► Flat-out in new McLaren 570S
► First 'Sports Series' model
► £140k, 562bhp and 205mph
This 570S is the new baby McLaren that completes the company’s three-tier line-up. The first of the Sports Series cars (a Spider, Longtail and rumoured GT-themed version come later) it slots one rung below the Super Series models (650S and 675LT) and two below the Ultimate Series cars (P1 and P1 GTR). But like those more esoteric cars it uses a variation of the same carbon fibre chassis and 3.8-litre twin turbo V8, and still features those trademark up-and-out dihedral doors. Yet it costs £143,250 and the detuned, less opulent 540C that follows in spring 2016 costs £126,000, compared to almost £200k for a 650S.
So what’s the trick?
The bodywork’s aluminium rather than carbon, it swaps McLaren’s clever hydraulic suspension for more conventional springs and anti roll bars, and power is capped at 562bhp (or 570ps, hence the name) compared with 641bhp for the 650S. Interestingly though, it’s no smaller than that car. In fact, it’s at least as big inside and over 20mm longer on the outside.
How quick is it?
With 562bhp and a 1440kg kerbweight? Brisk doesn’t really cover it. Zero to 62mph takes 3.2sec, compared with 3.0sec for the 650S and by 124mph the gap has grown to 1.1sec. You feel in your gut that it’s not as savage, but the 9.5sec the 570S needs still means it decimates everything in the class. Lamborghini’s near £200k Huracan takes 9.9sec and its 205mph top speed is one solitary mph higher.
But isn’t it just going to cannibalise sales from its big brother?
McLaren thinks it’ll attract an entirely new audience instead. A determination to make the 570S viable everyday transport resulted in a cut-down chassis to make getting in and out easier, A-pillars being pushed outwards to help visibility and more storage cubbies than the Tupperware section at John Lewis. The boot is big, there’s a handy luggage shelf behind the seats and the IRIS infotainment system now features handy shortcut keys for the main functions.
What’s the best thing about it?
Styling that’s so much more contemporary and together than the 650’s. And the chassis is fantastic, the electro-hydraulic steering worthy of particular praise for its excellent feel and total lack of German-style autobahn sneeze factor around the dead ahead. The ride still feels impressively supple too, but it’s no match for the 650S with its Proactive Chassis Control suspension.
For many though, the price will be the 570S’s biggest draw. No, not the £143,250, but the relatively modest £995 you’d need to find every month (after putting down a scary £39k deposit) if you signed up to McLaren’s own finance scheme.
And the worst?
There’s some turbo lag to deal with that makes you feel less connected to the car than a naturally aspirated engine like Lamborghini’s V10 would. And McLaren’s parts team better get stocked up on the stupid brake cooling ducts that hang way below the wishbones where they’re begging to be obliterated by kerbs and potholes. Also, while it would be unfair to get too hung up final quality on what was a pre-production test car, it’ll be interesting to see if the whistling aircon, heavy brake pedal in traffic and boomy 100mph+ engine note, all of which McLaren said it was aware of, really will be fixed in time for the first deliveries.
For years Porsche had the premium sub-supercar market to itself but the action has really hotted up over the last decade. The 991, Audi’s second-generation R8 and Jaguar’s F-type R are all credible cars and we know that Ferrari is working on a new Dino due in 2018. Right now though, 570S, a proper supercar for sports car money, looks like the pick of the lot.