2016 McLaren 570S: English Etiquette and Good Manners

What is a McLaren? For some, absolutely nothing. For others, it’s a company that very successfully competed in F1 for decades. For others still, McLaren is the creator of some the most sought-after, desirable and rare supercars the world has even seen, such as the monstrously cool F1 road car.

In many ways, McLaren is not so different from Ferrari, except for the path that was taken to arrive to where they are today. That path has created two very different kinds of companies and the world is a better place for it. What I mean to say is that the make, like its cars, takes a very humble, self-effacing approach at blowing people’s minds with their creations.

McLaren road cars are monuments that will stand the test of time, and do nothing if not appreciate in value and become milestones in the evolution of the ultra-high performance car. The new 2016 McLaren 570S defines a genre that is quickly becoming the norm. Clear enough?

Diplomatic abuse

Supercars must be fast, but the way in which the car goes fast is not clearly defined. Approaches such as Lamborghini’s Huracán where unconsciousness ensues as the throttle hits the firewall are absolutely valid, and I love them, but are not entirely necessary, or welcomed by a good portion of the elite 1%.

The McLaren 570S is the furthest thing from a bully, but when push comes to shove, when all else fails, the car will dispose of its burden. Its twin-turbocharged 3.8L V8 pounds out 562 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque and wastes no time in getting the 1340-kg (2950-lb.) car up to speed.

Challengers come in all shapes and sizes and unless you’re the RAF, you might as well be Liechtenstein’s air force because the 570S will decimate you. Despite’s the McLaren’s RWD “handicap,” the car will still crush the 100 km/h sprint in 3.2 seconds, on the way to 200 km/h in only 9.5 seconds.

It is then easy to comprehend how fast the 570S is. These numbers are brought to you by a seven-speed, Seamless Shift dual-clutch Gearbox (SSG) that knows nothing about flailing about. Before going out on a first run with the car though, I urge you to start it up, put the transmission in “D” and drive. Although this was a VERY difficult process, it did allow me to understand that the McLaren has the equivalent of etiquette and the most gentleman-like road manners.

Moments later, because that’s as long as I able to hold out, my fingers were all over the central-console-located Active Dynamics Panel once the Active button was lit up.

Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

Comforting and classy

Backing up, the 570S’ cabin is elegantly austere. All types of controls are cleanly and properly grouped together. The seven-inch touchscreen is responsible for infotainment and climate settings. Some of the menus are a little unusual which can be chalked up to British humour – you’ll notice the racing-helmet shod person when going through the HVAC modes. Alcantara, carbon fibre and leather line everything with attractive and subtle contrast stitching. There are no fancy buttons; it’s all about the business of driving. Also, something about a 12-speaker, Bowers & Wilkins audio system…

The available Power Sport Seats are simply divine. Adjusting the seats requires some dexterity but once set up, you’ll never want to leave. Forward visibility is very good thanks in part to the wide-reaching side-view mirrors. The driving position is complicated by the narrowing tub that nearly surrounds the pedals, making left-foot braking a difficult task.

Once strapped in, the horizon becomes the challenge. The panel features two rotary knobs that cycle the various chassis and powertrain settings. For our roads, a suspension set in “normal” is the best while the remainder should be left in “sport.” Unlike the Lambo, there is no ferocity in the way the 570S covers the ground. It doesn't claw at the tarmac as much as it glides over it.

The drama-less efficiency of acceleration is the surprise. I did not feel the mechanicals fighting the herd of ponies and torque. The open differential and four-corner double wishbone suspension with adaptive dampers somehow intuitively counter the otherwise vicious flow of power to the large rear wheels.

Acceleration is linear, as thought being dropped, without the initial kick in the pants. Speed increases alarmingly fast, but other than noticing the car’s surroundings becoming a blur and that well over three digits are posted on the speedometer, no drama is suffered.

This type of experience can be disappointing for some as it is clear the car is doing all the work and the driver’s involvement is next to nil. I thought it was refreshing and absolutely phenomenal, however I will admit to having had a thought for the Huracán LP580-2 tested earlier this summer.

The next realization comes from the car’s unflappable road manners. Grip is out of this world, understeer is not in the 570S’ vocabulary, all the while ensuring a viable level of comfort. Everything about the car’s driving elements is polished to near perfection. The same goes for steering that is as quick as you could ever hope it to be without being snappy. The faster a corner or winding curve is taken, the better the car feels. It is immensely clear that the 570S’ limits cannot be exploited on any road; only a track will put a mild dent in the car’s breadth of abilities.

Reaching a destination is bittersweet. Bitter because you might have to wait an hour before you can drive again and sweet because you get another chance at soaking in one of the most beautiful supercars available today.

The dihedral doors will always attract attention, but it’s the understated details that are truly worthy of attention. Only a keen eye will actually notice the “B” pillar flying buttresses that send air directly on the integrated rear spoiler. The air intakes, the wheels, everything about the car’s shell serves a purpose—there are no massive spoilers, or over the top anything. And you won’t find a straight line anywhere. Damn this car is sexy!

Photo: Mathieu St-Pierre

Uplifting

I mentioned earlier on that the company has an unusual way at doing business. Here we have a galaxy-class brand that is open, approachable and expressly unpretentious. Like the car, the whole experience is quite refreshing. The people at McLaren and the soon-to-open McLaren Montreal dealership share this mindset and if you’re in the market for this car, or the upcoming entry-level 540S, you’re in for a wonderful experience.

The McLaren 570S is the first supercar, of a fair number that I’ve driven, that has made me sincerely envious of the very rich. My expectations of the car and the encounter were crushed, as was my heart when I was forced to return the 570S.

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