By on December 2, 2016

2016 McLaren 570S Front 3/4 in front of McLaren Engineering, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

2016 McLaren 570S

3.8-liter V8, twin-turbocharged (562 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm; 443 lb-ft @ 5,000-6,500 rpm)

Seven-speed SSG automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive

16 city / 23 highway / 19 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

Base Price: $187,400

As Tested: $210,710

Prices include $2,500 for "transportation and port processing."

After I spent some time with the McLaren 570s, the British supercar company’s entry-level model for North America, I asked Jack Baruth if he thought the 675LT was worth $200,000 dollars more than the 570S.

I’d driven the 675LT around Los Angeles back in January and Jack’s driven both cars as well. The 570S’ performance impressed me, but I wanted the opinion of someone with more experience driving six-figure sports cars than I do.

Jack’s reply was simple: “Yes, it is.”

I don’t have the income to afford either car, but I realized two things upon consideration. The first was Jack was correct: if I had $400,000 to spend on a car, I’d probably go with the 675LT. Though edging into diminishing returns, the differences are noticeable to even a ham-fisted driver such as myself.

The second realization: at around $200,000, the 570S is a bargain.

2016 McLaren 570S Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

By any standard you want — performance, style, or status — the 570S appears to have value exceeding its price. Car companies go on about DNA, but the 570S indeed shares much with higher-end McLarens — the 650s/675LT “Super Series” cars, and the ultimate, million-dollar P1.

All McLarens use the same basic carbon fiber reinforced plastic tub for the passenger safety cell and main structure of the car. In the case of the 570S, the sills are a little lower and significantly narrower, considerably easing ingress and egress compared to the 675LT. Still, it’s not the same as climbing up into an SUV or plopping down behind the wheel of a Camcordata.

2016 McLaren 570S Rear, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

The 570S, like all current McLarens, has a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine, which started life as a Nissan-funded racing motor. It’s built by Ricardo for McLaren and puts out 562 horsepower in this application. To get that much power from an engine that small means burning some fuel and making some waste heat. The back half of the car radiates a great number of BTUs when the cooling fans kick in.

The 570S has a lot more soundproofing than the track focused 675LT, but you can still hear the engine’s exhaust anytime the car is running — and a delicious sound it is too. There’s an interstate highway that has three tunnels within a couple of miles of my home. The McLaren’s dynamic mode switches should include “Tunnel Mode” — windows and throttle both all the way down.

The entry-level Macca also shares familial styling with the more expensive McLarens. Some folks who recognized it as a McLaren asked me if it was a P1. I’m not much of a status seeker, but if I was, spending 20 percent of the price of a P1 to get a similar level of status strikes me as a bargain. A Porsche 911 GT3 looks a lot like lesser Porsches. The 570s looks a lot like cars that cost multiples of its MSRP.

2016 McLaren 570S with crowd, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

So, how does the 570S drive? Surprisingly for a car that’s intended for something closer to the mass market, the 570S is a bit stiff in the suspension department compared to the 675LT, which is McLaren’s track-focused car. That’s probably because the 570S doesn’t share the trick computer-controlled sway bars equipped on upper McLarens. The 570S makes do with conventional mechanical suspension, but it’s superb. The suspension has three settings — normal, sport and track — and leaving it in sport mode most of the time, while stiff, I didn’t find it uncomfortable on Michigan’s crappy roads.

2016 McLaren 570S with front trunk and doors open, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

In terms of handling, the 570S feels composed and assured at all speeds. On the highway, it’s rock steady, a feeling of security aiding by hydraulic power steering that increases effort at speed. I don’t want to sound too much like an expert here, but I also felt there was just a touch of understeer at speed — probably a good idea for a mid-engine car that wants to rotate.

2016 McLaren 570S Cockpit, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

As far as performance is concerned, you’re getting just about all the performance of the far more expensive McLarens at a fraction of the price. Car and Driver tested the 570s at 2.7 seconds for 0-60 mph, with a quarter-mile time of 10.7 seconds and a trap speed of 133 mph. Road & Track had the 650S at the identical 0-60 time, though it was three ticks faster at the drag strip — 10.4 seconds at 136 mph. Fully wound out, the 650S will do 207 mph, marginally faster than the 570S’ 204. (Both of those speeds are electronically limited.)

