2018 McLaren 570GT Review

Crowd Control

People stared, mouths agape.

For no reason, total strangers would wave like they were trying to signal for help or shoot their thumbs high in the air. I lost track of how many passersby came over to take pictures or chat. “What kind of car is that?” asked one woman walking a dog in the park we were shooting at, a query often repeated. To say McLaren’s 570GT attracts attention is like stating America has a little bit of national debt or The Beatles recorded a couple hit songs; it’s a gross understatement.

In comparison to Aston Martins, Rolls-Royces, high-performance AMG models and plenty of other top-dollar automobiles, nothing comes close to this British exotic when it comes to drawing a crowd. Even people that couldn’t tell you what shape a car’s wheels are supposed to be, are magnetically drawn to the 570GT like fruit flies to an overripe peach.

Yes, it was orange, yes it resembled an alien spacecraft, and of cour,se its dihedral doors looked like the wings of an insect, but there was just something about this McLaren that caused a commotion wherever it was parked or driven.

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A More Civilized Supercar

The 570GT is part of McLaren’s “Sport Series,” a range of more attainable though still outlandishly capable cars. If you want even more than the too much it provides, consider one of the brand’s Super or Ultimate Series automobiles. Based on the 570S Coupe, this model has been somewhat softened and civilized to make it the British brand’s most livable vehicle ever.

Thanks to added refinement and practicality, you should think of it as more long-legged grand-tourer than a track-day toy, even if it still features a carbon-fiber chassis, mid-mounted engine and racing-grade brakes.

Engineers have done four important things to make the 570GT a car you won’t be afraid of commuting to work in on, say, a Tuesday. First, compared to the 570S Coupe its springs have been softened by 15 percent up front and 10 percent at the rear. The electro-hydraulic steering system’s ratio has been reduced by 2 percent for smoother driver inputs at speed. This model is also fitted with a quieter exhaust system so it’s more comfortable on long-distance trips.

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But perhaps the 570GT’s biggest enhancement is the addition of a side-opening glass hatch. Not only does this panel give the car a sleeker roofline it also dramatically increases cargo room. The beautiful, leather-trimmed touring deck as it’s called provides nearly 8 cubic feet (220 liters) of luggage space, enough for a couple duffel bags or even a small piece of rollaboard luggage, the only problem is loading cargo can be a challenge as you have to lean way over the car’s broad fenders to stow said items. Make sure you’re not wearing a belt that will scratch the paint. Of course, there’s still 5.3 cubes (150 liters) of much-easier-to-access space in the front trunk.

If you want the added practicality of a 570GT but also desire a more dynamic drive, you can opt for the $5,950 Sport Pack, which basically gives you the 570S Coupe’s sharper suspension and steering, setups. The car tested in this review was equipped with that extra.

Super Style, Superior Performance

Overall, this may be a more livable supercar, but it still requires plenty of gymnastics to get into or out of. The sills are wider than the base of a telephone pole and once seated, your butt is so low you look up at Mazda Miata drivers. Still, you’ve got to love the unique dihedral doors, which open outward then upward, revealing a cabin trimmed in acres of creamy Nappa leather.

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Mounted directly behind your noggin is a high-winding 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 rated at 562 horsepower – that’s 570 PS, hence the car’s name – and 443 pound-feet of twist. That torque is routed to the rear wheels through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, a combo that provides acceleration that is beyond belief.

If you ever wondered what it would feel taking the Millennium Falcon through hyperspace this McLaren is likely analogous. The 570GT can romp from zero to 62 miles an hour (100 km/h) in just 3.4 seconds, though it feels even faster than that, ripping the fabric of spacetime to tatters. It’ll deliver twice that speed – 200 km/h – in less than 10. Keep the accelerator buried and she tops out at 204 miles an hour (328 km/h).

The Drive

Even though the car tested in this review was fitted with the optional Sport Pack, it proved to be remarkably placid. On roads battered and bruised by all four seasons, the 570GT was more than livable, with a ride that was firm but never overly harsh. Further improving refinement were special foam-lined Pirelli P Zero tires that reduce cabin noise by up to three decibels.

For enhanced driver choice, you can fine-tune how this McLaren behaves. A pair of switches on the center stack independently adjust the chassis and powertrain, each step up the ladder providing more stiffness and a higher stability-control threshold along with faster gearchanges and heightened engine responsiveness.

Snaking it through curves revealed the 570GT’s sublime steering. Its weighting is rather heavy – like there’s not much power assistance – though it’s also super accurate. The wheel makes you feel rather like a sniper, that you can place this car exactly where you want it at any time.

The dual-clutch transmission changes gears quickly and can be shifted up or down with either one of the paddles, just push or pull accordingly since they’re one unit with a fulcrum in the center, a clever bit of engineering.

If there’s one disappointing aspect of the 570GT is its sound. The exhaust note is almost like one of those old hand dryers you find in a public restroom. It whirrs and whooshes rather than rumbling like a V8 should.

That engine is also exceptionally loud and quite vibratory at tick over, idling just short of 1,000 rpm. Even at that elevated speed it still buzzes the entire car. This indicates it could have some pretty racy camshafts as evidenced by the low-speed choppiness and the fact that it delivers such gallant output figures.

Unexpectedly, performance is a little tepid at speeds less than 3,500 rpm. The 570GT doesn’t blast off like a top-fuel dragster, rather it takes a second or two to catch its breath. Once the tachometer needle swings past about four grand you’d better hold on because that’s where this engine comes alive, blowing up like an ammunition dump someone tossed a lit sparkler into.

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One other minor downside to this car is that you can’t see the engine. All you get is a tiny service panel that gives you access to fillers for the crankcase and cooling system. If you wanted to show off the powerplant at your local cars and coffee event you’re out of luck.

On the subject of visibility, the 570GT is also a bit challenging to see out of. Forward sightlines are generally not a problem, even though you can’t see the car’s nose, which means you have to be careful parking lest you smash or scrape the front splitter. Visibility to the rear or sides is, not surprisingly, a big problem, but that’s the price you pay for such exotic styling.

Somewhat improving rearward sightlines is a back-up camera, which pipes its video feed to the instrument-cluster display. Unfortunately, this is a problem since as you turn the steering-wheel spokes block much of the screen.

Carbon-ceramic brakes are now standard equipment on the 570GT, providing indefatigable stopping power, even if they’re total overkill for street use. Iron rotors are also offered. Unfortunately, pedal feel is a questionable, requiring an unnatural amount of pressure to slow things down, which is unnerving the first couple times you need to stop, though you do eventually get used to it.

The Verdict: 2018 McLaren 570GT Review

The McLaren 570GT offers TONS of driver engagement with more drama than an entire season of your favorite reality TV show. If this is “entry level” I can’t imagine what McLaren’s more exclusive cars feels like. Still, it’s something special, a welcome alternative to your typical Italian exotic.

Base price is around $220,000, though the example tested here was gussied up with a few options that brought the window sticker’s big number up to $236,200, including $2,500 in delivery fees.

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