McLaren 570S


Debut: 2015
Maker: McLaren
Predecessor: No



 Published on 23 Dec 2015
All rights reserved. 


For a long time it was very difficult to break into the high-end sports car market dominated by Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin etc. Lotus kept losing money for many years. TVR went bankrupt. The same went for Spyker, Ascari, Artega, Saleen, Gumpert (maker of Apollo), Noble (almost) and Farbio. In recent memory, apart from the ultra-exclusive Pagani and Koenigsegg, there were hardly any successful new entries into the sports car market. Until McLaren arrived.

Since its rebirth in 2011, McLaren has been growing healthily, no matter in terms of reputation or sales numbers. Last year, it delivered 1649 cars, 1401 of which were 650S and the rest were P1. Earlier this year, it added the limited edition 675LT, and by now another 500 units of 675LT Spider have been all snapped up. I guess Ferrari would not have believed that its biggest threat in the next few years would come from the Great Britain instead of its neighbors around Modena. However, Ron Dennis' ambition goes beyond the leagues of supercars. He wants to invade also the territory of high-end everyday sports cars, which is until now held by Porsche 911 Turbo but is increasingly fragmented by the likes of Audi R8, Aston Martin V12 Vantage and Mercedes-AMG GT (to be joined with Honda NSX as well). Prices of this class normally spans from £110,000 to £150,000, but equally important is that the car must be practical and comfortable enough for daily commute, not just an occasional drive to pubs or a blast on Sundays. Can the F1-originated company manage that goal? I am a bit doubtful...



The new 570S is that entry-level McLaren. It is not just an afterthought. From the outset McLaren planned 3 tiers of sports cars – the Super series (MP4-12C / 650S / 675LT), the Ultimate series (P1 / P1 GTR) and entry-level Sport series. As revealed in early interviews, Dennis wanted its volume to saturate at 4000 units a year. To meet that goal, the Sport series will be crucial. The price of 570S starts from £143,000 at its home market, some £50,000 lower than 650S. It will be joined with variants like 540C (detuned version for less demanding drivers at £126,000), Spider and a lightweight/hardcore version in the mold of 675LT. However, changes of those cars will be minor. If the 570S is not good enough, then not much can be done to save the game. In other words, it is the most important product to McLaren.

Though dubbed as the entry-level model, the 570S is about the same size as the 650S. It is merely 21 mm longer and 7 mm wider, while wheelbase is identical. This is not much of a surprise as it is built on the same platform as all other McLaren models. It shares much the same Monocell carbon-fiber tub, although modified to have lower sills for easier entry. Its Graziano 7-speed twin-clutch gearbox is carried over, as are the Ricardo-developed M838T-series engine, the suspension arms and hubs, steering and braking system. McLaren said only 10 percent parts are common with its pricier sibling, but hey, try developing new parts from clean sheet and you will see how much more costly and time-consuming it will be. After all, a screw with one additional thread is still regarded as a new part.



You can see also the visual link with the existing McLarens, since all of them are designed by Frank Stephenson. The body profile is the same, i.e. low slung, with a slim nose, deep and large windscreen and flowing waist line. If anything, the 570S is even more dramatic than the 650S and 675LT. Sometimes it could be dramatic to the point of discomfort. The 570S is definitely head-turning, but it is not a natural beauty. Its nose and tail have strong family resemblance to P1. The blackened, NACA-style side ducts are also quite stylish. Nevertheless, there is little coherence or elegance in the details. Moreover, the rear design is a bit underwhelming. It employs an upright, concave rear window which has little aesthetic to speak of. The flying buttresses would have looked much better if they were larger and the butt was not so big. In the 1980s, Ferrari used sharp flying buttresses and flat engine lid to emphasize the mid-engine layout with excellent effect. Unfortunately, the McLaren fails to do so. Admittedly, its V8 engine has an unusually tall intake plenum thus makes a low engine lid impossible.

Most of skins, including the butterfly doors, are made of aluminum sheets instead of carbon-fiber in the case of 650S. This reduces not only production costs but also repair costs. Moreover, forming in aluminum should enable tighter panel gaps and crisper edges, both are crucial to deliver a higher sense of build quality to match its rivals. Having said that, I think the McLaren still has a long road to go before it could match the quality feel of Porsche, Audi or Mercedes, no matter the panel fit or paint finish.



