Red, blue, slightly tending to soft purple. When I arrive at the agreed location, my numb hands have little feeling anymore. It is bitter cold today, even some hail fell along the way. But it hasn’t stopped me from leaving the package of cozy, warming roof sections folded in the back. With the seat heating on the simmer setting, my torso is still pleasantly warm. And the sounds coming from behind my back gave me red ears. Even though winter is making frantic efforts to make itself known for the last time, today promises to be a scorching hot day. Any kind of physical discomfort will melt like snow in the sun when you get the chance to get behind the wheel of the McLaren 570S Spider.
In the meantime, what the McLaren painted in flaming Volcano Orange brings to the crowd becomes crystal clear in the parking lot where I await the arrival of colleagues Jaap and Gert. A group of schoolchildren goes wild with smartphones, the results of their photographic arts are mutually shared on ‘insta’. Around the McLaren, which is cooling off with high doors, the boys and girls no longer have an eye for the beautiful surroundings. Let alone a listening ear for their supervisor who tries to tell something informative about this special place on the map.
In some, you see the ardent desire to sit behind the wheel of the car for a moment, transforming itself into a respectful hesitation. There is a lot of buzz until the alpha male of the group dares to take a chance and asks if he can ride along for a spin. His disappointment speaks volumes when I tell him that his wish – and probably also that of the rest of the group – cannot be fulfilled. Cherish your dreams, boy.
“The terrifying sprint power quickly puts you in a euphoric mood”
After their arrival, Jaap and Gert also show verbally and non-verbally their admiration for the British supercar. A look under the hood would further fuel the fascination, but a button to unlock the lid is nowhere to be found. Further investigation shows that it is nowhere at all: a clear view of the double-blown 3.8-liter V8 is only possible during a visit to the workshop, when the McLaren expert on duty lifts the hood with special tools. To see something of the V8, we now have to peek through the grilles in the aft deck. From which the warm air that has recolorized my hands still rises.
Well, a look into the engine compartment of the McLaren doesn’t add that much. To discover that it houses a mechanical masterpiece, a glance at the list of technical specifications is all it takes. Since the McLaren MP4-12C from 2011, the TWR developed and in collaboration with Ricardo Plc. built V8 is increasingly perfected and modified, and it is even tailored for use in McLaren’s hypercars P1 and Senna. In the back of the 570S Spider, the engine is in one of its mildest configurations, producing 570 horsepower. But even then, its specific power is nothing short of impressive: 150 horsepower per liter, followed by a lot of decimal places. As the number in McLaren’s model code indicates, only the 540C is less powerful.
Initially, it looks upward dihedral door a bit intimidating, but you let your body slide smoothly over the high sill in the bucket seat. The designers have actually taken into account that most of the occupants of the McLaren are taller than 1 meter 40 – even if you are almost 2 meters, you sit in a pleasant (active) position behind the sports steering wheel and have all the arm and leg stroke that you need. you can wish for yourself. After you have closed the door without effort with the large handle, you will also notice how good the view around you is. As if the windscreen reaches the front bumper, you can see that much asphalt in front of you.
“There is not one clear characteristic in which the car excels”
When Jaap takes the wheel for the dynamic aspect of photography, he needs little instruction to get the car rolling. The McLaren does not pose any other issues than, for example, a Renault Twingo. The cockpit has a simple layout, all the control buttons that matter are clearly grouped on the center tunnel. The D, N and R keys are self-explanatory, after pressing the Active button, the powertrain (P for Powertrain) and chassis (H for Handling) settings can be switched on separately with the two rotary knobs. If necessary, you can put the transmission in the ‘lazy’ position and the chassis on ‘flogging’, or choose the combination ‘power is everything’ and ‘floating carpet’. Whatever you want.
What is immediately noticeable is how easy the McLaren 570S drives and how friendly it responds to the tasks the driver imposes on it. No jerks or jerks when the engine is running at low revs, no merciless jerks through the drivetrain when changing gears, no new sequencing for your vertebrae when you miss a low-lying manhole cover for a moment. With all the buttons in relax mode, the McLaren does not turn into a Maybach yet, but the doubt arises whether there is another supercar that behaves as well-mannered as the McLaren.
But the 570S Spider also has another side. With the buttons on the center tunnel in a different position and the orange-surrounded Active function activated, the car suddenly reacts a lot less nice and patient. In fact, he is downright fierce and vicious, and he behaves completely idiot. Then it swells as if demons have taken possession of the engine, and it accelerates so powerfully that the environment flashes past you in stroboscopic jerks. It is not that other cars are forcefully shot backwards through a long and thick elastic band on their rear bumper. No, it is rather that when you floor the accelerator, a TGV seems to bore under the closed rear lid at full speed. One hundred in 3.2 seconds, 200 in 9.6 counts – up to 328 km / h, the highest possible.
The thrust that your body has to process is accompanied by the wind force. As the sounds from the engine compartment violate your eardrums, the airflow through the open windows and open roof tries to take hold of your face – through your ears, your nostrils and your cheeks, slowly sinking to the corners of your mouth. The terrifying sprint power quickly puts you in a euphoric mood. The muscles in your face relax, a grin gently appears on your face. Then the driving wind finds just enough grip on your face and the forces slowly work their way backwards – until the corners of your mouth almost touch your ears. All you can get over your lips now are uncontrolled guttural sounds and silly neighing.
Still, you need not be afraid of losing the presence of mind to keep following the course of the road. Regardless of speed, the McLaren follows the asphalt tape as if attached to a guide rail. Turns stable and full of feeling fast forward rounded, the rubber rollers around the driven rear wheels never want to let go of the pavement and the brakes have the retarding power of a head-on crash on the bank building where the 272,150 euros is in cash for the purchase of this irresistible supercar.
With gentle taps against the flippers on the carbon fiber shift ring, the gear pairs in the gearbox are changed in a matter of moments. At the same time, the two turbos push many liters of air into the V8 engine, so that even more high octane gasoline can be ignited. 570 hp from 3.8 liters: the effect is just as crazy as the theory. And to think that the V8 of the 570S Spider is only the second grade on McLaren’s power ladder. In the P1 GTR / LM even 800 hp is produced from the same stroke volume. And that while the electric drive unit has not yet delivered a millivolt to the wheels.
It is difficult to briefly summarize what the McLaren 570S Spider has to offer. Yes, speed abounds, and you get the thrills that come with a serious supercar, even though this model is pretty much at the bottom of the horsepower hierarchy its British makers employ. And yes, it offers driving pleasure, comfort even – and peace of mind, if you don’t feel like too much motor violence. There is not one clear characteristic in which the car excels. It’s the sum of its features that make the 570S Spider such a desirable supercar. To get it scorching hot …