McLaren is expanding its hunting grounds, releasing the 570S to prey on other sportscar rivals. Those considering a Huracan, 911 turbo or Audi R8 should take note.
It’s not often that we get to drive the base model of a car maker’s range, especially when said car has a starting point for negotiations and options of $375,000. But then McLaren Automotive is not your usual carmaker. The 570S is the company’s new entry model, or at least currently, as there’s an even more ‘accessible’ model coming mid-year called the 540C, which will be a mere $330,000.
The 570 represents the brand’s entry to the sportscar market, as opposed to the super and hyper car echelons of the automotive world that it already occupies. This so-called Sports Series is said to be the third and final product family of the McLaren range and along with being ‘more attainable’, it’s also more usable and practical but still with an absolute performance bent.
So to the details then. This may be the junior McLaren but it’s no poor cousin of the 650S. It’s similar in size to the ‘big’ 650, in fact a smidge longer, wider and taller, and uses a similar carbon fibre chassis. The tub has been modified in the 570S, the sills made narrower and lower by 80mm, meaning there’s no fear of pulling a muscle trying to get into this McLaren. It’s said to be slightly heavier than the 650’s core, but just as stiff. The aluminium bits hanging off each end have been modified too as the 570 uses conventional variable dampers and roll bars as opposed to the interlinked hydraulic system of the Super and Ultra series cars. It comes with hydraulic powersteering, with a fixed but quick ratio steering rack, and this
McLaren is expanding its hunting grounds, releasing the 570S to prey on other sportscar rivals. Those considering a Huracan, 911 turbo or Audi R8 should take note
hydraulic circuit is also used for a front lift system, increasing ride height by 40mm when extra clearance is needed over driveways and speed bumps, the latter requiring very slow progress.
Forged wheels are standard while ‘ultra lightweight’ rims can be optioned to shave seven kilos. The rubber is specially blended P Zero Corsas with stiffer sidewalls and tread blocks for optimal feel and traction. Stopping power comes from carbon ceramic rotors and six-pot calipers up front, the 570 with its own ABS software tune. The stability control has also been upgraded to include an intermediate ‘Dynamic’ mode and new too are improved traction control electronics. And the 570S also has the McLaren brake steer function, applying the stoppers to the inside rear wheel to help turn in.
The 570S uses the company’s own 3.8-litre twin-turbo flatplane crank V8, but is down on power compared with the 650. It makes 419kW and 600Nm at 5000-6500rpm and also gets a stop/start system, which should be immediately switched off, and is rated at 10.7L/100km on average. This figure can easily be doubled though.
Continuing on the re-use theme, the 570 also gets the same seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox as the 650 but it has been upgraded for faster shift times, and includes an ‘Inertia Push’ function. According to McLaren, this ‘harnesses the inertia of the flywheel to deliver an impulse of torque as the next gear is engaged’. Righto, just think changes so quick they are almost imperceptible.
And while it might be thought of as the baby Macca, it still has all the presence of the Super Series cars, and looks every bit as dramatic as a $750k Lambo Aventador. If you’re looking for attention, you’ll find it with the 570S. It’s clothed largely in aluminium rather than more expensive composites, the parts ‘super formed’ in a process where hot aluminium is blown into shape over a mould. While it makes for an interesting form, the design is also very much aerodynamically optimised; the curves helping dictate the path of the airflow. The smiling bumper directs air over, below and around the car while the crease around the bonnet is said
to help flow the air along the doors and down the ‘floating tendon’, channelling air into the intake behind. It takes a while to notice the form of the rear pillars but these ‘flying buttresses’ help the air around the cabin and counteract lift over the roof, while also directing cooling air into the engine bay. The only weird looking bit is the wheel arch breather; it at first seems that the guard liner is coming away from the arch. The rear is interesting though with its P1 elements, those familiar tail lights and that race-ready diffuser.
McLaren quotes a dry weight of 1313kg, though it registered 1486kg fueled on our scales, the well-considered weight distribution on each corner revealing its dynamic potential. The 570 is said to register 100km/h in 3.2sec, which it indeed does, while the 0-200km/h time is quoted at 9.5sec. However
The stability control has also been upgraded to include an intermediate ‘Dynamic’ mode and new too are improved traction control electronics
that, along with the 328km/h topend, we couldn’t verify. But this is a model of performance consistency; each of the four sprint runs netting a time within a few hundredths of each other. And it’s easy too, press the launch button, stick the throttle to the boards, wait momentarily while the system builds boost, release the brake and you’re gone. And it’s all so efficient; no driveline violence or tyre frying, it just jets off the mark and with a lightning quick upshift, it registers some seriously quick numbers. In fact it’s the fastest car we’ve had cover the 80-120km/h time trial, that ultra quick shift key as there is no let-up in the forward thrust. And the stoppers are equally impressive, all four 100-0 panic stops under the 31m mark.