A similar story can be said for the cabin. Despite of a more modern design and softer, warmer trims, it doesn’t feel as well put together as the German cars or as special as Aston. McLaren’s infotainment system, displayed through a smallish portrait touchscreen, is still very basic in function, which is understandable for something designed by a company this small. Less convincing are the cheap switchgears and sun visors, which would be disgraceful in cars costing half as much.

Is it more spacious than the 650S? Not really, as the Monocell tub remains the same size. Compared with a Porsche 911 or Audi R8, this place is noticeably narrower. The driver and the passenger sit closer together, split by a narrow transmission tunnel. Yes, the cabin is a bit easier to enter than other McLarens, because the door sills have been lowered by 85 mm at the foremost point. That said, to get out of the car your legs are still blocked by the wheel well, blame to the deeply cab-forward design, so you still need some gymnastic training to evacuate from the cockpit. McLaren’s talk of easy access is overstated.

On the plus side, the 570S offers expansive forward visibility through its deep windscreen and slim A-pillars (rear and rear quarter views remain poor though). The driver seat is well shaped and the sitting position is perfect. Moreover, for the first time ever McLaren offers cup holders, a glovebox, a storage box under the center armrest and cubbies in the doors. Behind the seats there is space for soft bags or golf club, while the front boot is quite generous for a mid-engined car.



To enable the lower price, apart from carbon-fiber skins it has also ditched the active aerodynamic aids and PCC hydraulically interconnected adaptive suspension. The former is replaced with a fixed rear spoiler while the latter is replaced with anti-roll bars and conventional adaptive dampers. However, ceramic brakes remain to be standard fitted in order to match 911 Turbo S and Audi R8 V10 Plus (540C gets steel brakes though). Predictably, the carbon-tub McLaren is easily the lightest among its rivals. In the lightest form it weighs just over 1400 kg, nearly 200 kg and 150 kg lighter than the Porsche and Audi, respectively, although it does lack 4WD.

Meanwhile, the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 with codename M838TE pumps out 570 horsepower at 7500 rpm and 443 lbft of torque from 5000-6500 rpm. This is 80 ponies and 57 lbft shy of the 650S, but it is remarkably close to the original MP4-12C. McLaren quotes 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds and 0-124 mph in 9.5 seconds, while top speed is 204 mph. In other words, it is the fastest car in the class.

As always, the Ricardo V8 has a linear power delivery. It can be revved to an incredible 8500 rpm, but at low rpm its throttle response is a bit soft by the standards of modern turbocharged engines. Turbo lag is quite obvious at low revs, a sharp contrast to the almost lag-free Ferrari 488GTB or the VTG-turbo 911. It needs about 3500 rpm to wake up. Fortunately, by then there is still plenty to go. It gets frenetic from 4500 rpm and is willing to spin beyond 8000 rpm. Nevertheless, the soundtrack remains flat through the revs, just a loud monotone noise mixed with wastegate whooshes, which is still the Achilles’ heel of the Ricardo V8. The M838TE employs different exhaust manifolds to give a more docile manner at town speed.



Driving leisurely in Normal mode, the car does feel more relaxed than its faster siblings. The engine noise is subdued. The gearbox shifts without fuss in automatic mode. The suspension also works well in town, although not quite as supple as the hydraulic suspension. Nevertheless, you are still annoyed with the road noise generated by the carbon-fiber tub. Stiff it might be, the structure sounds hollow and thinly insulated. The 570S still fails to match the class standards for refinement and practicality.

However, it is unquestionably sportier than its rivals. While it doesn’t offer as much power and torque, it has the highest power-to-weight ratio, and this reflects in the pace it accelerates and maneuvers. To extract the mid-range power, you tend to drop a couple of gears and drive it harder. In return, it storms the field. 911 Turbo S is already jaw-dropping fast, but the junior McLaren feels faster still. On fast country roads, it is so easy to keep up with the Porsche, at least when the weather is fine. While the 911’s tail moves around a lot, the 570S is pin-sharp. Its light nose turns in accurately. Its good old electro-hydraulic steering is confidence inspiring and reassuringly quick at 2.5 turns from lock to lock. Moreover, without troubled by tractive force or motorized assistance, the steering transmits honest feel to your hands, something many modern sports cars have forgotten (Audi especially).

