I recently spent 36 hours living with a McLaren 570S.
For a 650S owner, first impressions are very misleading. The 570S looks very much like a junior version of the 650S and the view from the driver’s seat is very familiar. However, to truly appreciate the 570S the first thing you have to realize is it is not a lite version of the 650S. With the 570S, McLaren has created a completely new and different car. As a 650S owner, it takes the better part of a day to get your head around this. Once you do, the experience changes from moderately disappointing to highly enjoyable.
On first impression, there is no mistaking the 570S lineage. When walking slowly around the car, strands of DNA from both the 650S and P1 are clearly visible. From the front and side, the 570S appears to be slightly smaller than the 650S but when checking the actual dimensions this turns out to be an illusion. Where the 650S appears hunkered down and aggressive, the 570S has more of a lightness to its lines. The interior continues with the same lineage approach. The steering wheel, dashboard, and key controls all have a very familiar look and feel to them. Like
on the P1, all the HVAC controls are now embedded in IRIS. I personally prefer the 12C/650S location on the door arm rest. The one major annoyance though is the new electric seat controls, both the placement and layout are a move in the wrong direction.
As the 570S is designed to be a car you can live with everyday, that is exactly how we went about using it. Our first few hours together were spent doing errands in the city along with a few short blasts on the highway. Like all McLaren’s, in traffic it was extremely well behaved. Parking is easy and the doors seem to need less clearance to open than those on its larger siblings. The ride though is very different and this took a bit of time to get used to. While the 650S feels glued to the pavement and dispatches potholes with easy, the 570S feeds back a lot more information on the condition, or lack there of, of the road surface. Net net, the ride quality feels much more conventional. Pushing it a bit, the 570S changes directions brilliantly and confidently. It goes right where you point it. Mash your right foot down and it does pick up speed smartly but not quite with the face contorting warp speed impact of other McLarens. The net on this though is you feel much more comfortable pushing a bit in more situations as you will not be near instantly risking incarceration should you flex your right ankle a tad too far.
The McLaren 570S is technically a sports car. Personally I see it as more as a junior supercar that is as livable as a sports car. This is a tough trick that McLaren has pulled off well. My net takeaway after spending 36 hours and doing a bit over 120 miles in the 570S. This car has to make the people at Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari very nervous. Yes, I even included Ferrari in the group as once the 570S Spider starts production, it is going to take a huge bit out of Ferrari California sales.
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