McLaren 570 GT: new S Handling pack makes it like the 570S all over again | CAR Magazine

McLaren 570 GT: new S Handling pack makes it like the 570S all over again

Published: 10 January 2018 Updated: 10 January 2018

► New pack hardens the softer 570 model
► Costs an additional £4900
► Stock 570GT list price: £154,000

When the McLaren 570GT was first unveiled, the thinking behind the new supercar was simple. If you wanted the style and performance of the 570S, but fancied a more comfortable ride, the 570GT was for you. At least that was the idea. Announced today, McLaren has unveiled a brand new S Handling Pack which makes the 570GT a little harder and stiffer – a bit like the 570S all over again…

Wait, what?

Yes, that’s correct. The new new pack is designed to give the softer 570GT a sharper feel, much like the 570S it’s based on. McLaren says the new pack will add a further £4900 onto the 570GT’s £157,000 asking price, and includes new uprights, harder springs (15% firmer on the front and 10% at the rear) and quicker steering.

On the wheels, new Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres replace the stock 570GT’s P Zeros, while ceramic brakes are ticked, too. Finally, the stability management software from the 570S is included in the Sport Pack.

Why has this happened?

While the 570GT and the 570S are similar on paper – handling aside – the GT variant of the junior supercar comes with slightly different looks and a good deal more luggage space. It’s possible that buyers wanted the best of both worlds, with practicality and performance, and McLaren has delivered.

McLaren says up to 80% of 570 sales are currently the 570GT, and the Woking-based brand expects 60% of sales will now be specced with the S Handling Pack.

It’s a little convoluted, but if there’s demand and the customers are happy, it’s not that bad, is it? Read on for our original thoughts on the 570GT, and keep scrolling for our review.

McLaren 570GT: everything you need to know

As the name suggests, the 570GT is a version of the 570 that’s designed to be better suited for long-distance trips and everyday usage.

So, in comes a redesigned roof and tail-end structure, a rear load bay that’s accessible through a glass hatch, and a host of trim and equipment upgrades. McLaren’s also softened the GT’s suspension and steering slightly, improving comfort and reducing fatigue, while a quieter exhaust further serves to make the new 570GT more civilised.

All of this does result in a slight increase in weight, and a minor reduction in outright performance, but McLaren claims the GT still retains ‘the supercar levels of engagement experienced on the 570S coupe’.

The new GT, which will cost £154,000, is the third car in the Sports Series line-up. It sits alongside the entry-level 540C Coupe and performance-focused 570S Coupe and will be joined by a Spider version in 2017. There won’t be a 2+2 model any time soon; McLaren says that would require a complete redesign of the car’s MonoCell underpinnings, which isn’t viable.

How has McLaren made the 570GT more comfortable and practical?

While we’ve never found the Sports Series of McLarens to be particularly unforgiving on cross-continental jaunts, the company’s identified areas that could be improved to make the car a better proposition for those entertaining higher mileages or more regular usage.

First and foremost is the addition of the rear load bay, which is accessed by an all-new opening glass hatch at the rear of the car. Underneath the carbonfibre-framed hatch you’ll find a leather-lined, 220-litre storage area, which previously would have simply been an empty void over the engine bay.

McLaren 570GT

This, in conjunction with the existing storage area in the nose, now means the McLaren offers a total of 350 litres of storage space. Andy Palmer, head of Sports Series at McLaren and not to be confused with Aston’s Andy Palmer, is quick to point out that this means that the 570S offers more storage space than a Ford Focus – which has a 316-litre boot.

While on the numerical front he’s perfectly correct, it’s clear that the Ford’s boot would be considerably more practical in the real world. Nevertheless, the additional storage space will come in handy for McLaren owners heading out with luggage, as there’s easily enough room in which to stow a few bags.

If, on the off chance, you’re wondering why Palmer chose the Ford as a comparison, it’s because he was previously engineering director at Ford and is eminently conscious of the fact that the Focus isn’t that practical. That’s because it had to use a platform shared with the Kuga, which was designed to accommodate a powered rear axle, raising the boot floor and impeding storage space. Fortunately, for us, that also meant that Ford could build the all-wheel-drive Focus RS.

McLaren 570GT

The addition of the rear load bay has entailed some structural changes to the McLaren, including the deletion of the 570S’s distinctive flying buttresses. The rear bulkhead has also been modified and insulation has been added to prevent your shopping or luggage being immolated by the twin-turbo V8. The 570S shares some panels with the GT, as you’d expect, but the upper structure is significantly different. 

