When Less is More » 2016 McLaren 570S

15-Mar-2016
Tested

The McLaren 570S is out, and the company calls it a sports car according to its latest hierarchy. With this kind of performance, technology and sophistication, we wouldn’t dare to call it entry-level, yet this is where the range of McLaren’s thoroughbreds starts at. Simpler, lighter and more analogue than the rest of them, the 570S is engineered to appeal to drivers, rather than to anyone who can afford its price tag. Less space-age technology and materials, more mechanical components, more genuine feel and more fun at the wheel, all of it driver-oriented and even more practical.

Still instantly recognizably as a McLaren, the 570S is a tad less dramatic than its siblings, although still far from subtle. True, the new model does away with the wing or any kind of active aerodynamics, but makes it all up thanks to its dynamic styling. The P1-inspired front, in particular, oozes purpose and aggressiveness, with the nose designed to deliver the best in downforce and cooling, thereby reducing drag. Extensive use of carbon-fibre and dynamic aero blades help maintain an aura of sophistication, and reminds us of who dominates the field of composite materials."

On the side, intricate shapes and surfaces ensure visual drama, aerodynamic efficiency and improved cooling. The cabin is now tear-shaped, while the "floating tendon" splits air flow and helps channel part of it into the side intakes while helping to minimize drag and add downforce. Finally, the rear is possibly the most exciting and individualistic view, with little resemblance to other McLaren models. The absence of a wing called for different shaping of the roof, rear fenders, the tail and the complex diffuser, all designed to work in unison to keep the car glued to the road. Also new is the rear fascia, and there is a new location for the exhaust pipes; the multiple vertical blades of the diffuser add somewhat of an endurance racer look to the rear view of the car."

The new model retains the dihedral doors, but with the redesigned carbon monocoque, access to the cabin is now easier and requires less athletic abilities. More room, better visibility and finally some more convenience significantly improve the practicality of the 570S - in case that is a criteria you'd consider when buying a McLaren. Add to that a premium audio and infotainment system, comfortable leather seats and the amenities already available in its competitors and you get the picture - the McLaren 570s is the firm's most practical and best equipped car to date, very much usable around town, although not an ideal daily driver."

On the performance front, it is important to highlight the absence of active aerodynamics, thus the introduction of adaptive dampers and sway bars, all delivering a more analogue, direct feel. The detuned engine delivers 562 horsepower, but you'll hardly ever feel the difference, thanks to the reduced weight of the car and great overall performance when compared to the more powerful models."

Our Mantis Green tester was equipped with the bucket seats, so there goes practicality and ease of access, but at least the race car feel was significantly boosted. The few hours spent at the wheel were mostly spent dodging Dubai's notorious traffic, with only a few rare opportunities to stretch the legs of the green arrow. Fully armed and ready to race, the 570S effortlessly leaps off the line and the turbocharged 3.8L motor would, as already experienced in other models, pull hard all the way till the red line, testing your nerves and making you upshift earlier than you should most of the times."

Lighter and simpler than its siblings, the 570S is a different kind of driving experience. Still very much a modern McLaren, the new model takes advantage of its setup to deliver more feel, great feedback and increased driving fun. Thanks to a more mechanical suspension setup, plenty more feedback is to be had through the seat of your pants. And, you don't really feel that its motor is detuned, as one rarely gets the opportunity to come anywhere close to the car's limits. 562 horsepower will do just fine, delivering nearly 650S kind of performance."

All of the above, combined with increased practicality and improved levels of equipment come at a great price, as the 570S goes head to head with the mighty and well established Porsche Carrera 911 Turbo S. Better priced and matching its performance figures, the new model is bound to make you think twice before signing that cheque. It will all boil down to tradition and brand loyalty versus the itch to try something new and exciting. Feeling the itch?"

Engine: 3799cc V8 twin-turbo
Layout: Mid-engine/RWD
Power: 562hp @ 7500rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 5000-6500rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
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