The luxurious, 562-horsepower McLaren 570GT can be used every day — assuming a driver is willing to take the $200,000 two-seater out daily and be besieged by gawkers, some of whom mistake the coupe, which has dihedral, swing-up-doors, for a DeLorean.
New for 2017, the eye-catching 570GT comes from the British brand that’s well known in Formula 1 racing but whose pricey, high-performance street cars have been available only since 2011 and are rarely seen in much of the United States.
Until now, McLaren’s road cars largely focused on performance. The 570GT is the first to step up its practicality, adding more cargo space to the 570S coupe base it’s modeled on and providing a choice of three suspension and powertrain modes. Plus, the 570GT roof is all glass, which opens up the interior.
As a result, drivers of the 570GT are more comfortable, can carry more stuff and can tune the car for a relatively compliant ride even as they reach highway speeds while still in first gear.
When it comes to the broad segment of supercar sports cars that the McLaren is a part of — the Porsche 911 Turbo, Lamborghini Huracan and Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S — the 570GT’s price is competitive. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including delivery charge, is $201,450. Options, including $8,850 for ceramic brakes that provide top-notch stopping power and premium audio from Bowers and Wilkins, easily boost the price to more than $220,000.
Gas mileage isn’t great. While the federal government estimated fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon in city driving and 23 mpg on highways for an average of 19 mpg, the test car averaged closer to 15 miles for every gallon of premium gasoline. But it was worth it to pass other cars like they were standing still and feel solidly pushed back into the driver seat after the light turned green.
The 570GT’s twin-turbo V-8 is just 3.8 liters in size. That’s compared to Porsche’s six-cylinder engines of the same size and the Chevrolet Corvette 6.2-liter V-8, which produces up to 460 horsepower. McLaren wrings out 562 horsepower from this lightweight V-8, with twin turbochargers audibly spinning up to heighten the driver’s sensations of performance. Peak torque of 443 foot-pounds comes on by 5,000 rpm.
All the power goes to the 20-inch, Pirelli Z-rated rear tires through the standard seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission that has a manual mode and paddle shifters but no clutch pedal.
Left to shift on its own, this automatic is precise and noisy — like a race car driver is at the wheel. But the 570GT can be mellower and a bit quieter in normal powertrain mode with normal suspension settings for everyday use.
Steering is quick, but not twitchy as in the 570S, and no matter which suspension setting is selected, the impeccably balanced and lightweight mid-engine 570GT handles like it’s on rails.
Leather-lined sport seats are sculpted and give firm support but require passengers to drop into them the car is low-to-the-ground. Seat controls are on the insides of the seats and aren’t intuitive.
The display screen in the middle of the dashboard looks like a vertical computer tablet and takes only a bit of practice to understand, but gets washed out as sun pours in from the glass roof and can be difficult to see if a driver is wearing polarized sunglasses.
The sun’s rays in warm climates can heat the car interior. McLaren is working on a way to shade the glass roof.
The extra space provided by the storage shelf behind the 570GT seats and under a pop-up glass hatch is, indeed usable. But it obscures views of the engine. With the trunk under the front hood, the two storage spots provide 12 cubic feet of cargo room.