Twin test: McLaren 570S v McLaren 570GT

Twin test: McLaren 570S v McLaren 570GT
Twin test: McLaren 570S v McLaren 570GT

 One’s a sports car, one’s a grand tourer, both are really supercars

Back when Porsche launched the Cayenne, purists grumbled about this sportscar manufacturer sullying its hands with an SUV. So what they’d make of a Formula 1 manufacturer churning out a hatchback is anybody’s guess.

Okay, so the McLaren 570GT isn’t really a hatchback. But it has more luggage space than a Ford Focus, so think yourself lucky we’re not calling it a crossover.

The GT is like the 570S but with a shallower rear body angle covering a pack-your-bags cargo bay for those idle sojourns to Cannes. It’s also not quite as ferociously aggressive, dishing up its own version of long-distance road manners instead of the trackday savagery of its more focused relative.

McLaren 570S

Price: £187,290 (as tested)
Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8
Transmission: 7-speed SSG, rear-wheel drive
Power: 562bhp
Torque443lb/ft
0-62mph: 3.2sec
Top speed: 204mph
Fuel economy: 26.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 249g/km

570s_570gt_032-l

This is seen (or rather heard, and felt) in its tyre choice, exhaust and steering set-up. It’s a little less manic, a little more civilised. But it’s still a 3.4-second sprint monster, and before ten seconds are up it can be travelling at about 125mph, so while GT cars are meant to be powerful it still takes the breed to new levels of performance.

Will you ever notice the 0.2 seconds you’ve lost to the 570S? Unlikely. And either can bust the 200mph barrier, which is something else you’re unlikely ever to do in the real world.

But if you jump from the GT into the S, what you will notice is the latter car’s absolute, speed-focused rawness. Both 570s are based on the same ultra-light, ultra-rigid carbon structure; in the S, McLaren makes the most of it with a set-up that’s aimed unashamedly at the driving purist.

It’s harder work, of course, and its suspension is more at home on smooth racetracks than truck-pummelled public roads. Its steering feels every imperfection in the surface when you’re simply pottering along – but then that’s the payback for a level of communication in corners that’s simply sensational. It’s poised and predictable, bidding you to drive it fast – and when you want to do that, the banshee din from the sports exhaust adds a wonderfully outlandish soundtrack as you accelerate with an intensity that needs to be experienced to be believed.

McLaren 570GT

Price: £165,250 (as tested)
Engine: 3.8 twin-turbo V8
Transmission: 7-speed SSG, rear-wheel drive
Power: 562bhp
Torque:443lb/ftm
0-62mph: 3.4sec
Top speed: 204mph
Fuel economy: 26.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 249g/km

570s_570gt_010-l

Hence that 3.2-second sprint time. A whole fifth faster than the GT, but with its other-worldly drama and phenomenal dynamics the 570S is about so much more.

Thus these are two sides of the same coin which, despite their clear differences, are actually very hard to divide. The S is a supreme sports car: the GT is a supreme, well, GT car.

Which is better? Neither. Both. It really is down to personal choice. Whichever you buy, you’re getting the moon and stars on a stick.

Being petrolheads at heart (petrolhearts?), if you were to poke us with a cattle prod we’d take the keys of the 570S and revel in the joys of what McLaren calls a sports car but we all know to be a supercar. But the GT car we all know to be the sports car we all know to be a supercar is a pretty beguiling prospect too.
John Calne, Pistonheads

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