The third member of McLaren’s entry-level Sport Series is a 562 horsepower mid-engined supercar offering such a great ride that it has no real competition. Forget the Audi R8 or the Porsche 911 Turbo. If you want to cross the continent driving a proper rear-wheel-drive exotic, McLaren’s first hatchback is the correct answer.
(Full disclosure: McLaren wanted me to drive their latest and greatest so much that they flew me to the Canary Islands and put me up in a hotel the size of a smaller village.)
Despite all the obvious similarities, the GT is not just a 570S with a bit of extra greenhouse bolted above its engine. McLaren being McLaren, a bunch of the Coupé’s details were changed in order to make the new version the most comfortable McLaren ever, a quality they hope should more than justify the ten percent extra you have to pay for it over the 570S.
From the outside, the most obvious difference next to the tinted glass hatch is its extended rear spoiler. Since the Coupé’s flying buttress design had to be ditched, this 10mm extension is responsible for putting enough downforce on the rear axle.
The side intake inserts are body colored now instead of black, while under those complexly curved aluminum panels, the GT hides softer spring rates—with a 15 percent reduction at the front and 10 percent at the rear—a two percent slower steering rack and Pirelli’s new noise-cancelling P Zeros.
The power output is the same from the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 at 562 horses and 443 lb-ft of torque. But because of the additional weight of the standard panoramic roof, soft-close doors, power seats, steering adjustment and quite a bit more leather, on paper, a GT shouldn’t be able to catch you in a 570S.
Still, it will get to 60 mph in a brisk 3.4 seconds and keep going until you reach 204 mph in seventh gear, and while the GT comes with steel brakes and the road-biased rubber as standard, you can also spec it with carbon rotors and sticky tires if you intend to track it occasionally. Based on how capable the 570S is pushed to the limit, the GT shouldn’t be boring either.
But this is a road car first and foremost, so it’s more important to know what’s it like when you floor it on bumpy mountain roads, hoping it won’t bottom out.
The ride quality is amazing. It really is. Not just for a sports car, but by any standard. That means that at normal speeds, the 570GT feels almost nothing like a supercar. I’m also happy to report that while the same turbo lag that’s in the 570S can sabotage some of those perfectly planned drifts in second gear, the GT can get just as mad as the S if you really want to get going.
It’s remarkable how many cars they can jam into one body nowadays, but this McLaren may be the most extreme example yet. Even with the sport exhaust, it’s a very quiet cruiser in normal mode, but it can also get very angry and surprisingly quick in no time at all. Keep the boost up, and the party never stops.
Does it offer a significantly different experience than the 570S? Nope. A touch of extra weight and slightly softer springs don’t matter that much when you have 562 horsepower and a very good gearbox in a still rather light rear-wheel drive supercar. Despite McLaren’s softer settings, the grip level is still very high, and when you get it sideways, the remains very controllable and easy to recover, making any driver feel like a pro.
I liked the 570S a lot, only to find the GT miles more attractive. Now, I think at under $200,000, this is a lot of car for the money, and might just be the better version overall. Fast, pretty, easy to live with, and certainly more exclusive than any of its competition.
Seeing a McLaren is an event, and that won’t change since the company is profitable today, which means they don’t intend to make more cars than 5,000 a year. They don’t need to.
They won’t build SUVs either, and when you look at Ferrari’s 7,000+ production figures and Lamborghini expecting to succeed with their extreme Bentley Bentayga alternative coming in 2018, it’s obvious that McLaren has something special to offer aiming for a certain kind of wealthy individuals.
To be perfectly honest, after driving a 675LT Spider for a very short hour up the hills, I didn’t think about the 570GT anymore. My brain was filled with how savage and exciting that car is. The word ‘wow’ doesn’t do it justice.
Then again, that car retails for $550,000 nowadays, so it’s more than you can afford, pal—and that doesn’t even buy you a nose lift system. The 570GT’s base price does, and with the same V8 and carbon tub, that makes it basically a bargain.
You know what’s more practical than a McLaren 570GT? A Porsche 911 Turbo. It’s okay if you still prefer that. We’ll all get to that age one day.