ensures that the 570S will protect McLaren's reputation for perfectionism. The robust carbon-fibre chassis underpinning a lightweight aluminium skin helps guarantee longevity.
The Sports Series is described as the most attainable range of cars McLaren has ever produced. The 570S coupe costs from just over £145,000, so is looking to relieve Aston Martin, Porsche and Lamborghini of a few of their customers. Initially, the coupe is the only body style but don't rule out an open top version in the future. The 570S sits above the visually almost identical but lower spec 540C which is McLaren's 'Entry Level' model. The 570S comes with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system which includes SatNav Bluetooth, Audio streaming, Wifi tethering, Voice activation, and a DAB digital radio. It can also be used to display lap-time and performance data if the car is used on track. One of three Bowers & Wilkins Stereo systems can be selected offering four, eight, or 12 speakers depending on your audio preferences. 570S buyers can choose an 'extended' leather interior in four colours or select from a pre-designed menu of ten 'By McLaren' interiors, so even the Sports Series models can achieve a high degree of personalisation.
Purchasing your McLaren 570S may be an achievable goal, but keeping a high end sports car on the road can be a whole other issue. Not that long ago, it would have been laughable to think of a supercar as being economical but, thanks to the new focus auto companies have on the environment, interesting things are starting to happen to the cost of running these high end machines. McLaren's 570S V8 engine should be a thirsty big beast but it returns a combined average 25.5mpg. While by no means saintly, this is impressive for such a dramatic high performance car. It even has a Start/Stop function to shut down the engine when it is stationary, meaning every precious drop of fuel is being spent for driving pleasure and not wasted waiting at traffic lights. As new vehicles in the UK are taxed according to their emissions, Mclaren try not to make a big deal of the 249g/km CO2 figure, which results in a £490-a-year tax bill. Having said that, you'll be hard pressed to find a more efficient and enjoyable way to spend your money.
McLaren's ambitious model strategy has resulted in some of the most dramatic cars in each market segment entered and the 570S coupe carries on this tradition. Faster, lighter and more advanced than the competition, the 570S almost defines its own niche at the pinnacle of sports car performance and technology. The completeness of the car, in terms of quality, design, capability and competitiveness, conceals the fact that McLaren is still relatively new to volume car production. It's a thoroughly modern British sports car that competes on merit with the best in the world. Many will feel that it comes out on top too.
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