McLaren 570S, more fun with less power

The McLaren 570S has razor-sharp steering that is full of feel.
The McLaren 570S has razor-sharp steering that is full of feel.PHOTO: MCLAREN AUTOMOTIVE

McLaren 570S proves you can have more fun with less power

McLaren's line-up consists of the P1 and P1 GTR at the top, the 650S and the 675LT in the middle, and the 570S and 540C as "entry-level" models.

It is hard at first to discern which is which. And one wonders why the naming format is not simpler. After all, for 52 years, Porsche has kept to a single three-digit name - and with much success too.

So what does the new 570S bring to the table? More interestingly, what does it share with the 650S?

Well, the car looks like the 650S, largely because the two share the same carbon-fibre passenger cell and chassis architecture.

The new car is also powered by a turbocharged V8.

But there are differences. In the carbon-fibre passenger cell, the side sills have been lowered to make it easier to get in and out of the car.

The engine has now been designed around the fact that it needs to produce "only" 570 horsepower, and its cooling, intake and exhaust systems cater to just that. So, McLaren was not merely making software changes to the 650S.

  • SPECS/MCLAREN 570S

    Price: From $899,999 (without COE)

    Engine: 3,799cc  32-valve twin-turbocharged V8

    Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch with paddle shift

    Power: 570bhp at 7,400rpm

    Torque: 600Nm at 5,000-6,500rpm

    0-100kmh: 3.2 seconds

    Top speed: 328kmh

    Fuel consumption: 10.7 litres/ 100km

    Agent: McLaren Singapore

Perhaps the most significant change is found in the suspension department, which does away with the smart but complex arrangement of interconnecting hydraulic lines that give the 650S superb roll and pitch resistance without resorting to stiff springs.

The 570S has a conventional suspension set-up, with coil-overs and anti-roll bars. Its handling limits actually feel more accessible and easier to gauge because of this.

It is obvious that the 570S has far less aerodynamic addenda. There is no rear wing at all, just a lip at the rear and a deep chin spoiler which together manages only about half the downforce of the 650S.

Combine that with a set of Pirelli P-Zeros that are narrower and one can, without superhuman effort, reach the limits of the 570S. That seems to deliver a greater sense of achievement than being in a car with stupendous grip coming from a quarter tonne of aerodynamic downforce and quasi-race tyres.

Much like the 650S, the steering is razor sharp and full of feel. This sets it apart from the competition.

Although designed as a "lesser" car than the 650S, the 570S is in no way an inconsiderable car.

With 570 horses in a body that weighs 1,313kg (dry), this car is no slow poke. From standstill, it blasts to 100kmh in just 3.2 seconds and touches 200kmh in an impressive 9.5 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 328kmh. To put that into perspective, the car is quicker to 100kmh than the 625bhp MP4-12C on plain P-Zero tyres and just loses out in top speed by 1kmh.

On the open road, there is little to separate it from the 650S - except that at the very ragged edge of the performance envelope, the 650S keeps peaking in terms of acceleration and grip.

Drive it sanely and the 570S shines, and maybe is a little less frustrating because it does not seem to be straining at the leash all the time.

It also seems to display less turbo lag. Deploy the full fury of its 570 horses and you are pressed into your seat. When provoked, the rear will wiggle readily, making you feel that you are actually making things happen.

The ride is just a tad more lively than the 650S' because of the harder springs.

For those wishing to do some trackdays, there are carbon-fibre sports seats to suit various hip sizes.

If you are bent on getting the fastest lap times around Sepang, pick the 675LT. But if you want to enjoy the pleasures of excellent steering feel, "chuckable" handling and impressive power delivery without a million-dollar price tag, then look to the 570S.

The car has supercar looks (down to its huge ceramic brakes) and will get stares just like the 650S.

•The writer is a regular contributor to Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2015, with the headline 'McLaren lite'. Print Edition | Subscribe