CARS.COM — There’s very little wrong with your day that even a brief spin in a brand-new McLaren 570GT won’t immediately fix. No, really, it’s true. Cat ran away? No problem. Politics got you depressed? Just go cruise. Lost your job? Well, provided the McLaren is paid for or you’re just borrowing it for a time (like me), that isn’t an issue, either.
Park one of these in your driveway, and you will meet your neighbors, if you haven’t already. All of your neighbors. And some people who live a few streets over. And maybe some who just commute past your house twice a day. The blue bombshell parked in my driveway for a long weekend was this, the new 2017 McLaren 570GT, a slightly different animal than the 570S I tested last year.
The biggest difference between the 570S and the 570GT has to do with the roof — it’s glass on the GT and extends down over a parcel shelf behind the rear seats that partially covers the mid-mounted engine. So actually getting a peek at the 562-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 isn’t all that easy — it’s quite well obscured underneath glass and leather trim.
But that’s okay, you’ll know it’s there in good time. Saunter slowly over to your 570GT (you won’t want to rush over, as gazing at its sharklike visage and impossibly low profile is something you savor as you approach) and pop a door. Every car should come with scissor doors. There’s something truly magical about getting into a car in an unconventional manner, and short of welding the doors shut and sliding in through a window General Lee-style, this is as good as it gets. Swing those carbon-fiber doors up anywhere you park the car, and heads will turn.
Ingress requires something called the “supercar swing.” It goes like this: Plant your butt on the wide side sills, both feet still on the pavement. Sink backward into the deep bucket sport seat, then swing your legs into the narrow footwell. Getting out is pretty much the reverse. You’ll quickly master it, eventually managing to look at least marginally graceful while doing it. Being flexible and limbered up before attempting it is usually helpful.
Once I was inside, the 570GT was a bit more swanky than the 570S I last experienced, which is in keeping with its intended role as a more luxurious, less performance-oriented supercar. This one isn’t meant to tackle the twisty bits of Laguna Seca or Thunderhill raceways (although there’s really no reason why it couldn’t); its purpose is more to provide immense fun blasting down your favorite deserted canyon roads before pulling up to the latest hot Hollywood club.
In its feel and operation, it’s almost exactly like the 570S — docile and easy to handle around town with a ride quality that’s astonishingly good for a car so low and fitted with rubber-band tires, steering that’s as close to perfection as I’ve yet experienced in a car, and an engine that is equally happy cruising down boulevards as it is roaring down interstates. The springs have also been given a retune to allow for more cushioned comfort, and it’s definitely noticeable. The 570GT loses none of the 570S’ sharpness but gains a daily-driver ability that really does make it a practical conveyance.
But the most obvious difference from the 570S comes with the convenience of having that extra storage behind your head, and an expansive glass roof over it.
The glass roof is part of the GT trim, and the light-tan-colored interior of my test car adds a light and airy touch to the cabin that was lacking in the 570S. The S came with a carbon-fiber roof and dark faux-suede interior that, combined with its low overall height, gave a bunkerlike feel. The 570GT has a much more open feel, though I do wish there were some sort of sun shade or electrochromic darkening feature like that seen on various Mercedes-Benz convertibles. Park your 570GT in a sunny place and you’re going to come back to your very own solar oven. Don’t leave any chocolate in the car. Ever.
The rear package shelf is also of questionable utility. While the additional glass out back does make for some better visibility to the rear (something the 570S definitely needed), putting anything like a large duffel up there removes that visibility. And in the event of a hard stop, whatever is there will fly forward and hit you and your passenger in the head. There are some special tie-down cleats on the package shelf that look like they’d work for bungees, but how trashy would that look when pulling up to the club? Best to just put your bags in the surprisingly sizeable frunk (front trunk), at the nose of the car, and leave the beautiful leather and aluminum package shelf bare.
Overall, the McLaren 570GT feels just as wonderful as the 570S and draws just as much attention (even in the unusual Pacific Blue metallic paint that I swear is the exact same “teal” color that covered every 1990s Ford Escort station wagon). It’s not perfect, to be sure — the super-basic Android-based multimedia system looks only half-finished, and some of the interior ergonomics feel only half-researched. The price is pretty eye-watering as well — $226,960 in this fully loaded trim.
But if you can afford such a sum and want something unique and fun that won’t beat you up on a daily basis, the 570GT would be a fantastic choice.