Driving quickly on fast roads, the 570S feels light and agile as you would expect for a mid-engined sports car. It just possesses more power hence a performance almost matching junior supercars. On a fast race track, you will be easier to find its limits. It uses narrower Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres than the 650S thus it generates less grip (let alone the semi-slick Trofeo tires of 675LT). Push too hard and its front wheels give up first, pushing the nose wide earlier than its siblings. However, exactly because of the reduced grip, you have to drive with more alert, adjusting the steering and throttle more busily. This keeps you more involved thus it is actually the more interactive driving machine – the same can be said to a Mazda MX-5, just at a different scale again. In other words, it trades some cornering speed for fun.



The chassis is well balanced. However, as McLaren still insists not to employ a limited slip differential – no matter mechanical or electronic – and instead it relies on the “Brake Steer” system to tame oversteer, it is no surprise to see the chassis is not set up to play sideways at wish. With less power on offer, it is also quite difficult to induce oversteer. This hurts a little bit its playfulness.

Having ditched the sophisticated hydraulic suspension for a conventional setup, the 570S does not ride with the versatility of 650S. It is firmer at low speed, and it does not absorb mid-corner bumps as effortlessly as its sibling, resulting in lower cornering limit. That said, its ride is still compliant enough to topple many rivals, all the while without sacrificing excellent body control. The only real problem in the dynamic aspect is the brake pedal feel, which is hard, numb and difficult to modulate. This could be sorted out as production starts though.

All in all, the McLaren junior model is a welcomed addition to the increasingly growing class of high-end everyday sports cars. It brings a really lightweight design and a thrilling driving experience rarely seen in this class. It is not as refined, impeccably built or as practical to use as others, but it is also faster, sportier and more akin to the supercar roots. It makes the mighty 911 Turbo S feels a little tamed, an Audi R8 Plus dull, Aston Martin V12 Vantage S old-fashioned and AMG GT S a bit hot-rod. The only rival more thrilling to drive in my mind is 911 GT3 RS, but you can argue if it is really a direct rival to McLaren, because the Porsche is not quite as fast in straight line. Until Ferrari launches the rumored new Dino, the McLaren should have a unique place in the market.
Verdict: 
 Published on 1 Jun 2016 All rights reserved. 
570GT


Were it built by Ferrari, it would have been called Lusso. Yes, the new McLaren 570GT is essentially the luxurious version of 570S. It intends to broaden the customer appeal of the so-called “sport series”, stretching it towards the market position of Porsche 911 Turbo S and Audi R8 Plus. This means, it has to be more practical and more comfortable to drive than the 570S, all the while leaving much of the performance and handling intact. Expectedly, this car is slightly more expensive than the original, starting from £154,000. If you add the essential ceramic brakes, it will become £160,000, sitting between the aforementioned rivals and the much faster Ferrari 488 GTB. If you have so much money to spend, you may also consider a Bentley Continental GT Speed, Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, Ferrari California T, Mercedes-AMG GT or even SL63, but I think those considering the McLaren should have higher expectation for performance and handling, so its key rivals remain to be the Porsche and Audi.

Externally, the 570GT differs from 570S in 2 ways. Firstly, it employs a tinted glass roof like the P1 supercar. Pagani Zonda was the first to make good use of panoramic glass roof to liberate the ambience of a supercar cockpit. The same trick works just as well in the new McLaren. It feels significantly more spacious than the 570S even though the actual volume is unchanged. Secondly, the ungainly flying buttresses of 570S have been converted to a glass rear screen. Not only the sleeker fastback improves aesthetic a lot, the rear screen is actually a side-hinged glass hatch door giving access to an additional luggage space installed above the engine compartment. This offers an extra 220 liters of luggage space if you are willing to sacrifice rearward visibility. It can swallow soft bags or even a small set of golf clubs, but if you drive the 570GT to supermarkets, beware not to put chocolate or frozen food there. Mind you, the car still has a 150-liter front boot.



