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2015 McLaren 570S First Drive

By raccars Published

2015 McLaren 570S Factsheet

Price: £143,250

Engine: 3.8-litre V8, 570hp

Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

0-62mph: 3.2 seconds

Top speed: 204mph

Fuel economy: 26.6mpg

CO2: 249g/km

Boot space: 144 litres

On sale: Now (first deliveries: winter 2015)

Three UK 2015 McLaren 570S facts

1: The 570S is the first model in McLaren’s new Sports Series range of car, which sits below Super Series and Ultimate Series.

2: It’s the first McLaren road car to be fitted with engine stop-start – and CO2 emissions are low enough to escape the top-rate VED band.

3: So in-demand is the 570S, ultra-high retained values mean McLaren’s tailored a finance package that makes it available £995 a month.

What is it?

The McLaren 570S is the first sports car from the relatively new automotive brand most famous for its Formula 1 success. Coming just four years after its first car heralded the rollout of a range of supercars, the 570S takes McLaren into uncharted territory – taking on the world’s best-selling luxury sports car, the Porsche 911.

Whereas previous McLarens such as the 650S have been priced north of £200,000, the 570S starts at £143,250 (and an even cheaper model, the 540C, retails at £126,000). Still serious cash, but also all but identical to what Porsche charges for the 911 Turbo and Turbo S. For this reason, McLaren expects the 570S to become its best-selling car by far, taking the brand over its 4,000 vehicles a year production target.

The 570S is the first model to be sold under the McLaren Sports Series division. This sits below the Super Series 650S and Ultimate Series P1 divisions, and opens up McLaren to competition from the Audi R8, Mercedes-AMG GT and Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

It’s still a modern McLaren at heart: it retains the super-strong F1-style central carbon fibre MonoCell, around which the entire car is built (making it unique in the sector), and keeps the familiar McLaren 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. It’s been thoroughly redesigned and redeveloped though, to appeal to its new target sports car customers.

And RAC Cars was lucky enough to attend the world premier first drive launch in Portugal to find out what it’s like…

Styling and interior

The 570S is clearly part of the McLaren family but is more distinct from the familiar 650S range than first appears in the images. The family face is most recognisable, particularly the P1-style headlights, although the 570S is sharper and pointier than other McLarens: there’s less visual mass, more sporting attitude.

The sides and rear are notably different. Panels take on a skeletal appearance, exposing the black structure beneath; on the side, these inner sections form air intakes and aerodynamic channels (and also a lovely ‘floating’ doorhandle to pull up the famous McLaren dihedral ‘scissor’ doors).

As you move further back, floating rear pillars frame a concave rear screen, sitting above a wonderful black-finish central deck lid through which you can see the potent engine. Voluminous rear wings then wrap around the rear lights to form a sculptural shape that’s more sporting and elegant than the aero-tuned 650S. The rear lights themselves are works of art: thin LED forms, in the middle of which are aero-critical air outlets.

It’s a stunning-looking car that’s very lithe and sporting, made all the more motorsport-like if you choose the various carbon fibre packs that can (expensively) deck out the front splitter, side panels, rear deck and underfloor diffuser in the same sort of material they use to make Jenson Button’s F1 racer.

Inside, McLaren’s made the 570S easier to access than any previous model by cutting away the sills of the Monocell: it’s now a step-in car, that also offers remarkable all-round visibility thanks to big side windows and a deep windscreen (this is actually taller than it is wide…).

The centre console is now floating, rather than the long section of other McLarens, which means stowage space is plentiful: there’s an extra load area behind the front seats, plus a 144-litre luggage compartment in the front. McLaren fit, finish and quality is first-class and operating the 570S is an absolute pleasure.

Most importantly, it feels special to sit in. It’s an event car, one that can be tailored to your exact spec if your pockets are deep enough: it without doubt feels that bit more special and exiting than a 911 or R8, which is exactly what McLaren’s aiming for.

Performance

Performance is incredible. The V8 twin-turbo puts out a monster 570hp and 443lb ft of torque, for 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds. That’s almost hypercar fast, and an extraordinary turn of speed for a £140,000 car. Top speed is 204mph: it’s an excess of pub bragging rights.

It proves sensational on the road. You’d swear this is a supercar, not a sports car, so abundant is the drive, so intense is the way it gathers speed. You can drive around on mid-range revs and feel like a racing driver: when you explore the upper reaches of the rev range, it truly becomes hyperdrive.

The noise is charismatic too, less clinical and more baritone than the 650S. McLaren has worked hard on making it sound good and believes it’s one step ahead of Ferrari here; the Italian brand has only recently switched over to turbo engines for its 488 range and its British rival reckons it still has some learning to do.

Even the seamless-shift seven-speed gearbox works brilliantly. There’s no delay when you tug the paddleshift lever (and not much disincentive to leave it in auto-shift, so intuitive is it). You can control the intensity of the gearshift too: in full-on max-attack mode, the forward-surge punch with each gearchange is incredible.

Handling

The McLaren 570S doesn’t quite handle like a supercar: they’re all about ultimate cornering speed and iron-planted grip in extremes. The 570S is more playful than that, isn’t just about finding out how quickly you can drive through a corner but trying to engage the driver a bit more as they drive through it.

Don’t be mistaken, the limits are still very high indeed, it’s just that you can slide the 570S more easily than a 650S, get the back end out a bit more, feel it squirming and working as you build up speed rather than staying planted under a big squish of aerodynamic downforce – this is why it doesn’t have the aero-focused rear Airbrake of the 650S, for example.

Feel and feedback are first class. The direct, agile steering feels wonderful and the reaction of the front end to it is quick, snappy and delightfully filter-free. The firm carbon-ceramic brakes are also packed with sensations – oh, and are amazingly powerful, even after pounding around high-speed racetracks for lap after lap.

Don’t think the 570S is a stiffly-sprung, punishing sports car either. The ride is purposeful, of course, but the way it breathes over rippled roads with beautifully controlled compliance is quite something – and the high-speed stability is also very reassuring. You can even get an optional front nose-lift system to help it ride speed bumps without grounding out.

Price and value

By any standards, the 570S is an expensive car at £140,000-plus: adding on options will quickly see that spiral to £160,000 or more. But even here, McLaren has a surprise: reflecting the fact many such sports car are purchased on finance, it’s revealed some very competitive PCP leasing rates indeed.

Because the 570S retains an amazing 63% of its list price after three years and 36,000 miles, it’s actually worth £23,000 more than a same-age, same-mileage Porsche 911 Turbo S. This huge difference is how McLaren is able to cap monthly PCP payments to £995 a month – making it more affordable and better value than you may first expect.

Yes, it’s still very pricey. But it’s perhaps not quite as unobtainable as you’d first think.

Fuel economy

McLaren claims average economy of 26.6mpg, pretty impressive given its turn of speed. CO2 emissions of 249g/km both avoid the US Gas Guzzler tax and, here in the UK, the highest-rate VED road fund licence band.

The 570S is the first McLaren to be fitted with engine stop-start, which will have a notable effect on fuel economy in town, although it does also mean you can’t listen to the lovely noise of the exhausts ticking over at idle…

Verdict: 2015 McLaren 570S

The McLaren 570S is an amazing new sports car that’s more able, and more unique, than we ever expected. A welcome new entrant into the sports car sector, it has character by the buckletload, looks fantastic and feels a million dollars to sit in.

The drive is otherworldly and its turn of speed is absolutely breathtaking. McLaren’s entered an all-new sector with the 570S, taking on the Porsche 911 and Audi R8 head-on. And has done so masterfully: the 570S is a real triumph.

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