Sporting gem gets extra sophistication
It will be more than usually interesting to see how the market reacts to this new 570GT, for in many ways it is the boldest car the Woking manufacturer has yet dared make.
How so? Because every car McLaren has produced from the start of its model lines to the now defunct P1 hypercar has been a pure sporting car, honed to provide driving pleasure, raw speed and agility. Even the 570S, probably the most impressive car I drove last year, screams the values of ‘brand McLaren’.
This GT is rather different. Closely related to the 570S though it is (and identical in architecture and powertrain), it has been designed to attempt something no McLaren has ever tried before: as the name implies, this is McLaren’s take on a serious GT.
And in usual McLaren form, it has more than just the additional luggage space provided by the reshaped and even more gorgeous rear bodywork and a huge glass roof to show for it. Its steering is two per cent slower, its springs softer by 15 per cent at the front, and 10 per cent at the rear. Tyres are now standard Pirelli P Zeros rather than track-friendly Corsas, it has been stuffed full of sound deadening material and inside you’ll find such refinements as a glove box, a central storage bin and, oh good Lord, cup holders.
The result is impressive. The 570GT is quiet and comfortable enough at motorway speeds for the idea of doing a thousand miles in a day actually to seem quite appealing. Yet get it up to the hills and it will still fling you between hairpins with enough force to make your passenger gasp. It grips well enough to make you wonder whether the standard Zero with its excellent all-weather characteristics would not be better on the 570S, too, and its poise is, like every other McLaren I’ve driven, otherworldly.
But you can’t expect to gain such civility without losing some dynamism and there’s no doubting that the car’s credentials as a driving machine stand somewhat diminished in this guise. It’s not one single thing, but a combination of the additional weight (37kg) over the 570S, the softer springing, slower steering and muted noise – while it is more than capable of raising your heart rate to an eager canter on a decent road, it doesn’t quite make it want to burst clean out of your chest.
No doubt many will judge this a fair price to pay, but a run up a mountain in a 570S shortly thereafter reaffirmed everything I remembered about it originally, namely that it is one of the most engaging and rewarding sports cars you can buy, yet to me its superior body control means it actually has better ride comfort than the GT, which is surely not what was intended.
What I would want therefore is a car with GT looks and practicality but 570S running gear. It could be called the 570GTS and it could be the best McLaren yet. Such a car is under active consideration but for now and given the choice between a 570GT and a 570S, it is to the S I would turn every time. Simply put, it is more of a McLaren.
Price – £154,000
Engine – 3.8 litres, 8 cylinders, twin turbocharged
Power – [email protected]
Torque – 442lb [email protected]
Transmission – seven-speed paddle shift, rear-wheel drive
Weight – 1350kg
Power to Weight – 417bhp per tonne
0-62mph – 3.4sec
Top speed – 204mph
Economy – 26.4mpg
CO2 – 249g/km