A small Canary Island about 300 km west of the African coast as location for the launch of a new McLaren car? I didn’t really think that was a good idea at first. But when I came to Tenerife, which is the biggest of the Canary Islands, I quickly realized how wrong I was. It was the perfect setting to try out the new and more refined gran turismo character of the McLaren 570GT.
Together with the 570S Coupe and the 540C Coupe, the 570GT is the third model in the recently Sports Series family of McLaren. The 570GT is a derivative of the 570S, which was launched about 6 months ago, leaving the key figures and major parts such as chassis and drivetrain unchanged, however putting an even bigger focus on everyday usability and comfort, which was good on the 570S already.
The powertrain consists of the familiar twin-turbocharged 3.8 litre V8 producing 570 hp and 600 Nm of torque which arrive at the rear wheels through the 7-speed dual clutch gearbox SSG. The 570GT with 1350 KG of dry weight is about 37 KG heavier than the 570S and accelerates from 0-100 kmh in 3.4 seconds versus 3.2 seconds in the 570S. While Carbon Ceramic brakes come standard in the 570S, they are an option on the 570GT.
The 570GT has a rear opening glass hatch which opens sideways, offering an additional 220 liters of storage while the front luggage area remains the same with 150 liters of storage.
A fixed panoramic glass roof that runs all the way to the glass hatch provides a very bright, almost cabrio-like feeling in the cabin. To ensure that the sun, which I found to be very intense in Tenerife, doesn’t do more harm than good, the roof glass has an 18% tint and features a sound and solar film that absorbs solar radiation and provides additional noise insulation. It is the same glass used on the P1 by the way!
Other features that help increase everyday usability include more storage in the doors and for the first time in a McLaren: A glovebox (not in US-models due to legal restrictions). The doors on the 570GT open further and the sill is now lower and narrower to facilitate getting in and out of the car. The seats can be electronically adjusted in eight ways and are fully upholstered in leather as standard. Tailor-made Pirelli P Zero tyres help reduce in-cabin road noise for a more relaxed and comfortable traveling experience if you want to.
Despite my initial doubts about the location, the roads on Tenerife turned out to be a fantastic choice to put the McLaren 570GT to the test. They included almost every terrain, from highway to mountain passes with good and bad tarmac, narrow hairpins, fast corners and gave me spectacular views of the Atlantic and a volcano at 2500 meters above sea level.
I started the drive on the highway in the normal setting for both suspension and gearbox, cruising along the Spanish highway at 120 kmh with cruise control on – I couldn’t wish for a more comfortable ride. It can easily rival its competitors in that segment, namely the Porsche 991 Turbo or the AMG GT.
Suddenly I realized that the McLaren provokes a very special reaction from people. I received lots of thumbs up and at one point a motorcyclist pulled up next to me kept asking me (on the highway) if he could take a picture of the car. Happily I pulled over and stopped at the next possible spot. In broken English and mostly Spanish he explained to me that he rarely sees Ferraris or Lamborghinis on Tenerife and they are usually 20+ years old, but he has never seen a McLaren before and it is so incredibly beautiful. I certainly made his day and was happy to do so.
Leaving the highway it was time to see if the 570GT was good enough on twisty mountain roads. Heading up to over 2500m the roads got more and more empty and rewarded me with breathtaking views above the clouds which hang on the lower parts of the island. The roads constantly changed from bad tarmac to good and vice versa.
I then switched suspension and transmission to track mode when the road was good enough and wow, the 570GT indeed is a proper sports car. With ESC set to dynamic, the car allowed a little bit of drift before cutting power and on a closed stretch of the road I was able to put the car sideways a couple times. Even at the limit of traction the car is easily controllable and simply a ton of fun when going sideways while the turbos and the V8 combined with the sports exhaust create a very motivating and engaging sound to say the least.
Suspension and steering feel very direct in track mode on the roads leading up Pico del Teide volcano in Tenerife and I stopped at the Teide observatory to refresh and relax a little from the fun drive.
On the way down from the volcano and going a bit faster than I should have I suddenly noticed a van behind me with two men in military clothes following me. After a while I stopped for another break and so did they. A bit afraid at first that I might have gone a little too fast, my worries were quickly resolved when they came up to me and asked for pictures and even more so when I asked if they wanted to sit inside for a second.
Almost in tears the two guys told me in broken English that it was the best day of their lives and when they revved the car for a second and then got out they had the goosebumps. That was certainly a sign of how special the car is and the reactions it causes. I enjoyed putting a smile on so many faces in Tenerife and then continued driving on the fun roads back to the highway and back to the hotel.
It was really impressive for me to see how so many different characters could be fitted into one car, so the 570GT certainly is a car with great day-to-day usability, however it is still a proper sportscar and a true McLaren that turns heads wherever it goes.
The McLaren 570GT starts at 154’000 GBP, about 10’000 GBP above the 570S and its main competitors are going to be the Porsche 991 Turbo and the Mercedes-AMG GT, which are quite a bit more affordable, however lack the exclusivity and spectacular looks of the McLaren. Although the AMG GT might beat the McLaren in terms of sound, I still like the sound of the 570GT’s twin-turbo V8 very much.
While a bit more expensive than the 570S, it might be worth considering the 570GT, because it features everything one could wish for in a daily driver and comes with an extensive extras list already included in its base price. It is as comfortable as you want it to be for long drives but at the same time a true and proper McLaren sportscar with the twist of a button. As the reactions on the streets have shown, the unique looks of the 570GT certainly appeal to most people and it’s greatly satisfying to put a smile on so many people’s faces just by passing by. An experience that can hardly be reproduced with any of its competitors.