McLaren 570S Spider vs. 650S Spider

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On paper, comparing the McLaren 570S Spider to the 650S Spider doesn’t seem like much of a fair fight. The 570S is a current generation “Sports Series” car while the 650S is the previous generation of the “Super Series” McLarens.  The 650S has a 79 bhp advantage along with active aero and McLaren’s brilliant ProActive Chassis Control suspension.  The 570S utilizes a more traditional double wishbone suspension set up along with fixed aero.  So why the comparison, well today the two McLarens sit at the same general price point and I just spent several days using a 570S Spider as a daily driver while our 650S Spider ( Our McLaren History) was in for its annual service.

In the case of the two McLaren’s, how you intend to use the car is critical to driving choice.  The three main buckets I would consider when choosing between these two are: track day car, daily driver, and weekend/road trip vehicle.  In each of these areas, both the 570S and 650S have very different strengths and weaknesses.  In addition, half a decade separates the two in terms of their original development. The 650S is an evolution off of the 12C while the 570S was a completely new design.  

As a track car, I believe the choice is fairly straight forward.  Brake steer, active aero, and 79 more bhp form a pretty bullet proof argument in favor of the 650S Spider.  The 650S Spider will be noticeable quicker on the straights, with the air brake you can stay on the power a bit longer, and you should be able to get on the power earlier coming out of a corner.  Where the 570S has a tiny bit of an edge is in weight and agility. 

While I have used our 650S Spider as a daily driver for almost four years now ( 1300 Days with the 650S Spider) after several days driving around in the 570S Spider, it the latter car I would choose. While it doesn’t ride quite as well as the 650S Spider, the lower sills make it the far easier car to get in and out of.  In addition, the doors on the 570S Spider need less clearance which makes parking easier. The world infamous McLaren infotainment/climate control system is also slightly better in the younger junior series McLaren.  The difference in performance is irrelevant for commuting as you are not going to get near even 5/10ths their capabilities.

Most of the plusses for choosing the 570S Spider as preferred daily driver disappear in the weekend/road trip bucket.  For a weekend car, the easy of entry and egress is far less relevant and the performance advantages of the 650S Spider come back into play.  Whether its driving hard across northern Scotland, down the autobahn, or through the Rocky Mountains, the extra bhp, ProActive Chassis Control, and active aero on the 650S Spider will always give it the advantage. Luggage space on both is very good for a car in this class so that is a wash.  While both are plenty fast, the 570S Spider doesn’t have the same since of urgency as the 650S Spider when you bury your right foot.  

Looking at other areas, I do prefer the dashboard and controls layout in the 650S but to be honest, that may just be because it is more familiar.  I’m not a fan of the floating center console infotainment screen on the 570S nor the square central console buttons.  The ones on the 650S are more intuitive and easier to find just by touch.  With the roof up, he 570S Spider’s passenger cabin feels a bit more spacious and lighter than the rather dark 650S Spider’s interior.

It’s definitely a tough choice between the two McLarens and you can’t really go wrong with either.  In the end it basically comes down to performance vs. comfort. In addition you need to decide if you need, and are comfortable, with that extra level of performance.  Personally, I know which I would choose.  Our Mclaren 650S Spider will be around for a long time. Many thanks to McLaren Dallas for the loan of the 570S Spider.

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May 2019

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