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McLaren 570GT

Click to view picture gallery“Unveiled at this years Geneva
  Motor Show, McLaren
s 570GT
  comes with some big numbers,
  starting with a 154,000 price tag —
  but then it does go quicker than
  most: 204mph and 0-62mph in 3.4

EXPECTED TO BECOME the brand's best-selling model, it will account for around 40% of McLaren's total global sales. Not that you'll be seeing one near you soon because that figure represents just one 570GT each for 150 UK customers.

This newest model follows a common McLaren design theme, being a two-door, carbon-fibre, mid-engined, two-seater sports coupe powered by their own Ricardo-built 3.8-litre, twin-turboed V8 petrol engine driving through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (with sequential manual and full auto modes) with rear-wheel drive.

The 570GT follows a
common McLaren design
theme: it’s a two-door,
two-seater, carbon-fibre,
mid-engined sports
coupe powered by their
own Ricardo-built
twin-turbo V8 driving
through a seven-speed
twin-clutch ’box with
rear-wheel drive...”
McLaren sees the 570GT — with its Grand Tourer design features and higher specification — appealing to a new generation of customers who will find it financially 'obtainable' and who might otherwise have chosen one of its more 'conventional' competitor coupe models from the likes of Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, or Honda (the all-new NSX).

Although the 570GT has a higher specification with improved comfort and a softer ride than its hardcore stablemates, its Grand Tourer role does not really conflict with its aptitude to be a trackday 'hottie' when, or if, required.

The 570GT shares its carbon-fibre MonoCell chassis and tub with the 540C and 570S coupes, both members of McLaren's 'Sports Series'. For the first time McLaren have used 'superformed' aluminium body panels allowing for a more complex design; it maintains the sculptured front-end leading to the side dihedral pivoting passenger doors.

It has a longer and wider cabin, and a side-hinged glass hatch which allows access to an additional 220 litres of luggage space on the leather-lined touring deck that sits over the engine, while under the front bonnet is a luggage bin with a further 150 litres for storage — all part of the new Grand Tourer's more user-friendly practicality.

Not so practical, however, is access through the dihedral doors; with its low roofline and the wide sills of the carbon-fibre tub, it's not easy to remain elegant while getting your backside over the sill and down onto the seat before getting your legs into the car — and the same athleticism is required to get out again.

The tricky entry and exiting calls into question the 570GT's Grand Tourer role — Audi's all-wheel drive 601bhp R8 V10 Plus is much more practical, faster (205mph, 0-62 in 3.2) and cheaper by over 20k.

Once cocooned inside the 570GT you sit in sculptured sports seats; the fascia and door trims are upholstered in high-quality leather, and the fit and finish looks good.

The lower centre
console houses two
rotary controls —
one governs the chassis,
steering and suspension
for Normal, Sport and
Track modes;
the other has the same
selections for the
engine and transmission.
There are also buttons
to select Drive,
Reverse and Launch
The slim-line seats are comfortable but after a few hours they feel too firm, so again high-mileage journeys might be a trip too far. Headroom is good even for us six-footers, but I did find the arm and leg length dimensions somewhat on the short side.

There's a racing theme to the cockpit with well sited controls and the digital display ahead of the driver shows speed and selected gear ratios, fuel and temperature, and trip computer information along with chassis and engine modes.

The lower centre console houses two rotary controls — one governs the chassis, steering and suspension settings for Normal, Sport and Track modes; the other provides the same selections but for engine and transmission performance levels.

There are also buttons to select Drive, Reverse and Launch Control. The seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox has both fully automatic and sequential manual modes, operated by the steering column-mounted twin paddles.

The 570GT has slightly softer suspension with adaptive dampers — running in the Normal setting it felt the most user-friendly, being relatively compliant on smoother motorway surfaces. The Sport setting firms up the ride considerably, and more impacts are felt through the suspension and rigid carbon-fibre tub.

The handling in whatever setting remained beautifully balanced and precise although at higher speeds on winding roads I found the steering slow-acting and I would have prefer a sharper and faster steering rack.

The 570GT's Grand Tourer specification also includes a quieter exhaust system, so to some extent the 'theatre' soundtrack of this high-performance machine was lost. When talking about performance the official figures say it all: a 204mph top speed and zero to 62mph taking a mere 3.4 seconds.

However, the 3.8-litre V8 twin-turboed petrol powerplant, although docile and compliant at low speeds, thrives on revs — producing its 562bhp (570hp) at 7,500rpm and making its 442lb ft of torque available between 5,000 and 6,000rpm.

If you want driving fun
you need to see
4,000rpm at least on
the rev-counter;
below that the response
can feel lazy...”
So if you want driving fun or outright performance you need to see 4,000rpm at least on the rev-counter; below that the response can feel lazy. I prefer the Audi R8 V10 Plus's non-turbo engine because it feels that extra bit more muscular for acceleration in low- to mid-range speeds on the everyday roads where most of us spend our driving time.

For McLaren, stepping into the Grand Tourer arena with a roomier, higher spec and slightly more affordable car is an important move and a pathway for expanding their customer base outside the hardcore purists who up until now have been the brand's mainstay. Although whether it really can be considered a genuine Grand Tourer is open for discussion.

Against: Lift up/out pivoting doors compromise cockpit entry and exit; noticeably absent is a 'theatre' exhaust soundtrack; the steering rack feels slow; and it's not as everyday user-friendly as the cheaper and faster Audi R8 V10 Plus.

For: Exclusivity — customers for McLaren's 204mph two-seater GT get their high-performance fix enhanced by greater usability with more interior and luggage space packaged in McLaren's unique exterior body styling. ~ David Miles

McLaren 570GT | 154,000
Maximum speed: 204mph | 0-62mph: 3.4 seconds | Test Average: 25.4mpg
Power: 562bhp | Torque: 442lb ft | CO2: 249g/km