This, according to McLaren, is an entry-level car, sitting in its Sports Series. An entry-level sports car. Right.
To be fair, you get aluminium bodywork rather than composite, and there’s no active aerodynamics nor linked hydraulic suspension. Might just as well get a Fiesta then.
Except you do get a carbonfibre tub which attaches to a 3.8-litre V8 with two turbochargers. To slow it down there are carbon ceramic brakes and to steer it there is electrohydraulic steering, and to aid handling there are various drive modes for the adaptive dampers.
And this McLaren is fast. In our tests it covered the quarter mile 0.4sec faster than a Porsche 911 Turbo S. A time of 11.0sec is absolutely mighty, and the way it accelerates tingles your senses as the torque gives way to gut-wrenching acceleration on the way to the 8000rpm redline. It’s just a huge thing when you put your foot down, aided by the lightning-fast gearshifts.
There are immense levels of grip, more than most drivers could ever unseat. Handling is really very much on the firm side of comfortable, just too much really. But that’s with the Sport or Race modes dialled in. Dial in Normal and the handling is simply a revelation. It’s fluid, perfectly damped, alive, responsive and very stable at all speeds. You can push the tyres seriously hard but they still just grip and grip.
In fact you know quite a lot about the tyres because the on-board drive computer tells you in real time about the tyres’ temperature and pressure, so you can keep them working at their peak.
You could get seriously out of shape if you’re silly, but you’d have to be very silly. This is not a machine to treat as a toy, it’s a serious track tool that will plaster a huge smile on your face. Or a rictus of fear, depending on the circumstances.
This is a track tool, no question, but McLaren have also put a lot of effort into making this a realistic car for the road. It’s a lot more practical inside, with a halfway sensible boot in the front. And you can even get in and out via those dihedral doors which are never going to make you feel less than special.
The main downside in the cabin is the infotainment system, which McLaren build themselves. Perhaps they shouldn’t. We had problems with simple connectivity and then lost sat nav and radio functions entirely, which isn’t very smart.
But, overall, this is such an amazingly stylish, powerful and committed car. The £143,250 base price puts it in the same bracket as its competitors like the Audi R8 or Porsche 911 Turbo S. See one of these 570S cars on the road, though, and you’ll know what it is, and you won’t be thinking you’re looking at an entry-level sports car.
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