Inside, the 570 Lusso gets full leather trim and upgraded equipment, such as heated power seats, an upgraded audio system and a dual-zone climate control which is essential to cope with the extra heat coming from the transparent roof. There is also more sound insulation employed to keep the cabin calmer. The engine is unchanged, but it opts for a quieter exhaust. To reduce road noise, the car employs Pirelli P-Zero rubbers instead of the noisier Corsa tires. Predictably, the suspension setting is softer. Spring rates are lowered by 15% up front and 10% at the rear. The steering ratio is set a scant 2% slower to better suit the GT role. Cast iron brakes replace the carbon-ceramic items on 570S in a bid to make the braking response more linear while saving money. The aluminum-hub discs measure 370 mm front and 350 mm rear, each clamped by 4-piston calipers. Not that they are weak, but considering the performance the car offers, it deserves ceramic brakes as standard.

Most road testers quoted a dry weight of 1350 kg, which is merely 37 kg more than the 570S. However, this is the dry weight with all lightweight options taken, such as ceramic brakes, carbon-fiber seats and lightweight cabin trims, i.e. stuffs that could reduce comfort and working against the intention of the car. A standard 570GT tips the scale at 1400 kg before filling fluids, or 87 kg more than 570S. This explains why it takes an extra 0.2 second to go from zero to 60 mph, and 0.3 second longer to 124 mph. That said, this is still a junior supercar, with an ability to beat a Ferrari 458 Speciale on straight and eventually reach 204 mph.



On the road, the 570GT is slightly easier to drive than the 570S. Is it really a GT? Of course not. Unlike the case of Porsche and Audi, you have to overcome the McLaren’s high door sill and small aperture to get into its carbon-fiber tub. Once you have dropped onto the low-mounted seats, there is enough space all round but it is never quite as generous as its rivals, despite the brighter ambience. The new seats are not as comfortable as you would expect for a grand tourer. The infotainment system of McLaren is still very basic. Noise level might be a bit lower than before, but there is constant road thrum coming from the carbon tub, as is from the tires. Moreover, the turbocharged V8 still makes a dull exhaust noise, albeit quieter than before.

Ride quality, however, is excellent. The 570S already rides very well on most sorts of roads. The GT rides slightly smoother still. Only sharper bumps will reveal that it is not exactly up to the level of a 650S with hydraulically connected suspension. Cruising on highway is another thing it does very well, thanks to good directional stability and a powertrain that settles in the low rev range.

But most impressive is still the handling, because it keeps excellent body control, agility and communication of the 570S. Frankly, you cannot feel the steering any slower or less incisive. Neither is the composure hurt by the softer springs or the extra weight. It feels light, accurate, grippy and predictable, no less appealing than the 570S. It is not as rapid or as throttle-steerable as Ferrari 488, but that’s exactly what makes the McLaren easier and safer to drive on public roads. It remains a great junior supercar, if not as GT as McLaren would have you believed.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis

Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout
Suspension features
Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
0-124 mph (sec)
0-150 mph (sec)
570S
2015
Mid-engined, RWD
Carbon-fiber tub, aluminum
subframes
Aluminum
4530 / 1915 / 1202 mm
2670 mm
V8, 90-degree
3799 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
-
570 hp / 7500 rpm
443 lbft / 5000-6500 rpm
7-speed twin-clutch
All: double-wishbones
Adaptive damping
F: 225/35ZR19
R: 285/35ZR20
1313 kg dry / 1409 kg kerb
204 mph (c)
3.1 (c) / 2.9* / 3.1** / 2.8***
6.3 (c) / 6.1* / 6.4** / 6.1***
9.5 (c)
13.9* / 13.9***
570GT
2016
Mid-engined, RWD
Carbon-fiber tub, aluminum
subframes
Aluminum
4530 / 1915 / 1202 mm
2670 mm
V8, 90-degree
3799 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
-
570 hp / 7500 rpm
443 lbft / 5000-6500 rpm
7-speed twin-clutch
All: double-wishbones
Adaptive damping
F: 225/35ZR19
R: 285/35ZR20
1400 kg dry / 1495 kg kerb
204 mph (c)
3.3 (c)
6.6 (c)
9.8 (c)
-






























Performance tested by: *C&D, **Autocar, ***R&T





AutoZine Rating

570S / 570GT



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