It’s claimed that the 570GT’s handling shouldn’t be compromised, though, as the modifications have resulted in a stiffer structure than the 570S’s. If you’re in a non-UK market, by the way, then the opening direction of the hatch – which can be unlocked via a new button on the McLaren’s key fob – will be reversed to ensure you can easily load it from the safety of the pavement. Just try not to scratch the paint as you reach over it. 

McLaren’s also added a panoramic glass roof, which brightens the interior and neatly finishes off the revamped exterior look integrating neatly with the new rear hatch. The roof’s tinted and insulated, though, to cut down heat, light and noise intrusion.

Other features include extended leather trim, a leather headliner, soft-close doors, an electrically adjustable steering column, parking sensors and electric heated seats with a memory function – all of which will serve to improve the GT’s every day usability and comfort. It features McLaren’s eight-speaker ‘Audio Plus’ stereo, too, as opposed to the 570S’s four-speaker set-up.

Lastly, it gets a 3dBA quieter exhaust system compared to the 570S. You’ll be able to drive it away at the crack of dawn with less chance of waking up your neighbours, as a result, and not be left wanting earplugs when you’re making progress on a quiet Autobahn.

McLaren 570GT

More kit must mean more weight – is it slower?

Adding the extra trim, kit and structure has resulted in a moderate increase in kerb weight. McLaren claims a dry weight of 1350kg for the 570GT, compared to a dry weight of 1313kg for the lightest 570S – a difference of 37kg.

Consequently the 570GT is only slightly slower than its performance-focused brother.  It’ll dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in 3.4sec, compared to the 570S’s 3.1sec. It’ll still get from 0-124mph in under 10 seconds, too, taking 9.8sec, and will only be trailing the conventional 570S by a few fractions of a second at that point.

The top speed remains unchanged, however, at 204mph. You’ll need more room to bring it to a halt, though, as the GT gets a road-friendly braking set-up that features iron discs, as opposed to the 570S’s carbon-ceramic items. Stand on the anchors at 124mph and the S will slam to a halt in 126m, whereas the GT will need 133m.

More prominently, McLaren’s softened the 570S’s suspension and steering to make it more compliant and less demanding on the road. The spring rates have been reduced, compared to the standard car, by 15 percent at the front and 10 percent at the back. It still packs the same independent adaptive dampers and front and rear anti-roll bars as the 570S, though.

The steering’s also been softened slightly, with a reduction in ratio of two percent, which McLaren states ‘smooths out driver inputs at high cruising speed’. All in, it should make the 570GT less tiring to drive – which is the exact desired effect. 

Otherwise, the 570GT features the same Ricardo-built powertrain as the 570S, so under the rear deck you’ll still find the 3.8-litre, twin-turbocharged M838T E V8.

It’s unchanged from its configuration in the 570S, so continues to produce 562bhp and 443lb ft, all of which is squirreled away to the rear wheels by a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and an open differential. Economy and consumption are similarly unchanged, with McLaren claiming 26.6mpg on the combined cycle and emissions of 249g/km of CO2.

Bespoke 19in front, 20in rear cast alloy wheels are standard, while specifically designed Pirelli P Zero tyres feature integral noise suppression to improve rolling refinement.

McLaren 570GT

What’s the new 570GT going to cost me?

Predictably, because it’s significantly better equipped than a 570S, the new GT variant is also more expensive. You’ll pay £154,000 for a new McLaren 570GT, as opposed to the £143,250 commanded by the standard Coupe – a hike of £10,750.

That’s not an entirely unreasonable hike, though, given the upgrades throughout the car. Most buyers, at this price, will consider the difference a moot point – in for a penny, in for a pound, after all – and it’ll likely be an easily justified premium for those keen to use their 570 on a more regular basis.

Launching a more docile, comfortable 570 will also likely draw in buyers who would have previously only considered the likes of the Audi R8 or Porsche 911, which should further help McLaren establish itself a solid foundation for the future.

The company sold 1460 cars in 2015, around 3000 in 2015, and plans to build 4000 in 2016 – a level which it then doesn’t intend to exceed, to maintain a degree of exclusivity. The new GT is expected to account for 25% of the total sales figure for this year.

Production of the new McLaren 570GT starts in July and deliveries will begin in late 2016. The car will also be on display at the 2016 Geneva motorshow, alongside the recently revealed new MSO versions of the P1 and 675LT

Read more of CAR’s 2016 Geneva motor show coverage here

Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 Geneva motor show

570S on the left, 570GT on the right

McLaren 570S: full technical specifications

Full McLaren 570GT technical specifications

By Lewis Kingston

Formerly of this parish. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car