By Basem Wasef, Contributing Editor
The automotive division of McLaren may be only six years old, but the fledgling automaker has produced some of the most desirable high-dollar exotics in recent memory. Tackling the more accessible end of the market is the new 570S, an ultra-high-performance 2-seater that tackles formidable competitors like the Audi R8 V10, Lamborghini Huracan LP580-2 and Porsche 911 Turbo S ($182,700). Unlike its direct competitors, the 570S boasts a carbon-fiber chassis, which weighs only 165 pounds and lends it a lean and mean power-to-weight ratio – in fact, the best in its class. Coupled with Formula 1-inpsired technology and a focused, track-ready demeanor, the McLaren 570S is a true driver’s car that makes few concessions to comfort or convenience.
You love driving and are ready to make practical concessions in the interest of going fast. You also shouldn’t mind standing out in the crowd, thanks to the 570S’s arresting palette of paint colors and upward sweeping doors.
You favor anonymity over extroversion and would rather be cossetted in comfort, not strapped into the automotive equivalent of a cruise missile on four wheels.
The 570S is an all-new model for McLaren, and though it utilizes a variation of McLaren’s MonoCell carbon-fiber chassis and bears the same engine displacement as the 650S, the engine incorporates 30-percent new parts, and the transmission has been recalibrated for faster shifts.
When you’re behind the wheel of the 2016 McLaren 570S, every input conveys an instant feeling of immediacy – from the directness of the steering and the suspension’s connection with...
... pavement to the sharpness of the throttle response. The 570S uses three driving modes to manage a number of variables including power delivery and suspension damping. Optimal performance is unlocked by holding the ESC button, which switches stability control to Dynamic mode, unleashing the ability to slide the tail out and drift through corners (try this at the track, not at home, kids). Tapping into the 570S’s full spectrum of uncorked power is exhilarating and awe-inspiring (and recommend only for expert drivers), but it also reveals the core of the McLaren brand, which is focused on all corners of the high-performance driving experience, from the feel of the aluminum cockpit controls to the crystal-clear seat-of-the-pants feedback.
McLaren’s use of carbon fiber differentiates the 570S by enabling a featherweight curb weight of 3,186 pounds, which in turn helps it accelerate more quickly, stop shorter, and handle better – essentially making it a better sports car.
7-SPEED TWIN-CLUTCH TRANSMISSION
The 570S’s turbocharged engine may steal the glory, but the V8’s prodigious power would be useless without control – which is exactly what this transmission delivers. Smooth and seamless yet brutally quick, the 7-speed transmission makes the engine shine without being distracting, making it the real powertrain hero.
The 2016 McLaren 570S’s interior may be shockingly minimalist by most standards, with a TFT (thin-film-transistor) LCD display offering faithful re-creations of analog gauges and a single multimedia touch screen floating over a spacious area between the seats. But its supple Nappa leather and Alcantara surfaces counteract the negative space to make it a surprisingly harmonious space that manages to combine form and function rather elegantly. The new 570S’s cabin features the first use of a vanity mirror in any McLaren, and the introduction of tiny, water-bottle-sized cubbies in the doors – small victories for those accustomed to Spartan supercars.
Unlike the wildly curvaceous P1 or the dramatic 650S, the 570S introduces a relatively restrained design language into the McLaren lineup. There are practical features, such as the dihedral (i.e., upward and outwardly swinging) doors that open wider to ease entry into the cabin, as well as aerodynamic touches like the so-called door tendons, which have been inherited from the P1 to keep air close to the body and channel it into the engine intakes. Ultimately, though, the exterior achieves as similar a balance between form and function as does the interior.
While many of its competitors are offered with multiple engine and drivetrain configurations, the McLaren 570S is available with essentially one setup: a twin-turbo V8 coupled with electronically adjustable suspension, as well as carbon-ceramic brakes. Standard equipment includes LED front and rear lighting, extended leather, and a touch-screen multimedia/navigation screen with satellite radio and Bluetooth – as you might expect for a car that starts at $184,900.
Most of the 570S’s options are aesthetic, including numerous wheel options (like the so-called Super-Lightweight Forged Wheels with silver finish, $3,410). McLaren also offers 50 shades of carbon fiber, from a la carte items like the side skirts ($2,520), rear deck ($5,110), and door mirrors ($1,740); carbon can also be ordered in packages ranging from $6,620 to $9,380. Our recommendation? Opt for the Sports Exhaust ($3,860), which draws a gloriously throaty sound from the engine, and the Bowers & Wilkins 12-speaker audio system, which offers the next best thing to the V8’s thrum.
Although it shares an engine displacement and configuration with the 650S (packing a 3.8-liter V8), the twin-turbocharged engine has 30-percent new components and the introduction of equal-length exhaust manifolds that lend the powerplant a more mechanical, aircraft-like sound. The V8 mates to a 7-speed twin-clutch transmission, and both adjust with the stability-control system using one of three driver-selectable modes: Normal, Track or Sport.
3.8-liter turbocharged V8
562 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000-6,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
The 2016 McLaren 570S carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $184,900, placing it in a curious gray zone between relatively accessible exotics like the Porsche 911 Turbo ($151,100) and Acura NSX ($150,000, estimated), and pricier alternatives like the Ferrari 488 GTB ($242,737) and Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 ($237,250). Though the options list doesn’t quite have the potential of boosting the MSRP as dramatically as on a Porsche, expect most 570Ss to transact at around the $205,000 mark. Non-U.S. buyers will be able to purchase a more affordable 540C variant next year, which is expected to cost $20,000 less than the 570S. Though exotics in general tend to fare poorly in the area of residuals, we anticipate the 570S to retain more of its value than the pricier 650S model (which runs at an $80,000 premium) due to higher demand.