McLaren 570GT: PH Fleet

"Wow, what a boring spec!" came the fifth post after the story on how I configured 'my' 570GT for the PH Fleet. "That sounded like an accountant choosing their next laptop... flamboyance wasn't the order of the day," said another, the general consensus seemingly I'd gone a little too boring and sensible for what will probably be my one and only opportunity to spec a supercar from scratch.

Had I?

Hand on heart when I arrived at McLaren Manchester (guess what, it's actually in Knutsford, not Moss Side) and saw the black sheet covering the GT I was feeling a little nervous. Bluey-silver IS a pretty timid colour choice for a 570hp supercar, even one geared for everyday use. I was really hoping I hadn't cocked this one up.

After some small talk with the PR and salesman, a signature on something or other (I was a little distracted) and agreement the term was six months and/or 8,000 miles off came the sheet. And if not an immediate, between the eyes 'wow!' like the bright orange S I'd driven a few months previously I was relieved at what I had before me. As promised Ice Silver is a 'complex' colour, the metallic flakes large and 'floating' in the paint and seemingly reflecting whatever light there is on them. So under the showroom lights there was a golden shimmer; out in daylight it looks more blue, especially in evening light. And against the contrasting Stealth wheels, black-tipped exhausts and Dark Palladium bumpers, intakes and trim I think it works.

Indeed, the more I take it in the more I think the Sports Series - in S or GT - is the best looking McLaren to date, and I include the 720S in that. I guess I would say that and all but the proportions are fundamentally spot on; super sleek and delicately detailed with some lovely sweeps and curves. But this is a McLaren, so there's some technical intrigue in there too, be that the 'tendons' on the door to the floating panels behind the front wheels. If there's a bad angle on it I'm yet to find it. Even the view in the mirror over the door and into the top of the side intakes is good.

'Boring' colour or not, the GT absolutely does not struggle in the head-turning stakes either. I've noticed this in McLarens before but, for whatever reason, the response seems to be overwhelmingly enthusiastic too. Drive a Ferrari and you get adulation and hatred in equal measure, the latter very clearly expressed by those who feel it. Apparently not so in a McLaren and I enjoyed the attention in the orange S. I'm intrigued to see if the novelty and my enthusiasm for sharing it wears off as the months go by. I rather hope not.

But what's it like?

My first drive back from 'Manchester' was, I think, a perfect test for the GT's credentials. Sitting in nose-to-tail commuter traffic on the M60 is very much the reality I'll be living with in much of the coming 8,000 miles. But when I branched off to take the scenic route across Saddleworth Moor I got to enjoy a taste of why 'ownership' of a car like this is about more than being stared at in motorway traffic jams.

First impression is that I love the airiness of the cabin. The glass roof, the low front scuttle and the slim pillars all make you feel like you're in a fighter jet and the peripheral vision is hugely confidence inspiring. Even my four-year-old in his booster seat has a clear view of the road ahead! This is very much a McLaren 'thing' of course, and something the 720S picks up and runs with.

For all the ingenuity it's a very simple car too, another McLaren trait I like. The steering wheel doesn't have any buttons on it, the settings for 'handling' and 'powertrain' are straightforward and don't lead to the kind of 'mode anxiety' you get in a 911 Turbo or R8. The focus is very much on the fundamentals like control weights and feedback, not contrived 'dressing' on top.

Speaking of which my first run across the moors confirmed that, yes, the GT has a less manic approach to the corners than its brother. That'll be the slightly slower steering, which doesn't quite dart for the apex like it does in the S. I loved that trait and remain unsure if the GT is therefore the 'correct' Sports Series for my particular tastes. But there's still a weight and feel to the wheel that's leagues apart from the numb and electrically assisted wheels of those German rivals. Yes, even the 911, all things relative.

The amount of steering feedback will shock those coming from those cars, likewise the pressure you need to put through the brake pedal. I've gone for the standard steel discs, reckoning the modulation will be preferable in daily commuting against the bite of ceramics. McLaren does the latter well but anything to make day-to-day stuff more relaxing speaks to the GT remit in my book. And the power is there but you do need to give them a proper shove. Again, it's a McLaren thing and inspired by the fact many of the team drive old racing cars and like the feel of a traditional, unservoed brake.

The ride - again softened slightly over the S - is also very impressive and I'm happy dialling everything into Track for when I'm pressing on out in the wilds. Like every McLaren I've ever driven it has a habit of scuffing its nose through compressions and you need that damper support to keep this to a minimum. It's still a little alarming when it does happen, albeit a useful physical reminder that you may want to wind your neck in a little. I was also a little alarmed at the low teens mpg when driven thus; thankfully the first motorway commute recorded 28mpg-plus which is pretty impressive for a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 I reckon.

Three days and 500 miles in these are the things I'm fixated upon for now. I'm sure the more regular stuff like 'does the nav work' and 'can I fit the shopping in' will become more of interest as I settle into using it as my daily. As it stands I'm still fully immersed in the 'I've got a supercar' wonder and not in any rush for that to wear off.

I think I like the colour too.

Moorland fly-by in the 570GT

: McLaren 570GT
Run by: Dan
On fleet since: April
Mileage: 956
List price new: £178,735 (Basic list price of £155,755, plus Elite Ice Silver paint £3,490, Super-Lightweight Forged wheels in Stealth £3,490 + £1,110, red brake calipers £900, Rocket Red badge set, Vehicle Tracking System £630, Sports Exhaust £3,240, Luxury Design 2 package in Saddle Tan and Carbon Black from By McLaren Designer Interiors £2,520, Carbon Fibre Interior Pack £2,500, GT Upgrade Pack £5,020, first aid kit and warning triangle £60)
Last month at a glance: Enjoying that new-supercar smell while it lasts...

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Comments (54) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Gus265 12 Apr 2017

    I like it Dan - very nice!

    Do you have this and the F-Type parked outside your house?! The £250k garage!

  • GranCab 12 Apr 2017

    Sorry - but in some shots the exterior/interior colour combo to me is baby blue with baby poo ....

  • great_kahn 12 Apr 2017

    Once in a lifetime opportunity to spec a supercar and that's what you come up with? Awful.

  • Krikkit 12 Apr 2017

    Looks fantastic, I'm not a bit jealous... honest.

  • The Surveyor 12 Apr 2017

    great_kahn said:
    Once in a lifetime opportunity to spec a supercar and that's what you come up with? Awful.
    Nope, I think you're quite wrong. It may not be to your taste, but it's certainly not awful.

    The GT is by nature a more relaxed version of the 570s, it should be a more relaxed colour. Leave the shouty 'running shoe' colours to the 's' IMHO.

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