The McLaren 570GT cooks. It cooks with speed on the highway, the cabin cooks thanks to a full length panoramic sunroof above and the mid-mounted engine really cooks, enough to send heat wafting from the rear vents after only a short drive. The color, however? A cool turquoise shade named Pacific blue.
Even in that color we can’t say the 570GT blends in, but compared to the 570S we drove last year, in arrest-me-red, it slips under the radar just a little bit, more so at night.
So, the S and the GT aren’t very different cars, but there are some notable changes for the grand touring model, starting with the quieter exhaust system. It doesn’t rip, pop and snort as much as the S, which left this reviewer a little cold.
The GT is 15 percent softer in the front and 10 percent in the rear. You’ll still be dodging the big potholes but nothing really makes you wince.
Even though ingress and egress is eased in the 570GT, you’ll still have to swing down holding the door handle.
The steering gets a slightly reduced ratio to smooth inputs, but is still both quick and easy. The car feels light all around with strong brakes and a still-touchy throttle. Of course, matting it from a stoplight makes both the S and GT feel light, especially when a factory fresh Mustang GT350 falls from your peripheral vision to your side mirrors, to your rearview.
Other changes between the S and GT include more comfy, fully automatic seats, electric steering column, a nose lift, which we’ll get to later, more speakers, a little more storage with the clamshell rear hatch, quieter tires and that huge panomaric roof, cooking the car in Michigan’s summer heat. Just keep the AC on max and give yourself a few minutes before jumping in. And don’t touch the rear engine cover either. It’s hot.
The first thing I thought when I looked at this car, and its price, was that the McLaren 570S is Porsche-911-Turbo-S money. They’re both supercars, by any stretch of the definition; they both …
It’s a McLaren, so you’re going to have a good time no matter where you’re driving it. Like I said about the S, it’s Porsche-911-Turbo money, but it gets way, way more looks than the squashed bug. I was cruising Woodward Avenue on a weeknight and the swarm of cars circling me got so annoying, I blasted back toward the expressway tunnels this car likes to call home. An orange MP4-12C also caught up, with a younger guy driving. He gave me a quick peace sign before taking off into the night.
Even with a bit less sound from the pipes, it’s still simply awesome to listen to. I took all my normal tunnel commutes and added a few others before I finally dropped the car off. It sounds almost like an F1 car at full tilt. It’s not a high-pitched scream — more a bassy, middle C, just getting louder as the revs climb, with a little turbo whoosh for good measure. The 675LT sounded about the same. Might be a little less musical than a Ferrari, but no less thrilling.
It takes a split second after flattening the throttle for this GT to get going, but after that it’s a never-ending wave of thrust, at least through 5 of 7 paddle shift changes. There’s one big — scratch that, huge — problem though: The paddles are in the correct format, the left is downshift, right is upshift, but they’re on a rocker and made from one hunk of carbon fiber. In theory the setup lets you change up or down with either paddle. The problem? Sometimes you just flick the upshift side with a fingertip and instead of going up a gear, it bounces back and goes down a gear. That’s not the end of the world on the street, but on the track, it could be catastrophic. This probably wouldn’t be a problem if you owned the car, but it’s the first time I’ve noticed such a thing.
The seven-speed dual-clutch has three different shift modes through normal, sport and race. Race gives the driver a nice shove in the small of the back no matter where you shift. It’s the car saying, “I have plenty more to give, go for it!” Sport is a little softer; normal, even softer.
The gauges change as the modes change and race mode has the coolest one. It’s sort of an ’80s digital throwback but it also tells you when to shift. You can see it in your peripheral vision, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
The 570GT has a few other issues, mostly small. The pedalbox is narrow so people with big feet, or people who feel the need to manspread, might have an issue. Rear visibility isn’t great with the small rear window and the seat controls are hidden very low on the sides of the buckets. I also couldn’t figure out the memory function so I had to readjust each time I got in. It’s part of the convenience entry and exit function, so it makes it easier to climb out, but I’d trade that for the perfect driving position easily.
The nose lift function is almost necessary in car like this. My driveway is a little steep so I had to use it every time, and it takes a few times to get quick at it. All you need to do is flick the left stalk about 10 seconds before you need it. And then remember to tap it down when you’re back on the street. It also lowers automatically around 35 mph.
Sometimes though it moves you into a setup mode, which you’ll have to back out of and then hit the stalk up again.
The car can also get loud while idling. With the AC on the radiator fans, located near the doors, make a ton of noise. Same when the nose is raising or lowering. I don’t know if there’s a compressor in there or something but sitting at idle, you have to talk loudly for a passenger to hear you.
Last complaint: the damn passenger side seatbelt warning goes off if you have anything heavier than a feather sitting there. And it’s not like this car has a ton of room for stuff. During the summer I usually take my light jacket along to carry all my stuff—cigarettes, wallet, work keycard, keys and such. You have to either throw it all on the floor or grab the seatbelt and buckle it. There’s definitely no turning it off.
The cabin looks great in our car’s cream color and the driving position, besides where your feet rest, is perfect. McLaren took the opposite tack Ferrari did with the steering wheel. Ferrari has everything within a finger’s reach including the start button, mode control, windshield wiper, turn signals and probably more. McLaren’s wheel is just a naked piece of carbon fiber. I think the McLaren’s is cooler, and after an impromptu poll in the office, about two-thirds think the same.
The single screen radio/infotainment works well once you get used to it. It connected with my iPhone without a hitch but it does react weirdly to polarized sunglasses. You have to tilt your head sometimes to see what you’re looking for.
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Looking back at what I wrote about the 570S, most of it rings true here. There’s plenty of competition around this price point. A few AWDers and a few RWDers, no manual transmissions, but a McLaren is something different. In the nicer parts of southeast Michigan you see a few Ferraris a day, at least when the weather’s nice. I talked to a valet who said in the past year he’s seen tons of Italian exotics, but just two McLarens, including this one. There’s something to be said for that. And at this lofty performance perch, and price, the buyer should get exactly what he or she wants, including exclusivity.
As far as the 570 fraternal twins go, the GT offers a few more creature comforts than the S and for that, and for Pacific blue, it gets the nod.
We suggest wearing shorts and keeping sunglasses close by, and turn the music up to drown out those damn cooling fans.
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $201,450
As Tested Price: $210,400
Drivetrain: 3.8-liter DOHC twin-turbocharged V8, RWD seven-speed auto
Output: 562 hp @ 7,500 rpm; 443 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 2,976 lb
Fuel Economy: 16/23/19 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
Options: Switch pack carbon fiber ($3,030); Bowers and Wilkins 12 speaker audio system ($2,240); By McLaren Design interior ($2,000); Exterior special paint – Pacific blue ($1,680)
Pros: Less bone-jarring than the 570S, Pacific blue paint is almost under the radar
Cons: Noisey, even at idle; you’ll need to get used to the tech