Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8: You've both got a new problem.
It wasn't too long ago that McLaren was known for two main things: its top-tier Formula 1 team and sole road car, the F1. That all changed back in 2011 with the introduction of the 12C (originally called MP4-12C) and McLaren has been on a hot streak ever since. By 2015, the 12C was replaced by the 650S as well as the F1's successor, the absolutely superb P1. Oh, and there's the track-focused 675LT. Three world-class supercars and one earth shattering hypercar in only four years.
That's nothing short of stunning, an accomplishment that makes Ferrari blush with respect and a touch of fear. So what did McLaren come up with next? It's so-called entry-level 570S. This one has one main target: the Porsche 911 Turbo.
We were fortunate enough to get behind the wheel of the 570S in Portugal last October and flew home beyond impressed for numerous reasons. First off, power comes courtesy of one of our favorites high-performance engines out there today, the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8. Also serving duty powering the 650S, 675LT, and P1, for the 570S it's been recalibrated to produce 562 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. In fact, McLaren points out that 30 percent of its components are bespoke to the 570S. Power is sent directly to the rear wheels via the same seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox found in the 650S. There are also steering-wheel-mounted rocker-shift panels.
We found the shifts to be rapid and perfectly timed, making the driving experience all the more thrilling. Open the dihedral doors and you'll find an interior that's both luxurious and to-the-point. Overall craftsmanship is superb everywhere you look and touch (a total of 188 man hours is required to build each one). We particularly liked the "floating" seven-inch touchscreen that houses the infotainment system. Compared to the 650S, the 570S's cabin is not only wider but also more spacious. Remember, this is a 911 Turbo fighter, a sports car that's been constantly refined and touted as the ideal everyday high-performance machine. McLaren wants to challenge that.
After driving through the twisty mountain roads in and around Portimao, Portugal, we can proudly proclaim the 570S to be both extremely comfortable, thanks to its leather-wrapped low-slung, standard six-way adjustable seats. Also - and this is equally important - the 570S is supremely confident. With its 42/58 weight distribution, steering is precise and everything feels very nicely balanced. While you won't get the traction of the AWD 911 Turbo, you definitely won't miss it here. And that's because the 570S offers something more: a proper mid-engined RWD baby supercar. It looks exotic and it feels the same when pushing it hard around the track.
But it's also wicked fun to drive under normal circumstances. Compared to the 650S, the 570S is the better everyday driver, hands down. Enthusiasts will have loads of fun explaining to their envious friends many of the 570S's most intricate details, such as its carbon fiber chassis, the new state-of-the-art ESC system, and its performance specs: 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 204 mph. Folks, McLaren has built an extraordinary car here and we say it's a segment game changer. Pricing starts at $184,000 but with many of those must-have options, figure about $200k. It'll be money very well spent.