Supercars have three basic tasks: look good, go fast and be fun to drive. Fortunately for McLaren, they knocked all three of those out of the park with their new bread-and-butter supercar, the 570S Coupe. I got to drive one out of Austin onto twisty Texas Hill Country roads, where believe it or not, it seemed right at home.
[Full disclosure: McLaren bought me coffee and handed me the keys to the 570S for a day, taking me on a drive on roads outside Austin and out for barbecue at lunch.]
More hardcore fare like the P1 and the 675LT are great and all, but McLaren has to fund those somehow. They don’t want to chase volume by building an SUV or a sedan, or a car for Apple, hypothetically speaking. They’d rather focus on what they’re good at: sports cars. So, the burden falls on a few thousand entry-level 570S-es to keep the lights on and fund crazier, wackier stuff.
“Entry level” feels like a misnomer for this car. The 570S may be the least expensive McLaren in North America starting at $184,900, and be from McLaren’s bottom-level Sports Series tier of cars, but it’s still a supercar made by a marque best known for its related Formula One team and its previous record-breaking supercar and hero of my childhood, the F1.
Fortunately, the 570S is as wacky as any more exorbitantly-priced McLaren. Just look at this thing. It has the now-requisite “billionaire doors” made famous on Silicon Valley. Lift one up and you’re bound to attract attention—even more so if you opted for extra carbon fiber bits on the outside.
Our cars for the drive were waiting for us at the Hilton in downtown Austin, where the McLarens attracted a small crowd of onlookers. This car has a presence, with its almost alien looks and those signature showy doors.
The last McLaren I drove was the old 12C Spider. This feels light years ahead of that; everything is smoother and more refined. The outside dihedral doors now have a physical button to press so you wouldn’t have to rely on confused passengers knowing the right direction to swipe to release.
McLaren optimized the aerodynamics of the 570S’s crazy doors to channel air through the center of the door as well. Even the cupholders in the center console were easier to reach.