I’m going to start by saying one thing quickly, no one needs any more power in a road legal vehicle than the McLaren 570GT, nor it’s siblings the 570S and 570S, offer. I can’t even imagine what the 720S brings to the table. Whatever it is, it’s entirely unnecessary – but so are supercars, and therein lies the irony.
I caught up with my friend Rob on Sunday, and while walking along Manly beach, he made a point about the McLaren 570GT I’d be pondering since handing the keys back earlier this month. He said, out of all the cars I’ve picked him up in, nothing shocked him like that McLaren.
I’d swung by his house in Erskineville before heading down to the most recent Cars and Coffee Event, and once he’d lifted the signature dihedral doors and had a moment to take in the 570GT’s beautiful saddle tan leather interior, 12 speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system and all-around entrancing cabin, I put my foot to the floor.
A sermon of swear words battled to overcome the erratic and blissful cackle of McLaren’s famous twin-turbo V8 powerplant as we rocketed out of the first roundabout on Henderson Rd. For a car that was designed to be a touring variant, the McLaren 570GT is absurdly quick.
Not only is it diabolically fast, it’s also comfortable and surprisingly luxurious. I use the word ‘surpisingly’ because I’ve been in the 540C, 570S, and 650S and all are noticeably more sporty than the 570GT, and I think that’s what makes the GT so appealing – it does the McLaren thing, the Aston thing, and the Porsche thing, all in one tantalising little package.
When I’m in possession of such a car, my phone barely stops buzzing, and it was a trip from Crows Nest to the East to pick up Dom before a Balmoral run and swim that provided me with the most enjoyable moment of driving I’ve ever had on the roads of Sydney. Let me share it with you.
I pull up in Paddington and call Dom, ‘I’m outside.’
‘But, I’m outside,’ he replies. ‘Can’t see you.’
Turns out in between me popping into his girlfriend’s house in Paddo at 10 pm the night before, he has returned to his home in Neutral Bay. I curse for a moment and remember I’m in a McLaren, and it’s bright and early Saturday morning, and it’s all good.
After a sufficiently cruisey trip over, I engage the Sports mode and beeline for Neutral Bay.
At the end of Palmer St, waiting to turn right onto Sir John Young Crescent to take me up to the bridge, a chap on a KTM Duke rolls past, double takes and then starts to edge back to the passenger side window.
I put it down.
‘You Sam Want’s brother?’ he says.
We converse about the McLaren, his KTM, and my Ducati before the light goes green and I rocket out of the traffic lights and into the tunnel as I watch Rob in the review mirror come after me.
We whip through some traffic up onto the Cahill Expressway, and I’ve got nothing but a black Audi S3 dribbling along the outside lane in front of me, Rob still behind. With a faint flick of the wheel, I’m around the S3 and readying myself to take the next right-hand bend in the overpass tunnel. As I enter the tunnel, Rob still in hot pursuit, I drop a gear, and the 570GT makes, hands down, the most orgasmic noise I’ve ever heard come out of a car, ever.
I don’t know if you were one of those kids on your P’s who applauded your mate for an excellent piece of driving (of course it was always just a swift overtake or an unlikely gap hit), but I wish someone was sitting next to me at that moment because it was special.
I’m literally hooting as I tuck the car into the corkscrew up onto the bridge and Rob is gone, no match for the ex-girlfriend like grip of the 570GT.
He messaged me about an hour later, apparently having enjoyed the moment as much as I did.
The 570GT delivered exhilarating driving experiences for the next 48 hours straight. Later that day I ventured out Windsor way for lunch at Tractor 828 before a spray along Bull Ridge and Putty Roads, my friend Pete coming face to face with a blistering fast supercar for the very first time. It was superb. On Sunday it escorted us to Cars and Coffee where it wooed the 200 odd car spotters with ease.
I’m not going to get overly technical about this car because it doesn’t matter. Like the 570S Spider which launched last month, it’s a variant on the already excellent 570S, using the same engine and same Carbon Fibre MonoCell. It gets to 100km/h in a blink of an eye, and it’ll perform to a standard that will take your breath away.
What I love about the 570GT, is how multitalented it is. It is the ultimate McLaren package – driveable, liveable, trackable. And it’s the GT orientated refinements when compared to the 570S, which make it that way, softening the suspension set up and opting for quieter, better-riding P-Zeros over the track-focused Pirelli Corsas. It’s a brilliant marriage of grand tourer and balls to the wall supercar.
Ultimately, I would need to drive the 570S again to determine which variant I preferred, but I just have this feeling that the genuinely useful rear luggage hatch, refined looks and sumptuous cabin of the 570GT would win me over.
Over the weekend I did have a small issue with the front lift kit, which at one point ordered me to return to a McLaren service centre. A quick engine off and on thwarted the car’s plans, not that I hadn’t already sobbed at the thought of my fun being over – these McLarens are not cars you want to drive in Sydney without the lift kit (and no it doesn’t come standard). I also spent the entire two days trying to explain to people where the button for the door was, which began to test my patience. As did a small whirring noise in the cabin, which I’d be sure to inquire about during a test drive. Forgive me, I’m really nitpicking here!
The McLaren 570GT is brutally quick, stunning to drive and somewhat pleasantly priced for the badge and pedigree that comes with it, starting at $406,800. I think it’s worth noting that this particular model was specced up to $480,940 which is a considerable jump.
At the end of the day, I don’t need or want anything more in a car. You could drive this one every day for the rest of your life, and it would make you smile every single one of those days, guaranteed.
For more info on the 570GT head to the McLaren website.
The Bruce McLaren documentary is now out on DVD. Be sure to check it out.