McLaren 570GT -

performance with

luxury

McLaren 570GT, ready to fly
McLaren 570GT
McLaren 570GT, cabin
McLaren 570GT at Mt Teide observatory
McLaren 570GT, open road
McLaren 570GT, rear
McLaren 570GT, butterfly doors

EVERY gram counts. It's a philosophy that has seen McLaren glide from Grand Prix glory to becoming one of the world's most sought-after supercar brands - in just six years.

British-built alongside the F1 operation at a state of the art production facility in Woking, the McLaren road cars slot into three distinct categories.

And if Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series sound more like mixed martial arts competitions the art-forms here are more concerned with sexy, fluid, lightweight design and extreme performance.

But the latest model to emerge from the McLaren house of magic adds an extra selling point to the package - luxury.

It is the McLaren 570GT, the name a nod to the car's 570PS (or 562bhp) of punch, and while sticking firmly to the dynamic principles of the other Sports Series models, there's more emphasis on opulence and comfort.

You're still going to require the small matter of a spare £154,000 to prise one away from any of the company's half dozen dedicated UK dealers, but for those operating at this level it's money well spent.

Having experienced a full-on adrenaline rush behind the wheel of the awesome 675LT Spider (only 500 were built and unless you happen to be named Jenson Button or are prepared to part with about £1.3million you can forget about owning one) the switch back into the 570GT was an eye-opener.

This really is an everyday supercar. As a Grand Tourer it is designed for cruising effortlessly along fast roads and motorways.

What's also significant is that while all of McLaren's previous road cars are estimated to spend a fair percentage of their working lives on the racetrack, the newcomer is unlikely to edge any closer than the spectators' paddock.

Nonetheless, the big numbers are all there, proud and undiluted.

Powered by a twin turbo 3.8-litre V8 engine, the 570GT can scorch from 0-62 in a fleeting 3.4 seconds and on to a potential top speed of 204mph.

Transmission is via a lightning fast seven speed dual-clutch gearbox and there's an official average fuel return of 26.6mpg, though perhaps only in your dreams.

That said, the 570GT experience is one you don't forget in a hurry.

Visually the McLaren is a creation of exceptional beauty - elegant, swept back and slung super low.

A touch on a concealed button raises the lightweight butterfly doors and provided you don't have an arthritic hip it's a gentle descent into a pair of plush ventilated leather seats.

Such is the luxury feel of the deep lambswool carpeting that occupants could be forgiven for thinking they should be wearing bedroom slippers. There's even a glovebox for goodness sake, itself a first for McLaren.

But the sporty combination of a flat-bottomed steering wheel, carbon cabin inserts and roar of the V8 engine when you prod the start button never lets it be forgotten that this is truly a supercar.

Out on the open road the acceleration is instant, and while the suspension - and there are no engineers more adept at honing this than the specialists at McLaren, several of whom have been poached from the F1 team - is marginally less stiff than the car's 570S Coupe stablemate, there's scope at your fingertips to sharpen things up.

A rotary switch below the dash alters the handling between Normal, Sport and Track as does a separate dial for the powertrain. The difference is striking as the car assumes a more race-ready character.

A 150-mile test route from the south coast of Tenerife to the world's largest solar observatory at 7,840ft on the slopes of active volcano Mount Teide provided a thorough examination of the 570GT's qualities.

From the hectic autopista del sur motorway, through quiet hillside villages and dense mountain forests to the terracotta and pitch black rock of the volcano's crater - more like driving across the face of the moon - the GT underscored McLaren's pledge that the car would deliver on the performance, handling and precision to satisfy the most demanding of drivers.

With its panoramic glass roof, fastback style rear end, disguised storage spots and touring deck loadspace, this car has the practicality to match its catwalk grace.

It's worth every gram in gold.

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