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Breathtaking performance

Sports cars with more than 500 horsepower tend to be something of a macho affair. But are they really only “made for the men”? The McLaren 570GT can set female pulses racing, too …

Text:
Dörte Welti
Photos:
Racerfish.com
F

From 0 to 100 km/h in a cool 3.4 seconds.

It’s not just the fact that the 570GT is the first car ever to emerge from the works of race ace Bruce McLaren with a glove compartment and make-up mirror that gives it its female appeal. The car just stands out among the “I can get up to 100 km/h in less than four seconds” brigade. The 570GT does so in a cool 3.4 seconds – not the most vital of assets for the daily school run, though it does make overtaking something of a cinch.

Designed to drive

The McLaren 570GT is pure driving delight: The steering is direct, the gearing even more so, and the 600 Nm of torque are impossible to miss. It’s clearly the product of someone with a love of driving and an even deeper devotion to detail and design. Step forward Robert Melville, chief designer at McLaren Automotive Ltd., who has been living his boyhood dream at the company’s Woking (UK) base for the past eight years. “I’ve always been drawn to things that are fast,” explains this tall father of three. And he’ll talk with a passion about every detail of his creation: like the sophisticated air inlet slits on the sides, which allow the oncoming air to circulate both around and into the car, to optimally cool the eight-cylinder engine in the rear. Here, perhaps, is the only minus point on this spectacular car. You can’t open the hood – because there simply isn’t one to open. It’s a pity: We’d have loved to view that particular aspect of this technological masterpiece, too. But the folks at McLaren seem to feel that mere mortals wouldn’t know where to begin there anyway, so they should leave any engine work needed to the specialists. You could call it the pit-stop approach: McLaren does, after all, have a proud racing pedigree.

Bright side: This elegant sports car is at its best in “sport” mode, where its 570 horsepower for 1,425 kilos of weight can be excellently tamed. The twin-turbocharged engine with its seven-speed seamless-shift gearbox is also a driving dream.
Rear view: The narrow glass roof can be opened on the driver's side (whichever that is) to reveal 220 litres of stowage space.

Passport to podiums

Visually, too, the 570GT is a highly appealing accomplishment. With its combination of sharp edges and curving lines, there’s something shark-like about it, yet it still manages to look friendly from the front (an admittedly female remark: No man would ever expect his car to smile at him). Are vehicles like these, though, little more than exotic toys – about as useful in this day and age as a heated fridge? Maybe. They are, however, the passport to much of the company’s racing activities: Any team involved in the GT series must produce a certain number of road cars, too (McLaren’s current racing model, the GT3, is competing this year in the Blancpain GT Series, the British GT Championship and various long-distance races). What these cars also are is a lifestyle on wheels. And a dream project for creatives: How much fun must it be to hit that “sweet spot” between weight, power and performance? Rob Melville is particularly proud of the latest addition to the McLaren stable, the 720S, which was unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. “My best piece so far,” he confides. The 570GT certainly won this (female) observer over. Which is sure to please Amanda McLaren, Bruce’s daughter (she was four when he died) and global brand ambassador for the company. Well done, Ma’am!

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