In the midst of year-end discount promotions to let go of older vehicle stocks, some auto brands continued to roll out their latest cars shortly before the Christmas holidays, in preparation for the upcoming 2016.
Earlier in the Christmas week, Lamborghini Hong Kong (Kingsway Cars) held a small media reception on the latest rear-drive Huracán street variant, the ~HK$3.6M LP580-2. Meanwhile, a weekend earlier, McLaren Hong Kong (Goodwood Motors) lashed out a full show and unveiled the ~$3.2M 570S to a trove of existing customers, VIPs, and the auto press.
The same studio warehouse at the Shaw Studios complex may have been used for the brand’s initial unveil and 12C’s launch back in 2011, but this time the launch program was not about cloth-unveiling formality, but instead consisted of a demo vehicular drifting performance by pro-racing driver Charles Ng, followed by a sharing session by Ng and local motoring authority Dik Kong Sang. Dik, a veteran auto journalist currently running the local Automomo webzine — and the only local media invited to such overseas test drive — joined Ng in early December to test drive the new 570S, the 650S, and the 675LT (Long Tail) at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, experiencing the differences in handling and performance amongst the said models.
Referring to the Sepang test drive experience, Ng told the crowd that the 570S yields the most comfortable driving experience amongst the three. Whereas the track-oriented 650S and 675LT ‘suffer’ from overaggressive nature with over-sensitive steering input and much stiffer rear suspension setting – which attribute to easier loss of control in the case of wheel slip and over-countersteering – the 570S features relatively softer suspension settings and slower steering ratio, which helps maintain a more “linear” drifting (or sliding) motion during cornering, allowing for easier control and increased driving pleasure to the everyday driver.
McLaren predicts the 570S will help triple the company’s sales volume by 2020, so the vehicle’s initial local reception should be very encouraging, as it is reported to be very positive, and that the first two batches of stock (in undisclosed numbers) have already been sold out.
“We have received a full attention about the introduction of Sports Series. . . The product differentiation between McLaren Ultimate Series, Super Series and Sports Series clearly defines the market demands by various customer groups. The launch of Sports Series completed our target market segment in terms of high performance. With its class-leading level of performance coupled with optimised handling characteristics and driving dynamics, [the 570S] is the most stunning and captivating model you can experience in the sports car market,” noted the local dealership during the event.
Such initial success, however, could be partially attributed to the private preview of the pre-production 570S back in July, just weeks before the dealership previewed and press-launched the limited-production, ~$5.8M 675LT in the city at the end of the month. The 675LT, a lightweight, track-focused variant of the 650S featuring a reconfigured rear active spoiler system, had a local quota of just ten units, which have since been quickly sold out. For the record, the highly secretive 570S prototype preview occurred at the Edge Architects studio at the heart of Happy Valley’s residential district, where the venue formerly served as an auto garage for years.
As a recap, the 570S is powered by an improved iteration of the 3.8L twin-turbocharged V8, designated M838T E, with 30% of the parts redesigned. It delivers 570hp through a 7-speed Graziano dual-clutch gearbox. A dry weight of up to 1,313kg (with lightweight options) gives the 570S a power to weight ratio of 428bhp per tonne, delivering a combined fuel economy of 10.7L/100km (~9.35km/L) and CO2 emissions of 249g/km.
With the 570S, McLaren focuses on delivering “day-to-day usability and drivability,” as well as easier everyday serviceability – due to the use of more traditional body materials instead of the carbon composite variants – against the most sporting model options in its range (ie. 650S/625C and above.) The 570S has increased luggage space, greater interior storage, leather upholstery, and various audio/communications/navigation/telemetry options, albeit with the omission of certain dynamics such as the signature rear active spoiler.
That said, the even lower-tier 540C, which promises even more “day-to-day usability and drivability” than 570S’ with improved city driving and ride quality, is not being openly offered locally, even though it is still available for special order. GTSpirit however feels that, as a novice Sports Series model, Hong Kong could be a viable market for the 540C if its base price can be kept at below $3M. Nevertheless, the local press claims that the 570S’ relatively low “entry” price is already a testament to the current economic situation, a reasonable one but without going way over the line.
Due to such vast reception, scheduled delivery of current 570S orders is predicted to be around the second or third quarter of 2016.