Those are rarefied numbers, but you don’t even have to exceed the speed limit to have fun in the 570S. Perhaps you’d be risking a reckless driving or “driving in a race-like manner” ticket, but it’s big fun to take a 90-degree corner between two major roads at the speed limit.

 

2016 McLaren 570S Engine, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

The McLarens get a lot of street cred as practical supercars; exotics that can be daily driven. Proving that point, I did a grocery run late Saturday night. On the way home on I-696, I was in the left lane, doing my usual 90th percentile 75-80 mph when I heard a noise that was possibly mechanical. I was listening to the Grateful Dead channel on satellite at the time, and the Dead sometimes produced some weird sounds, so I turned down the outstanding Bowers & Wilkins stereo to see if it was the music. I was concerned when the noise didn’t go away, but then in the corner of my eye I caught a Subaru WRX STI coming up fast in the right-hand lane. He wasn’t alone. It was a squadron of midnight flyers out for a high-speed run.

I soon found myself driving next to a Dodge Charger, and I know what the Hellcat badge on the fender looks like. I also know what it means when you’re driving a fast car and someone in another fast car pulls up next to you, paces you, and then looks over with a “wanna go?” grin.

2016 McLaren 570S Center Console, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

Coincidentally, the Hellcat Charger has a top speed of 204 mph, just like the 570S. To get there, though, the Charger needs an extra 140 horsepower or so, because it weighs about 1,50-pounds more than the McLaren, and has to push a lot more air — it’s a cinder block compared to the 570S. Power-to-weight ratios favor the McLaren, though Chrysler has claimed the same 2.9 second 0-60 time as McLaren does for the 570S. (Though, when the Charger was tested with drag radials at a prepared track by Car and Driver, the best the buff book could do with the four-door Hellcat was 3.4 seconds.)

From a standing start, the Hellcat probably wouldn’t have much of a chance, but in the real world on an 80 mph roll, the competition was decently handicapped. Besides, how often does a Hellcat owner get a chance to drive with something faster than his or her ride?

I decided to indulge the Mopar man — at least until I thought I was going way too fast for even midnight traffic. I backed off and let him go. Until I did, I can say with certitude the Hellcat isn’t any faster than the 570S. The McLaren wasn’t walking away, but it was gaining by inches. My guess is that once aero became important around a buck twenty five, the Hellcat would have receded quickly in the McLaren’s rear view camera screen (which can actually be activated when you’re traveling forward).

As an aside, if the McLaren is a bargain at $200,000, the Hellcat Dodges are steals at $66,000. At a price some not-very-rich regular guys can afford, the Hellcats are about as fast as millionaire’s cars. Ain’t America grand?

2016 McLaren 570S Weather Stripping, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

The 570S isn’t perfect. There were some fit and finish issues, with some of the rubber trim near the door buckling and pulling away from its adhesive. While the subtly pearl and metallic crimson paint was impressive, there was a paint run on the inside of one of the door jambs. Additionally, the flocked coating inside the front luggage compartment was beginning to flake off in a few places, with only about 5,000 miles on the odometer.

A company that builds cars in the hundreds and thousands isn’t going to have the same opportunities to fix things over a long production run, so those issues can be excused. You don’t buy a McLaren for uniform 3 mm panel gaps.

More annoying, for a high-tech company, there are some disappointments with the car’s electronics, an issue that goes back to McLaren’s MP4-12C. Critics dinged the C6 Corvette for having an interior that didn’t match the Vette’s considerable performance. The electronics and infotainment on the 570S are not worthy of the car.

2016 McLaren 570S Side, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

There’s a pouch in the front of the driver’s seat cushion for stashing the smart-key fob as the car sometimes has difficulty recognizing it. When the fleet personnel dropped off the 570S, it took a phone call and me walking away from the car, then some power cycling, before I was able to start it. It continued to give me a “key not in car” error, but hitting the unlock button on the fob seemed to do the trick.

Later, when I stopped for gas, I couldn’t get the car started for ten minutes. It would recognize the key fob, but it just wouldn’t spin the starter. Along with the car’s registration and proof of insurance, there was the business card of a McLaren “after sales consultant,” so I called him. He told me to step on the brake pedal harder than I would normally. That did the trick. Afterwards, there were no similar issues.

