It’s easy to think of McLaren as the new kid on the supercar boulevard, but the British firm has impressive credentials that have led to the McLaren 570S. For starters, McLaren has been building cars with carbon fibre cores for longer than anyone else and it’s the only company to offer such a sophisticated base at this level of performance car.
The 570S is part of McLaren’s Super Series range of cars, which provides the entry point to the line-up. It starts with the 540C, which you could hardly describe as the baby of the range when it boasts 540hp and covers 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds. Then comes the 570S and its GT sister model, which share the same 570hp 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
There are differences between the S and GT models that run deeper than just the name. For starters, the GT needs 3.4 seconds to sprint from rest to 62mph compared to the S model’s 3.2, though they share an identical 204mph top speed, so neither is short on pace.
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The slightly slower 0-62mph time of the GT model is explained by its marginally heavier weight, 1350kg versus the S’s 1310kg. This is due to the GT’s side-hinged rear glass hatch that opens on to a leather-lined luggage area so it lives up to the Grand Touring tag. There’s also a panoramic glass roof in place of the S’s standard carbon fibre roof that adds a little weight but also adds an opulence and lightness to the cabin.
In either guise, the McLaren is fitted out with all of the luxury equipment you’d expect. However, the 570 models stick with the company ethos of keeping the cabin uncluttered so the focus is on driving. This is why there are simple rotary controls to choose different driving modes and almost everything else is operated through the seven-inch touchscreen. It’s also why the 570S doesn’t have any buttons on the steering wheel, unlike its key rivals from Ferrari and Lamborghini. McLaren believes the steering wheel is there to connect the driver to the front wheels and that’s all.
It’s such an elegant philosophy and is ably demonstrated by the way the steering communicates with the driver. There is none of the nervousness or over-eagerness found in some supercars, just precision and accuracy coupled to ideal weighting. The large paddle shifters for the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox are also perfectly placed when you want to move out of the default automatic mode.
In auto or manual settings, the gearbox swaps from one gear to the next with a speed and seamless agility that means the car is never upset by a mismatched gear change. This is important with a car as quick as the 570S, yet it also makes it a cinch to live with day to day.
Push the 570S harder and you won’t find any hidden vices. It rides with controlled ease and grips in a way that you will only unsettle on a race track, while the standard carbon ceramic brakes give good pedal feel and astounding stopping power.
When you consider the 570S is around £40,000 cheaper than its Ferrari and Lamborghini rivals, it’s incredible the less expensive car is the more capable. Then again, McLaren may be a relative newcomer to the supercar stakes but it’s been building fast cars for more than 50 years and it shows in every detail of the 570S.