McLaren 570S Spider
McLaren 570S Spider
When my 14-year-old grandson, Casey Coady, came out of the door and saw an orange McLaren 570S Spider waiting to chauffeur him to Cars and Coffee, he was completely taken aback. Months later he still smiles when he remembers it.
When we backed the McLaren into line with the likes of other 570S’s, Lamborghini Huracáns, Aston Martin Vantages, Ford GTs and various Ferraris, it was obvious they were a magnet for the younger crowd strolling the rows of cars.
With good reason. The styling is dramatic with scoops and swoops and prominent rear spoilers. There is also nothing subtle about most of the colors. And even the teenagers know that all of these supercars can sprint to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds – many in less than 3.5.
My brain clicked back to another McLaren GT, one I photographed decades ago. Its serial number: BMR M6GT-1. The license plate: OBH 500H. It was the first McLaren GT.
Memories of Bruce McLaren have faded, but one should never forget his Grand Prix wins, his team’s dominance of Can-Am and the fact he co-drove to a LeMans win in 1966. A winner as both a driver and a constructor, McLaren had the idea of creating a road car. BMR M6GT-1 was the prototype McLaren drove on the road. That idea perished, though, on June 2, 1970 when the rear bodywork of the Can-Am car he was testing at Goodwood came loose and McLaren died in the accident.
McLaren the company continued, nailing down eight Formula 1 Constructors’ championships and 12 titles for its F1 drivers. Its place on current Grand Prix grids is improving with each season. We all know about Gordon Murray’s legendary McLaren F1 road car.
As with Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, et al, McLaren’s 570S has quite a history to live up to. This Spider does just that.
The dramatic bodywork does not disappoint — squint-eyed headlamps, purposeful front scoops, a large side air inlet for the engine and a blacked out back end with exhaust outlets and diffuser. Are those taillights or Godzilla’s eyes? The rear spoiler happens to be 0.5 inch taller than the 570S Coupé to retain the same downforce despite body shape differences. How’s that for attention to detail? Then there are the swing-up dihedral doors — an iconic feature on every McLaren.
The aluminum-panel body is hand-fitted over a carbon-fiber chassis and — with only a 101-lb weight penalty due to the roof — results in a Spider with the same structural rigidity as the 570S Coupé. It is worth the weight gain for the two-piece lightweight composite top that tucks behind the seats in 15 seconds, which you can do at speeds of up to 25 mph. It’s no surprise that there are double A-arm suspensions and ceramic disc brakes all around.
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Out back is McLaren’s own 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8. The horsepower peaks at 562 at 7500 rpm, while torque plateaus at 443 lb-ft between 5000 and 6500 rpm. In back of the engine is a 7-speed paddle automatic. Both the 570S Spider and Coupé launch to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and max out at 204 mph. With the top down, the Spider still hits 196 mph, but you’d best glue your hat on.
While we’re into numbers, pricing for the 570S Spider starts at $208,800… and then there’s the tempting option list.
Drive the 570S Spider at speed and the word that comes to mind is harmony: a consistent, orderly and pleasing arrangement of parts. There was a time when driving a supercar could be filled with difficulties — pedals with different resistances, heavy steering, balky shift linkages, etc.
Now you slip into a seat meant to cushion and contain you, with nice bolsters at the love handles. You have a flat bottom steering wheel and all the controls you need when driving are at your fingertips. Gauges are easy to read thanks to a 10-inch screen ahead, infotainment and climate controls are on a vertical touchscreen in the mid dashboard. PRNDL and other controls are found comfortably between the seats.
Driving the McLaren up a canyon road early on a Sunday, I felt we were in tune with each other. There were no surprises, just a quick, sweet drive. Okay, the car’s limits are best left to the track, but just humming up a winding road in harmony with the McLaren is enough.
Months later I still smile when I remember it.
John Lamm worked for Road & Track for 37 years and is equally happy behind a keyboard or a camera. He has written ten automotive books and has been honored with the International Motor Press Association’s Ken Purdy award and the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor award for writing. He is on the organizing committee for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and has been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for two decades.