By Cars.com EditorsDecember 6, 2018
About the video
While McLaren characterizes it as a sports car for everyday usability, the 2018 McLaren 570S Spider arrives complete with captivating dihedral doors and an engine fit for the racetrack.
So you're looking for a hardtop convertible and man, your tech stocks have really had a go of it this year, so your budget is 1/4 of a million dollars, give or take. But you really want something different, hmm. Dihedral doors.
A car just ain't a car without these. Fortunately the intrepid reporters at cars.com are your faithful research companions. We've been testing a McLaren 570S Spider this week, a car that's roughly in that price range and definitely has those doors. (car door slams) Oh, the lengths we go for crucial consumer research. So what exactly is the 570S Spider? Well indulge me in a little bit of history if you will. (white board slides) The McLaren Group is an independent, privately-held British company. It's got several arms. McLaren Racing probably the best known since it dabbles just a wee bit in Formula One Motorsports. But a separate and perhaps more revenue generating arm actually builds street legal exotic cars. This arm has been responsible throughout the years for machines like the McLaren F1 in the 1990's, and the SLR McLaren in the 2000's built in partnership with Mercedes-Benz. Now this was re-launched as McLaren Automotive in 2010 and it gave us cars like the MP4-12C and the P1. Currently, that whole line-up is kinda branched into three new cars here, the entry level Sports Series, the mid level Super Series, and the very hard to find Ultimate Series. Between those three you have seven different variants of cars that you can get in the U.S. that are new or upcoming, which brings us to the 570S Spider. Now this is one of the later additions to the Sports Series as a hard top convertible, but the Sports Series itself actually goes all the way back to the 2016 model year, with the introduction of the 570S Coupe or if you really want to sound highfalutin, the Coupé. Got it? Good, so how exactly is the 570S Spider? Well McLaren characterizes it's entire Sports Series as sort of super cars that are made for everyday usability. Ah, the 570S Spider is a daily driver like the original Picasso in some of these houses. Just some regular artwork over the mantle I guess. I mean look at it, it's absolutely breathtaking. We had it over the week of Halloween, it's fair to say the trick-or-treaters showing up in my driveway definitely thought this was a sweeter treat than the cheap off brand candy I was handing out. Now, that's not a very high bar I know but that was without even opening the doors, you do that and people loose their (beep). The power roof is really the cherry on top because the car doesn't look like a convertible. It lowers and raises in about 16 seconds by our timer and it works at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. That's rare for a hard top convertible as many of the ones we tested don't really work once you start moving. You'll move quickly. A mid mount of twin turbo 3.8 liter V8 engine routes 562 horsepower to the rear wheels through a seven speed automatic seamless shift gearbox. Now, in it's normal driving modes, that gearbox isn't terribly downshift happy, it kind of prefers to let you loaf along between 2000 and 3000 RPM, but honestly with 443 pounds feed of torque there's plenty of power even then. Punch it hard or activate the drive train support of your modes and you'll soon reach the upper echelons of the tachometer, hear the turbo's whooshing at peak boost, and experience simply breathtaking acceleration. Remember this is a carbon-fiber chassis and this vehicle only weighs about as much as a Honda Accord. McLaren says the 570S Spider is only 101 pounds heavier than the 570S Coupe and carries the same 3.1 second zero to 60 time. Now, we haven't been to a drag strip to test that time but our experience this week driving it makes it seems like an entirely believable number and it's a smidge quicker even, than the original V12 McLaren F1. (upbeat music) Now we've piloted the 570S Coupe on race tracks but not the Spider. Still our on road handling loops adjusted plenty of potential with quick direct ratio steering. Simply no under sheer even in maneuvers that really should induce it and virtually no body roll even with the adapter shock absorbers dialed over to the cushious settings. Speaking of shock absorbers, those have three settings here, normal, sport and track, and there's actually quite a bit of ride quality difference between those three modes, which is distinctive for this car because for all the virtual ink spilled over them, adjustable shock absorbers in sports cars often just don't really have that much difference between their normal modes and maybe their sportier modes. Kudos to McLaren for really kind of dialing up the differences here and in normal mode, honestly shock absorption and overall isolation not very bad at all for what this is. Of course it wouldn't be a high performance exotic car if it didn't have it's share of warts, and our test vehicle has a few, from lots of squeaking to parking sensors that false alarm a lot to a glitchy passenger side express up window function. There's also a few kind of inherent annoyances, things like a backup camera that in the center screen in front of the steering wheel instead of over in the touch screen in the center stack. Right there it kind of gets obscured when you're turning the wheel. Two, the center touchscreen that doesn't really look very good when you are looking through polarized sunglasses. But to dwell on those things really would kind of be to miss the point about the 570S Spider. This car belongs on a race track, it'd be curving up canyon roads or heading out for a night on the town. And our few days with it definitely suggests that it would do all of those things very, very well. Just don't call these scissor doors. Dihedral doors is technically the accurate term (car door slams) the right amount of snootiness. (upbeat music)