The thinking man's McLaren.
What if there was a special type of chocolate cake that actually made you thin? Or a brand of beer that didn't give you a hangover the next morning? Sadly those two things only exist in our imaginations, but McLaren can deliver on a real paradox – the practical supercar. Meet the McLaren 570GT.
The McLaren 570GT is a sibling of the 570S and 570 Spider but this is the most sophisticated member of the family, promising improved luggage space and a more compliant nature. However, if you think this is some form of watered-down supercar, you’d be very mistaken. It’s powered by the same tried and tested twin-turbo 3.8-litre engine as many McLarens before it, and in this guise, kicks out 562bhp.
The 570GT is a handsome thing with its reprofiled rear giving the car a smooth riverbed pebble silhouette. While it might have a clean shape, take a closer look and marvel at the intricate channels and creases that manipulates the air to this car’s will. Large ducts cool the mid-mounted V8, artillery-style dual-exhausts protrude from the rear, while 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero rubber fill the arches.
Opening the swan doors and sliding into the carbonfibre monocoque is remarkably easy thanks to a low sill. Once installed, sporty seats grip you around your ribs and shoulders, but feature enough padding to be comfortable as well as supportive. The sculpted cabin encompasses you and presents a 7-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen.
The infotainment system is something of a weak link in the chain here, as it’s not particularly ergonomic and is often slow to respond to inputs. It’s a shame because the rest of the interior feels so well executed. Visibility is exemplary for this breed of car and there are a number of little storage spaces for life’s knick-knacks.
Speaking of storage, the cargo space in the nose offers 150 litres of space, or about enough for a couple of hand luggage cases. The GT also has extra storage behind the seat accessed by a rather elegant glass panel that opens like a piano lid. This space adds a further 220 litres to the 570GT package.
How does it drive?
The above should read 'is it still a McLaren?' The answer is yes. Fiddling with the car’s techno-marine handling and performance switchgear reveals that you have a serious supercar on your hands. Light the fuse on those turbos, and after a whiff of lag, a torque-bomb detonates delivering triple digits before you know it.
The astonishing thing isn’t the speed itself, but how unrelenting the acceleration is. The surge of torque is seemingly endless as the digital needle races to the redline, only to start the chase with equal ferocity after an upshift. Said gear-changes are taken care of by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic that dispenses a fresh cog without hesitation. For those who still doubt this car’s performance, let a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 204mph quench your scepticism.
Better than going fast in a straight-line, the McLaren is a master in the corners. Tipping the 570GT into a sequence of bends reveals a wonderfully balanced chassis and precise steering. You can assassinate apexes with confidence as you can feel exactly what the car’s up to through the steering and your backside. Its agility and immediate response to inputs, particularly when dialed-up to 'Track', results in a near-telepathic connection.
It’s maybe not quite as pin-sharp as a 570S, but it retains that fluidity on challenging roads that resides in every McLaren. When it comes to bringing all of that fun to a stop, every 570GT gets a set of fade-resistant carbon brakes. They are incredibly effective with the pedal providing good resistance, however, performance is at its best once they have some heat in them.
But the real beauty of the 570GT is that there’s a Dr Jekyll to accompany the Mr Hyde of high performance. Settle the car down into its comfort setting to reveal a muted engine note when cruising, subtle gear changes and surprisingly supple suspension. Despite not having the complex hydraulic suspension of the 720S, the ride is well-damped and perfectly acceptable for everyday use.
Unlike supercars of days gone by, you don’t need to wrestle with the wheel to manoeuvre the McLaren into a parking space. The steering is relatively light at low speeds and good visibility gives you an idea where each corner is. That said, parking isn’t made much easier by the small reversing image displayed on the infotainment screen.
Should I buy one?
That depends if you have £157,000 – if you do, we’d strongly recommend it. A Porsche 911 Turbo S might be just as fast and a little cheaper, but the McLaren possesses true supercar theatrics, both in motion and when posted on Instagram. It also drives with a sense of pure-bred focus that only mid-engine cars can. Spectators also rally behind the McLaren name, far more than the Prancing Horse, resulting in plenty of compliments as opposed to rude gestures.
It’s not without fault though – the infotainment system could be more intuitive, its navigation often takes you the scenic route instead of the fastest and we did experience some issues with the car’s electric windows. Despite those niggles, the 570GT is still a remarkable machine that we’d welcome into our garage with open arms.
The McLaren 570GT isn’t the first supercar that you can genuinely use everyday, but it’s certainly the most desirable.
Dynamic photography by Seán Ward