It’s not just a go and whoa machine, for this is right at the pointy end of the sports car pack. The steering is literally alive in your hands, picking up much of the surface changes below yet not greatly affected by untoward kickback. It’s immediate, the car turning instantly and the level of assistance just so. Even the way the wheel feels ‘in the hand’ is just about perfect. With that bend-friendly weight distribution, the front darts into bends and argues tenaciously with the laws of physics; it just will not let go. It seems you can keep turning it in and the front just digs in deeper. It’s very hard to unstick.
The thrust from the V8 is what you’d term ample. The turbos do sully that sort of instant throttle response you experience with the likes of the 5.2-litre V10 in the Audi and Lambo, but it still delivers. It has three operational zones; it cruises quickly enough using just the first 4000rpm, while 4000-6000rpm is for rapid transit before it hits warp drive as it spins up higher, entering another dimension of fast, aided by the unreal upshifts of the ’box. The paddle shifters are a tactile delight, and only
a slight hesitation on multiple gear downshifts is a blemish on the ‘box’s performance.
That you do have to work the engine makes it more of a driver’s machine, and some throttle finesse helps too. Bury the boot out of bends and the traction control triggers into action. While it’s extremely smooth in operation, giving you exactly as much power as the Corsas can handle, you can still feel it and no doubt the intermediate dynamic setting of the ESP would give you that extra freedom. But these limits would be best explored in a more open environment like the race track and we reckon you’re going to have to buy a GT Membership to Hampton Downs or Highlands to really enjoy this car.
The Sports Series is conventionally suspended and overall the three-mode dampers provide a well-considered balance of body control and suppleness. The ride is quite something in Normal mode, Sport brings more control and immediacy to inputs while Track is best left for its intended use. The roll resistance isn’t quite as superbly managed as we remember in the 12C and neither is the 570’s ability to really soak up those dips in the road that can cause the odd ground clearance issue. The brakes are stellar though, the pedal requiring a firm action, giving them almost an unassisted feel, and they have big stopping potential and stamina.
The other noteworthy aspect of the 570 is its civility. The days of sports cars being hard to live with are over and so the 570 is functional at commuter pace as well. As mentioned, the entry is much easier, the doors still opening in dramatic fashion but more easily, and the driving position is excellent, as is the allround vision, well at least for a mid-engined sports car. The seats are low and firm but offer powered adjustment including ample lumbar support and are also available with a memory and comfort access function. Or you can bin all the niceties and go for carbon-backed race seats to save 15kg. The switchgear has a certain tactility to it, though there aren’t actually many buttons, with most functions controlled by the touchscreen infotainment system. There’s even some thought to cabin storage with a useful glovebox, centre bin and door pockets, while the cargo hold up front measures 144L and is reasonably wide and deep.
The ride on city roads is also impressive, supple even, while the transmission in full auto mode is slick, complete with an impressively refined creep function. That it easily slips in and out of reverse is a bonus too. Things like the rear view camera help, as do parking sensors, although these tend to be overly sensitive.
So McLaren again nails the design brief to deliver outstanding performance and dynamics in a slightly more practical and attainable form, though it’s still very much a dream car for most of us.
it’s the fastest car we’ve had cover the 80-120km/h time trial, that ultra quick shift key as there is no let up in the forward thrust
ABOVE - 570 has the performance creds to leave rivals eating its dust. BELOW LEFT - The display on the instrument binnacle changes according to which drive mode you’ve selected. BOTOM LEFT - One of the ‘flying buttresses’. RIGHT- Smiling bumper
The 570 doesn’t quite exhibit the same flat cornering attitude as the hydraulically suspendered models, but it still exhibits a huge amount of front end grip. ABOVE LEFT - Rear is just as dramatic looking
as the front.
ABOVE LEFT - Display subtly changed in Sport mode. BELOW LEFT - The ‘floating tendon’ as seen from above. BELOW RIGHT - Auto ’box works just as well at 5km/h as it does at three digit speeds.