I noticed while driving that just tapping the brake pedal would not deactivate the cruise control; you have to actually apply the brakes or use the cruise control switches. Apparently, the starting system and cruise control both rely on the same brake pressure sensor. McLaren’s representative told me that was intentional. It wants drivers to be deliberate in their actions. For that same reason, throttle response is varied. Only in track mode does the powertrain deliver instantaneous response. Turbo lag and slower downshifts are characteristic of the Macca’s “normal” driving mode.

Also about electronics, the infotainment system is slow. One time, the system would not initialize either the satellite or broadcast radio tuners. The touch screen is very small and the rear camera view is tiny, smaller than videos on many cellphones.

Of course, if you had to pick between McLaren putting its considerable engineering resources into the chassis and drivetrain or into a better infotainment system, I’m pretty sure I know how you’d pick.

 

The 570S is a great joy to drive, but I think my peak experience with it wasn’t behind the wheel. As it happened, the weekend that I had the car my older brother was in town from Jerusalem visiting our mom, who just turned 92. Jeffrey is the person who first taught me about cars and how to work on them. He also taught me that going around a corner can be as much fun as a 0-to-60 standing start. If it hadn’t been for Jeff, I probably wouldn’t be a car enthusiast and you wouldn’t be reading this.

On Friday afternoon, I took the McLaren over to where he was staying to show him the car.

He was walking around it, smiling. I walked over to the passenger side and opened up the dihedral door for myself, gestured to him and the driver’s seat and said, “B’vakasha,” Hebrew for “Please.” As we tooled around the subdivision, I got my phone out to shoot video of his reaction. You won’t ever see a bigger grin.

Clarification and historical note: Some of the photographs were taken using McLaren Engineering’s building in Livonia, Michigan as a background. McLaren Engineering is not part of the UK-based McLaren Technology Group though the companies are, in one sense, related and the U.S. company also uses a kiwi in its logo. Bruce McLaren was from New Zealand. When he raced in North America’s CanAm series in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he used Chevrolet engines and set up McLaren Engines in the Detroit area to build and prep the motors. Engines from that shop won five CanAm titles and two Indy 500 races. McLaren Engineering is now focused on powertrain development and has been part of the Linamar corporation since 2003.

McLaren provided the car, insurance, and a tank of premium gas.

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25 Comments on “2016 McLaren 570S Review – The Entry-Level McLaren, a Bargain at $200,000...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Now we need to get Ronnie in the NSX and 488.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    “Ain’t America grand?”

    So why are you flaunting its laws like a halfwit highschooler?

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Definitely a bucket-list type of car.

    Question is, at $200K, does one buy a 570S, an R8 V10+ or a 911TT?

    They all do some things better than the others, so which?

    (or a Hellcat, a Z06 ‘Vette, a Miata and a V-Rod?)

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      My question is who is the buyer for this? Are there that many people that are in the market for a $200k exotic sports car that aren’t also able/willing to spend $400k for the bigger brother? And if you can afford to buy either, why would you buy the one that is more of a compromise?

      • 0 avatar
        ZCD2.7T

        Welp, since 911 Turbos are bought by lots of mere mortals, and since these cars are all in the same basic price range, I’d think there’s a decent market out there for these types of sports cars…

  • avatar
    bunkie

    It’s a shame to listen to satellite radio when you have a B&W sound system. Do yourself a favor and get the internet subscription and listen over the app rather than the satellite. You get three immediate benefits:

    1) The signal doesn’t drop out when the landscape obscures the satellite
    2) The sound quality is *much* better
    3) You can pause the music

    Regarding number one, another advantage is that if you lose connectivity, when you get it back, it resumes at the spot where it was lost.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t mean to take away from the factuality of your comment, but that this is a point of conversation on a super/sportscar review makes me sad.

    • 0 avatar

      I have about 600 LPs and a similar number of CDs so the idea of paying a subscription fee to be able to listen to music that I like goes against my grain. Do I need another monthly bill?

      I’m just glad my Fit has a CD player.

