A closer look at McLaren's 570S sports car

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The McLaren 570S is beautifully built, covered with lots of lovely (optional) carbon fiber pieces(Credit: Loz Blain/Gizmag)

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McLaren’s 570S heralded the start of a new model line for the British manufacturer, one that begins at a far more reasonable price point than the one offered up by its lightning-quick 650S. Gizmag got an up-close look at the new 570S, before sitting down with McLaren’s Asia-Pacific Director David McIntyre for a chat about the brand’s move "downmarket."

The 570S is powered by a detuned version of the 3.8-liter, turbocharged V8 engine that also powers the 650S and the new 675LT. With an output of 562 hp (419 kW), the engine comfortably usurps those of its nearest rivals: the Porsche 911 Turbo’s six-cylinder engine only manages 520 hp (387 kW), while the new Audi R8 V10 only creates 531 hp (396 kW).

The 570S is fundamentally similar to its more expensive stablemates in a number of ways. At the center of its chassis is McLaren’s carbon fiber MonoCell, which creates an incredibly strong and safe backbone. The carbon tub that underpins the 570S is slightly different to the one that features in McLaren’s Super Series, with lower side sills as a concession to everyday usability.

Although we’re yet to shoehorn ourselves into a 650S to test the theory, the 570S’ cabin is certainly easier to get into than a P1’s.

Because the MonoCell is so strong and light, McLaren is able to set the car up to be compliant and usable everyday without sacrificing performance. David McIntyre says the 570S is designed to be lively and exciting, but also comfortable and reasonably practical.

"The suspension has been tuned so the car feels more lively – it should be that this car is about enjoyment," McIntyre said. "Ultimately a 650 [S] is going to be faster, but this is going to give you more feeling, more excitement."

This more engaging feel will, according to McIntyre, come from a whole range of different areas.

"It’s really the suspension, steering, sound, feeling of being in the cabin – everything together really," he told us. "This is designed to be an involving car. Whereas the 650S is about ultimate performance, getting tenths of a second on a track, this is about enjoying it."

Driving experience aside, McLaren is likely to sell plenty of 570S’ purely based on its looks. There’s no mistaking it for anything other than a McLaren – the aggressive front splitter and headlamps carry the same shape as those of the 650S, while the broad rear end’s diffuser and taillights have clearly been inspired by its big-brother P1.

The side of the car is where McLaren’s stylists have done their best work. The piece of bodywork that runs from behind the front wheelarch is called a "tendon," and is gives the car’s styling an extra degree of depth and detail that is unmatched by any of its rivals.

Once you’re inside, the cabin has a rather special feel. The quality of all the materials is absolutely top notch, and the all of things the driver touches feel beautifully crafted. The leather on the seats and dashboard is soft and neatly stitched, and the cabin is logically laid out.

Nowhere is McLaren’s attention to detail more apparent than when you look at the beautifully sculpted column stalks, which would look at home in an art gallery.

From behind the wheel, the driver looks at a simple steering wheel with paddles that fall easily to hand. A new LCD readout, which adapts based on the drive mode selected, provides a wealth of information to the driver.

It’s this level of detail that McLaren hopes will draw buyers away from the staid Germans.

McIntyre says the 570S is aimed at "people who have Porsche Turbos and things like that, but it’s also people who've got a Carrera GTS, but they didn’t buy the Turbo because it’s still a 911. It’s people who’ve got an Audi R8 4.2 [V8], but didn’t buy the V10 or the V10 Plus because it’s still an R8.”

For most people, the thought of an Audi R8 not being special enough is an odd concept. But in the world of supercars, the McLaren's extra level of styling flair and favorable badge has to make a difference.

Couple that with the fact that the 570S shares its technology with significantly more expensive cars, and McLaren might well be onto a winner.

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