McJu­nior

McLaren 570S

NZ Autocar - - Contents - Words Kyle Cas­sidy Pho­tos Tom Gas­nier

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

on dis­play.

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.

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