      I only use sat radio in press cars and haven’t experienced issues with dropouts, which have been a problem using Bluetooth to play music off of my phone. Maybe I’ll copy the MP3 files to some of the many USB thumb drives I’ve gotten with press kits on them and see if that sounds better.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      In a supercar, you usually end up listening more to the live music emanating from the compartment behind the seats. I love my “audio off” button (even in the EV). Besides, depending on the car, you might not be able to tell the difference between an Edison wax cylinder and a CD anyway. Sound quality might be an issue in a hybrid or full-electric, but not in a full ICE supercar.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I’ve seen a few these at the track and its a small car, almost comically tiny in comparison to any normal car. They are truly a track day “toy”. Lambos on the other hand are huge, especially in width. Now both are insanely low to the ground as the roof is at normal truck grill height. Look at the pictures above – the mirrors are at belt level to a teenager! If you never seen one in person its a bit shocking at first. Even smaller is the Alfa 4C and Lotus Elise those are like first generation MR2 sized small. After seeing both up close I would guess the BMW i8 is comparable, maybe just a touch bigger (10-15% ?) next to the the McLaren.

    On track these things appear to have zero body roll. People always joke about a car that handles like its “on rails” but these appear to actually drive like that. They dart past you with acceleration that appears effortless. The ‘Vettes, 911s & GT3s in comparion blow your doors off, they are loud and seem to push you out of the way, but the McLarens just squirt past like as if they on a slip-n-slide.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    The Mclaren engine note has fascinated me. Like the new GT350, it somehow manages to make flat plane crank V8 grow deep, not shriek. Against the 458 it didn’t impress me, but with the 488’s turbos quieting the fun, I appreciate the McLaren more. How much more is the 570GT? I know that’s supposed to be the most daily driver friendly of the McLaren models with its hatchback storage over the engine. Does it get the trick suspension? Since you actually made a grocery run with this car, how was the cargo space? The Frunk looks big enough for a weekend getaway.

  • avatar
    AlmightyPants

    I’ve had the pleasure of driving both the 650S and 570S and they’re both phenomenal. The 650S, well, the problem with that car is that there is no public road that lives up to just what that car can do. It’s hands down the best car I’ve ever been in. That said, the 570S isn’t as good, but it’s better for it. It doesn’t feel like it has the desire to rip your face off driving and as a result it feels more relaxed, relaxing to drive and more fun as a result. I’m 6’1″ and getting into and out of the 570S is very easy compared to its older brother, although the sport seat was, shall we say, constricting.

    I will agree that the infotainment screen is really quite underwhelming, the computer running it is slow and the video feed from the rear camera slow to initialize and then seemingly runs at a sub-par frame rate.

    That all said, you could daily drive the 570S just like a 911 turbo or R8. It’s an amazing car and if the opportunity to drive one comes along, go for it.

  • avatar
    SirRaoulDuke

    All that money and you had to call someone to get it started? LOL

    • 0 avatar

      It’s quite possible that there’s something in the owner’s manual about fully depressing the brake pedal before starting. While the electronics aren’t up to the reat of the 570S’ standards, I will say that for all that money, you get someone to call when there’s a problem. I’m not sure that spending the same amount of money at Porsche, Ferrari, or Lamborghini provides you with with a customer concierge.

  • avatar
    Noble713

    McLarens have really been growing on me lately. I’ve been a life-long Lamborghini fan, desiring to eventually park a baby Lambo in my garage…. But I’ve really been drawn to the 570S and 540C as a potential alternative.

    The reliability problems with the electronics, and replacing the Huracan’s NA V10 engine with a tiny turbocharged V8 are the big downsides.

    Currently they are both still pipe dreams though.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    That interior looks like it has had two hundred grand value engineered from it. Now I know where Pontiac’s former interior designers found openings.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    “Macca?” What the facca? Do we really need a cutesy-pie nickname for a manufacturer of serious speed?

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      It is a british thing. Jeremy Clarkson = Jezza, Paul Gascoigne = Gazza, etc. I’ve heard it more for people than companies, but I can see McLaren having a pet name among the brits being a british car company and all that.

  • avatar
    robc123

    Sure this and the evora 400 are nice cars- I really like the idea of them, but as a hop in an go driver they are totally unsuited. and the money and depreciation if you keep them or put any sort of miles on them. or are they just lease and return type cars?

    To me the Corvette Grand Sport keeps getting better and better when compared to the evora 400 and now this 570s, even when they are in full warranty.

    Just watched a video on a guy who owns a 400 and a 20min video of the list of problems- 20 plus days out of 100 owned in the shop.

    I want to see some reporting on this corvette. Never thought of myself as a corvette guy- and hated the older models but this one is growing on me. cayman/boxster is nice too but that corvette engine sounds so much better than a 4 cylinder.

    I actually feel more comfortable by the thought of buying and holding a ‘vette out of warranty over the others, naive?

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