The McLaren 570S Spider stands out like every McLaren for its intricate and elaborate design ethos. Or to put it another way, it just looks incredible both from afar and close up. The styling and detail that goes into the body work is innovative and daring employing the latest technology in modern materials and computer aided design software. The head of design at McLaren is Robert Melville who has a passion for cars and believes in pushing boundaries and testing new ideas as a matter of principle. Melville promotes curiosity and experimentation within his team, something many other car manufacturers would do well to follow. This ethos of learning and constantly reinventing what makes a McLaren, allowing people to make mistakes and further develop their knowledge and insight of what a great supercar can be, accounts for a lot of the success and appeal of the brand.
There is something special about McLaren cars, the company behind it and their history. Undoubtedly the heritage gained from the legendary Bruce McLaren is vital, but also in the continuation of his skill in amassing the right people around him. McLaren is more than just a huge Bond baddie special operations building in Woking, it is the people they have recruited that make this a globally recognised brand that only launched their consumer cars a mere eight years ago. When Elon Musk made serious money from the sale of Paypal he bought a Mclaren, which certainly had an influence on his burgeoning desire to start his own car company. Though he used a Lotus chassis for the first Teslas.
I’ve driven many McLarens over the years on track and off and they keep improving every year. The latest McLaren 570S is no exception. For a start it comes in Mantis Green, the most hideous eye catching colour that you ever fell in love with. But I still hanker for the traditional McLaren beacon orange. Though the green and black does a lovely job of bringing out the superbly designed air intakes on each door. That flashy narrow line in carbon fibre that runs back, widening into a paddle shape as it cuts into the body, ending softly just a foot away from the back wheel. The door handle button is cleverly tucked away under the top strut, reducing any drag. Yes, they really have thought of every tiny aspect to make this beauty aerodynamically perfect. The whole car looks more organic than mechanical, like something that has evolved over millions of years to tear through the air with minimal friction.
Not to mention the work that has gone into making this as light as possible. The convertible only gains 45KG from the coupe and it’s a hard top that can go up or down at 25MPH, so this is the model to get. Every minute detail of this car is considered for weight and strength. A continual process that will seemingly end up with a Mclaren weighing less than the person driving it. The only thing keeping the wheels on the ground will be a large lunch. An origami fold in carbon fibre. I jest, but not by much, look at the specs.
The McLaren 570S convertible has 562 BHP (570PS - thereby the name) with a top speed of 204 MPH (328KPH) and does 0-62MPH (0-100KPH) in 3.2 seconds and 0-124MPH (0-200KPN) in 9.6 seconds. It has a 3.8 litre V8 Twin-Turbo engine and can brake from 62-0MPH in 32 Metres. Yet it weighs just under 1.5 tonnes so you get a power to weight ratio of 432P/Tonne.
So how does this translate into performance. McLaren put even more attention into the performance than they do the looks of the car. The handling is magnificent. The first thing you notice, well apart from the terrific acceleration and braking is the way the car feels on the road. It sinuously flows across all road surfaces, adhering magnetically as you push down on the pleasingly linear acceleration, shifting smoothly through the 7 speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. There is no torsion as the carbon fibre monocell F1 tub keeps it rigid on every turn. It is cocksure, smooth and precise, as you manoeuvre that luxurious leather wheel exactly where you want the car to go.
Surprisedly some people think as it’s a sports car that it might be hard to handle, quite the contrary it is easy to drive, the steering is light and precise, and the automatic shift is so smooth, you’ll fail to notice after a while, though you can use the paddles if you wish for better control. But take a tour with a racing driver and you’ll find out just how extraordinary this car can be. I’ve taken these on the track at Millbrook many times, but it took a racing driver to show me how it was done, tearing around the crumbling inner road track at more than twice the speed I would have attempted on sheer corners (70MPH), the steering wheel ricocheting back and forth as he showed off quite staggering driving skills.
You get your usual Normal, Sport and Track mode, though really it’s so good in normal that you would only ever need these on a track. You do need track time to really understand this car, which sizzles with power, a sports car bred in the bone, that wants to go faster and you feel that in your soul. Until you’ve swung the rear end all the way round a corner, you’ve not really experienced a McLaren properly, it’s pretty much what they made them for. In race track mode the acceleration is electric and the engine screams brutally as you downshift contributing to the phenomenal breaking power. This is a drop top that's every bit as good as the coupe. The fuel consumption is not bad either, 26mpg at this level is excellent.
The first thing I like is that the instrument panel is clearly visible without being blocked by the wheel, they’ve brought this over from Formula One. There is a front pocket at the bottom of your seat for the key, which is different. Plus there is a vertical screen for the sat nav and media which is a very nice touch as it makes more sense to see further along your route rather than the sides which are less informative and it fits better in the available space. See McLaren really do think of everything from first principals, not just what everyone else has done. The instruments are clear and practical, feeding you all the information you need, nothing too elaborate, form serving function.
Then there’s the Alcantara leather curving over the gorgeous organic interior with touches of carbon fibre everywhere. This really is like being enveloped in some futuristic techno urban living environment, designed to keep you alive in space, struts and molded panels swooping around you.
Like everyone I love the dihedral doors, they let everyone know the car is special, and once you’ve mastered the technique of the semi drop in and semi leap out, you can look pretty good, rather than the awkward fumble and collapse that designates the new McLaren driver getting into their seat.
The interior stands out even in the supercar category for the combination of simplicity, clean lines and magnificent design ethos. They say there are no straight lines in nature, well this is reflected in this most natural and luxurious interior that envelopes you with care and comfort. It takes a great deal of thought and skill to distill a complex environment down to something this amazing.
An exhilarating race car that is luxurious and comfortable on the road.
It is extraordinary what you get for the money with a McLaren, and the 570S Spider is without doubt the best value in the series. The 570S Spider exhibits its Formula One race DNA in every way, bringing exceptional innovation to its road cars. It is more of a race car than a sports car yet can be driven every day. The carbon fibre tub, the weight reduction, aerodynamics, engine tuning and road sticking character make this a formidable and passionate automobile. It looks even more incredible at night with street lights glinting off the glossy curves, and it looks sodding amazing in sunshine! Design, design, design. Chapeau to the head designer Rob Melville, who is a true spiritual successor to Bruce McLaren.
Full Price and Specs
McLaren 570S Spider Specifications
Maximum Speed 328Kph (204Mph)
0-100Kph (62Mph) 3.2S
0-200Kph (124Mph) 9.6S
Maximum Power 570Ps (562Bhp)
Maximum Torque 600Nm (443Lbft)
Engine Capacity 3,799Cc
200-0Kph (124-0Mph) 133M (436Ft)
100-0Kph (62-0Mph) 32M (105Ft)
Power To Weight 432P/Tonne
Din Weight 1,498Kg (3,303Lbs)
Weight Distribution (F/R) 42%/58%
Dry Weight (Lightest) 1,359Kg (2,996Lbs)