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2017 McLaren 570GT First Drive Review

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/25/2016 Manufacturer, Ron Kiino
2017 McLaren 570GT First Drive Review

A quirky and crotchety former colleague used to describe cargo-challenged sports cars as having enough room for "a swimsuit and a toothbrush." If he were still reviewing cars, I'm sure he would have relegated the McLaren 570S and its 5.3-cubic-foot cubbyhole of a frunk to that status. But what about the new 570GT—the cushier, more practical grand touring version of the S—whose fastback design makes room for an additional 7.8 cubic feet of goods? He probably would have thrown a beach towel and flip-flops into the mix. Heck, maybe even deodorant. Or, had he come to Tenerife, Spain, for the official media drive, he would know that the 570GT's leather-lined "Touring Deck" aft of the front seats, where those 7.8 cubes worth of space are on display under a glass hatch, can comfortably accommodate a picnic basket courtesy of Fortnum & Mason—"Purveyors to the Queen," pointed out one McLaren official—the sort of leisurely lunch owners of $200,000 supercars routinely enjoy.

I don't know that I'd ever splurge on an F&M picnic basket, but I have to say that the olive oil potato chips and Royal Blend tea biscuits were totally worth whatever McLaren paid. You might think we picnicked on a beautiful beach given the Canary Island location, relaxing to the soothing white noise of North Atlantic waves crashing into the sand. Negative. Tenerife is home to Mount Teide, which, at 12,198 feet above sea level, is the highest peak in all of Spain and the highest island peak in the Atlantic. Tour de France cyclists come here to train, which I know because I followed a few at 35 mph. Up at the road's 7,840-foot summit, where the Teide Observatory houses myriad telescopes in huge white domes, the land is blanketed in black volcanic rock. From above, it must resemble marshmallows floating in a sea of dark chocolate. It was here where we picnicked on gray—McLaren boss Ron Dennis' favorite color—patio furniture, nibbling on beignets and sipping espresso. Surreal and strange. But cool.

2017 McLaren 570GT front three quarters in motion© Provided by MotorTrend 2017 McLaren 570GT front three quarters in motion

The roads zigzagging up and down the peak are scenic and silky smooth, so ideal for not only world-class cyclists but also a world-class 562-horsepower, mid-engine supercar. The 570GT weighs around 3,000 pounds—about as much as a Honda Civic—thanks to lightweighting efforts such as the carbon-fiber MonoCell II and aluminum panels for the hood, fenders, doors, and rear decklid. Hauling a mere 1.5 tons means the 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-8 and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic can launch it from 0 to 62 mph in an estimated 3.4 seconds and to a claimed top speed of 204 mph. Even at altitude, the car felt silly quick and ridiculously fast. Seeing as the GT is more road-focused than its S sibling, the spring rates are reduced 15 percent up front and 10 percent in back, the brakes come with standard steel discs (don't worry; carbon ceramics are optional), the interior boasts an extended leather treatment, and, in the pursuit of peace, there's additional sound deadening, a subtler exhaust tune, and quieter tires featuring the so-called Pirelli Noise Cancelling System.

I'm not sure how much the tires contributed to the cabin calmness, but the McLaren is a serene ride, at least for a supercar. Think of a 911 Turbo S level of tranquility. The ride is supple—again, on par with that of a 911—but over rougher patches, the 570GT is quick to remind that it's no Bentley GT. The magical McLaren steering, like a stay-fit breakfast, is light, organic, and delicious. A "fingertip car," as my friend Randy Pobst would say. Grip is immense, the chassis chuckling at any turn that fails to challenge with 1.0 g of lateral force.

2017 McLaren 570GT steering wheel details© Provided by MotorTrend 2017 McLaren 570GT steering wheel details

Nits? The standard glass roof, which features the same 18 percent tint as that on the P1 hypercar, lets in a lot of sunlight and heat. Not only do you need to bring a hat along for the ride, but the cabin can also get uncomfortably toasty. McLaren upgraded the dual-zone AC system with this in mind, but a darker tint like the Benz SL's panoramic vario-roof is needed. Luckily, McLaren is working on a sunshade, so if you buy a GT now, be sure to schedule a retrofit appointment. Otherwise, the GT's trademark glass hatch looks great and functions well. No squeaking or rattling coming from behind your head, as the glass's carbon-fiber frame keeps the area tight and secure. The hatch even opens curbside—for left-hand drive such as the U.S., it opens from right to left; for right-hand drive, left to right.

2017 McLaren 570GT tires© Provided by MotorTrend 2017 McLaren 570GT tires

As this is a McLaren, the 570GT offers numerous options and customization. A 12-speaker, 1,280-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio system costs a reasonable $2,240, and forged wheels range from $3,200 to $4,230, depending on the style. The best option to get? The no-charge nose-lift that will help save the front splitter from scratches and cracks (and your ears from really painful noises). For those wanting track bits, there are $8,850 carbon-ceramic brakes, $6,080 carbon-fiber racing seats, $990 P Zero Corsa tires, and a $170 fire extinguisher. McLaren's bespoke division, McLaren Special Operations (MSO), will take your desires even further, offering everything from $350 colored seat belts and a bevy of $7,280 paint options to a full $12,120 carbon-fiber exterior package.

The 666-horsepower 675LT Spider is arguably the better island buggy. Open top, more than 100 extra horses, and berexclusive (read: sold out). But for heading off into the sunset, and taking along a fishing rod, a tackle box, and a PB&J (and of course, a toothbrush rolled up in a swimsuit), I can't think of a better ride than the 570GT.

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