McLaren adds a GT to its Sports Series with the introduction of the 570GT. Gaining space, more elegant lines in the form of its rear 'Touring Deck' and greater comfort, it's still very much McLaren's interpretation of a GT car. Fast then, and hugely capable, but we'd still like a little bit more...
In the metal
'Superformed' aluminium is used in the bodywork of McLaren's second of its 570 'Sports Series' models. Familiar from the nose to the A-pillar, the 570GT is distinguished from its 570S relation by the addition of what McLaren calls a 'Touring Deck'. It's a glass hatch, side hinged and opening kerbside whether right- or left-hand drive. It covers the area that's a mass of converging lines and engine cover in the 570S. The result is more beautiful, so the 570GT's is a more cohesive and flowing shape. The GT also gains a panoramic roof and a neat spoiler along the rear's trailing edge to allow it the same stability as the 570S. There are less contrasting body colours too, the strakes down the doors from the front wheels now body coloured, for example. The overall effect is dramatic, yet with a restraint that's not so apparent in its showier relation.
The interior is largely the same, save for the inclusion of the space that tucks down behind your shoulders and out over the engine. It adds, says McLaren, 220 litres of luggage volume to the 150-litre front under-bonnet compartment, but it's far from useful. Beautiful, when finished in leather, yes, and it does (in combination with that glass roof) give the cabin a more comfortable, airy feel. It's quieter inside too, as McLaren has worked on the sound insulation; even the tyres got attention to reduce road noise. It's been successful and about as quiet as we'd like a 570hp, bi-turbo V8-powered GT to be - if anything, we'd rather it were a bit noisier. The infotainment system remains much the same, though there are more speakers in the base set-up here, though it's likely most will opt for the Bowers and Wilkins premium stereo anyway.
With a two per cent reduction in the steering ratio, a 15 per cent softening of the front spring rates and 10 per cent at the rear, tweaks to the stability and driver control settings and those refinements, you could be forgiven for thinking it's a softer McLaren. It isn't, or at least it's not quite as GT as you might expect. Given it's based on the 570S, that's hardly surprising. That car's sharp, rich in feel nature is its signature, and the revisions that make up the 570GT do little to upset that. The steering is still beautifully weighted, but it's the rich flow of information that it provides that's so engaging; if you need a demonstration of why hydraulic steering racks still deliver feel that's unrivalled by even the best electric power assisted set-ups, then drive a McLaren. The front axle isn't quite as incisive thanks to the changes, but that was very much a deliberate decision, McLaren anticipating customers will appreciate a car that's easier at speed on the motorway.
The steering is joined by suspension that's got a remarkable ability to ride with real supple composure, almost regardless of the setting you've got it in. Hardly surprisingly turning it to its most focused Track mode does stiffen it up notably, but the ride's rarely busy as a result. Big high speed compressions can see it bottoming out though; only then do you realise just how well the suspension's been doing at providing a good ride - though never at the expense of genuine feel. Thank the super-stiff MonoCell II for that, the suspension hanging off the 570GT's carbon fibre tub, which is a crucial element in the car's make up, inevitably assisting in McLaren's ability to tune it so beautifully. Even if you're not Senna-like in your skills it's well worth exploring the various driving options to get the very best from the GT.
ESC Dynamic mode is a must, but it's only possible to select it if the powertrain and handling modes are set to Sport or Track. ESC Dynamic gives you more control, freeing up the rather tight, if unobtrusive, restraint the ESC delivers when fully on. The benefits are great, the 570GT moving around, accelerating with incredible enthusiasm, yet feeling every bit as agile as a Lotus Elise with three times its power. Its balance is extraordinary, the mild push-on understeer in bends when you're driving hard easily countered by a quick throttle lift to tighten your line. Get on the power quickly and the 3.8-litre bi-turbo V8 engine will have you steering it on the accelerator, that powerplant revving with an urgency that's unlike a forced-induction unit. It's hugely engaging and incredibly fast, the 0.2 seconds it loses to its 570S relation in its 0-100km/h sprint time all but unnoticeable, as 3.4 seconds is not exactly slow - this is dubbed a GT car after all. Keep it lit in the right location and it'll reach 200km/h in just under 10 seconds, the paddle-shifted SSG transmission delivering upshifts with unerring pace, downshifts similarly masterful, though it can be a bit clunky at lower speeds. The 570GT might purport to be a car you'll take long journeys in in comfort, but they'll inevitably be shortened by its epic performance. That's assuming you don't end up taking the long route, as you'll feel inclined to.
What you get for your money
The McLaren 570GT is more expensive than the 570S it's based on, though there's more equipment thrown in, with things like that panoramic roof and a better stereo. Thing is, you lose some stuff too, like the carbon brakes that come as standard on the 570S. You'll undoubtedly find ways of spending plenty more on the options list, as well, but expensive as it is, it feels worth every cent. This is a 328km/h GT after all, which doesn't trail behind its iconic F1 relation too far in the performance stakes...
McLaren's new 570GT is a different take on the 570S, and one that's hugely appealing. It's a super/sports car that gives a nod to usability, a GT very much in McLaren's own way. Brilliant, then, but there's still a 'but', and it's simply that we'd love the looks of the 570GT combined with the 570S's more hardcore nature. Wouldn't be too difficult to do either, and the GTS badge would work very well indeed...