07 February 2016

McLaren 570S First Impressions

I went to McLaren San Francisco yesterday to drive the 570S. Alessandro, the sales manager, first drove the car to give an overview and then we swapped for some behind the wheel time.

Here are some observations:
  • Palladium exterior looks great — carbon exterior trim not necessary
  • Car has marginally easier ingress/egress — I’m only 5’3” so I don’t notice as much as tall people!
  • Soft close is either/or — nice, but I don’t feel a must have
  • Standard seat felt like sitting on leather wrapped concrete
  • Power seat controls still unusable without practice; would get the manual seats
  • Interior trim in palladium is decent — practical benefit of carbon interior is extended paddles?
  • Unparalleled forward visibility; apparently the front windscreen has been enlarged, necessitating a second windshield wiper (boo! the single wiper of the 650S and 12C looks so cool)
  • Track mode suspension really stiff
  • Car is really willing to turn
  • Turbocharger whistle loud around 5k RPM
  • Sports exhaust not necessary

Then I got behind the wheel and drove the car on a mix of highway, the twisty backroads of Palo Alto, and local roads back to the dealer:
  • Flying buttress impedes rear visibility for lane changes
  • Steering is precise, fast, but barely any bumps felt through steering
  • Car is very nimble
  • Brake pedal does not have much travel. This apparently is normal in cars with carbon ceramic brakes.
  • Throttle has a lot of travel. I didn't realize this when I initially adjusted my seating position, so when Alessandro kept egging me on to push the car, I was embarrassed that my seat was too far back for me to floor the car.
  • Power delivery is more linear than the 650S, which I drove late last year. So when the turbos start spinning, you don't feel an insane push.
  • In full auto mode, the gearbox will shift depending on your throttle usage. The car was very eager to get to 7th gear when I was simply cruising on the highway (75mph is around 2500rpm). During mildly spirited driving, the car would shift around 4000rpm.
  • Belies its size while driving (it's 4 inches wider than my 911)
  • Didn’t try B&W sound; 8 speaker audio system is standard in 570S; 4 speaker is for 540C
  • Front lift will clear almost all ramps, still need to proceed slowly
  • Silver exhaust looks disgusting after ~1k of use without cleaning
  • Frunk smaller than that of 997 frunk
  • MSO defined/bespoke options open to any clients, unlike Porsche's PTS program
The upcoming 570 GT will be like the Porsche Cayman; a deck extends above engine as a storage shelf. The rear glass hatch will slope and be openable, like 997 targa, but will open from side instead of roof. The car will be shown at the Geneva Auto Show next month.

The 570S Spider demo will arrive mid 2017 the earliest, though I heard from another cleaning lady that her dealership will have one in January of 2017. That seems incredibly optimistic to me, but we'll see.