The McLaren 570GT
A few months ago I was sitting at my desk and an email drops into my inbox. The subject was ‘An invitation from McLaren…’. Opening it quicker than dehydrating man opens a bottle of water in the Sahara I skim read the details.
McLaren 570GT launch….Tenerife….the dates….I’m there!
Near enough a month later and I’m hopping off the plane in a blisteringly hot Tenerife. Welcomed by a McLaren bod I’m driven to the Ritz Carlton and checked in.
Up to the presidential suite which is now ‘McLaren House’ I pick up the keys for a 570S, it’s not the car I’m here to drive, but it is the platform the GT is based on.
It makes for a good comparison, and it’s also the first McLaren I have ever driven.
The 570S is a full blown sports car though, take one through the twisting roads of Tenerife and you’ll soon find how harsh it can be in every day conditions. From its rock solid suspension to its hard seats, this is a proper track weapon. You couldn’t have it as your everyday car, it would become far too tiring.
Twenty four hours pass and I find myself opening the door of a 570GT. £154,000 will get you into this position, and if it really can be that long legged GT McLaren are claiming, that’s superb value for money.
Looks wise the GT appears to me like a baby P1. Gone are the flying buttresses of the 570s, replaced by a sloping rear piano hinged hatch and a slightly higher roofline.
The idea is to make the GT seem bigger, airy if you will. To aid this McLaren have fitted a tinted fixed glass roof, it keeps everything a nice temperature thanks to a fancy coating, and it won’t bleach the interior, nor scorch your head on a hot day.
Beneath that E-Type rear hatch is a leather lined touring deck for ones luggage, which you can purchase direct from McLaren - matched of course.
Including the front boot the 570GT has the same stowing capacity as a Ford Focus, more than enough for a weekend jaunt through Europe.
Firing the GT into life the first thing you notice is the change in exhaust note over the S. It’s mellow and warm, far less shouty and in your face. McLaren went on to explain how the Sport exhaust option for the GT is pretty much the standard 570S jobbie. It sort of sums up the GT though, everything has been dialled back ever so slightly.
Once on the motorway I play about with the different drive modes, to see if they actually live up to the sales bumpf I’ve been sold in the press briefing.
Coming across a particularly pockmarked piece of tarmac I switch everything from Sport to Normal. Almost instantly the cabin jolting pits and troughs were gone. The ride becomes noticeably smoother and far more comfortable.
Leaving the gearbox in auto I cruised on for about an hour and a half until the mountain roads of Tiede were in full view.
Starting up the twisty stuff I kicked everything into Sport and the gearbox to manual.
In an instant the 570GT turned from a comfy cruiser into a corner carving monster.
The pace of that turbo charged 3.8 litre V8 sat inches behind your back is just relentless, even as we crept up into the higher altitudes it kept up, delivering seamless acceleration and linear torque like you wouldn’t believe.
Turn in is still razor sharp when comparing it to the 570S, you think it’s going to start understeering when pushed hard, but it doesn’t. It just magic’s up even more grip and pulls you through.
0-62 is slightly slower at 3.4 seconds as opposed to the S at 3.2, but in the real world, are you really going to notice that?
Acceleration is easily on par with the S, but the steel brakes aren’t as instant. Which is no bad thing as they still hung on corner after corner in a blistering 30 degree heat. But, if you want carbon ceramics they can still be ticked on the option list.
Under all conditions the 570GT stays perfectly balanced, no weight shift is felt as the 562 BHP is fed through to the rear wheels, and if you get things awry and manage to end up off the road then you really have done something majorly wrong.
The GT is just so driveable, even when things are out of shape it won’t bite your head off. Too quick into a corner, no problem. The car will scrub off the speed and still allow you to regain control.
On the inside is where you notice the real differences between S and GT. Every surface is adorned with leather, you get electrically adjustable heated seats, front and rear parking sensors, electric steering column - with easy entry and exit - and soft close doors are all standard fit.
There’s an eight speaker ‘McLaren Audio Plus’ stereo system which sounds incredible, but if that isn’t enough Bowers & Wilkins have a bespoke 1280 watt 12 speaker setup that can be optioned.
To access the luggage behind the occupants there are now some gorgeous folding seats, on the launch my lunch was stowed behind me in a wicker basket on the touring deck. It felt very vintage and ever so British.
Many manufacturers make grandiose claims that a new model is totally transformed, it’s all things to all men, and the like. So initially I took McLarens’ claims with a pinch of salt, but, I should have never doubted the guys from Woking.
This car is what McLaren need. A sports car that can compete with the likes of the Audi R8. A machine that can be used daily by its owners. Trips across Europe will be completed at weekends. Long stretches behind the wheel will still feel special, but nowhere near as taxing as they have been in McLarens of the past.
There really was no competition between the S and the GT for myself. Those new looks and feeling the difference back to back, make it clear that the GT is a daily driver.
Now where did I leave my wallet?