The McLaren 570S is a car that’s very easy to fall in love with. I woke up at 5AM and groggily drove myself to McLaren San Francisco where, waiting for me, was my friend Colleen and a very green pre-production McLaren 570S.
The plan was to get to Fort Mason in San Francisco for a sunrise photoshoot. Along the way, I experienced every inch of the car, inside and out—from the twin-turbo V8 to the Alcantara interior. Only once in a lifetime do you get the chance to shoot a car so…dramatic.
Let’s start from the inside out. This 570S is fully spec’d. I didn’t get a chance to see the window sticker (being a pre-production car and all), but from what I understand, it has everything McLaren has to offer for this car.
The first thing I noticed was the lowered door sill. Getting into this is much less of a show than with a 12C or 650S. The sport design seats are really comfortable, but might feel small for someone larger than me (note: I’m 5’ 8”, 140 lbs, in case anyone was wondering). We drove from Palo Alto to San Francisco and it was comfortable the whole time. Plenty of leg room and the seats were gripping, but not too tight. No back pain to mention, unlike some other exotics.
The Bower and Wilkins sound system is a 12 speaker, 1,280-watt setup, and it sounds incredibly clean. Naturally, the only way to test such a system was to blast Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Beethoven’s “5 Secrets,” “Faded” by Zhu, and Ben Howard’s “The Fear.” A little bit of everything.
All of them sounded beautiful, and the equalizer adjustments in the IRIS entertainment system are very responsive. The subs can be felt in the rear of the doors, and even at high volume didn’t sound distorted. You can hear how clean the acoustics if you scroll down to the video.
The McLaren 570S uses several different driving modes (Normal, Sport, and Track), just like the rest of the lineup. We had it on Sport for handling and powertrain most of the day. The exhaust note (equipped with the Sports exhaust) changes dramatically between the driving modes, and the throttle response is immediate.
You might be surprised to learn that visibility is great. A large windshield, a decent-sized rear glass, and large windows make owning a supercar slightly easier.
In automatic mode, cruising is smooth and once you put your foot down, the car is more than happy to drop a few gears and blast off on command. The power delivery is very fluid, and there seems to be an endless supply of it.
But can a supercar be both powerful and efficient? McLaren thinks yes. We started with a full tank of gas, and ended up using less than a third of a tank. Literally amazing. McLaren says the combined MPG is 26.6—and I believe it. That impressive fuel economy was better than my ’95 1.8-liter Miata, and the power output was more than enough to have a blast while still being refined at the same time.
Even while sipping on gasoline, you feel the smooth power delivery and quick response of the automatic transmission. Pair that with a comfortable cabin and great visibility, and it makes for one very livable vehicle, even in the rain (as we found out on the way back from San Mateo on the 101).
The Perfect Combination
A few things to take note of–If you’re ordering a 570S, do not uncheck the nose-lift option. This car is a street sweeper and you’ll pay more replacing the lip in the first few months than you will for the lift system. It’s quick to lift the front, and adds a lot of peace of mind.
The front has a very happy look (which I love, as I’m a Miata man) and the two-tone look with the MSO Carbon Fiber adds some aggression. If you look closely in the middle of the lip, there’s a small little front camera that helps navigate rough roads. There’s also a number of parking sensors, which very much came in handy.
At the end of our adventure, it was clear to me how good this car really is. In the past three years, I’ve experienced a bunch of exotics, and always look for ‘issues’ with them. The McLaren 570S and Ferrari 458 Italia are the only two cars in this realm that I have a hard time finding cons about.
It was quick, yet livable. It sounds good. And in the right light—just absolutely stunning. I mean, just take a look for yourself…
This article originally appeared on BenRevzin.com; Ben Revzin is a San Francisco-based automotive photographer