McLaren 570S: A supercar for city living
SINGAPORE, Oct 22 — On a daily basis, a car like the McLaren 570S will find you taking the long way home at the slightest excuse. A car like this makes driving a pleasure, thanks to the way it responds to inputs, making car and driver feel as one.
Surely such cars make sense only in countries with long, open roads or in areas with relatively light traffic — anywhere but Singapore, in other words? Not necessarily, because the well-mannered McLaren 570S does make an interesting case for itself.
You would never be able to extract the maximum performance from a car with a top speed of 328kmh on Singapore’s roads, so surely there’s no point in owning one right? But that would be like saying that the only way to enjoy a Rolex Submariner is to dive to a depth of 300m.
From a safety perspective, driving a car that is capable of speeds well in excess of local speed limits can be very reassuring because you know that it will stop on a dime in an emergency, thanks to carbon-ceramic brakes that are fitted as standard.
It easily handled the trickiest corners and has enough power to quickly get you out of trouble should you find yourself in a vulnerable situation, like if you are stuck behind a dodgy-looking dump truck, for instance.
While it is true that two-seat mid-engined supercars usually have ultra-stiff suspension set-ups to minimise body roll, McLarens are renowned for their ability to absorb bumps and surface imperfections better than their rivals. The 570S stays true to tradition, even though it has a more conventional suspension than more expensive cars in McLaren’s Super Series range, such as the 675LT.
When driven on local roads, the 570S absorbed bumpy surfaces without missing a beat and could have passed for a luxury sedan in terms of ride comfort. This refinement does not come at the expense of handling. Although it has slightly narrower tyres than the more expensive models in the McLaren line-up, this offered better steering feel that inspired confidence when cornering.
Supercars have too little ground clearance for speed humps and steep car park ramps that are de rigueur for Singapore drivers, right?
Not quite. Despite its ground-hugging stance, the McLaren 570S was perfectly adept at driving over these, as long as the driver slowed down sufficiently.
For even more extreme situations such as unforgiving car park ramps, McLaren offers Vehicle Lift — a S$12,000 (RM36,000) option. This raises the car’s suspension by up to 40mm over the standard 93mm ground clearance in 10 seconds after the driver flicks a lever on the steering column.
Cars in Singapore are expensive, never mind supercars. This is unfortunately a truth that we cannot get away from. However, cars like the McLaren were never meant for everyone, which makes seeing these machines on the road an occasion to whip out your smartphone cameras and shoot.
That said, the 570S does represent some comparative value when you consider that at S$850,000, it is appreciably cheaper than something like a Honda NSX and just 5 per cent more costly than an Audi R8. Between the prospect of owning an Audi, Honda or McLaren at this price point, I know which of the three I would prefer.
The 570S is part of McLaren’s Sport Series, which marks the entry point to the British car maker’s line-up. It may be an entry-level model, but it certainly does not look like one, nor does driving one feel like you are slumming it.
Engine: 3,799cc, V8 turbocharged, 570hp, 600Nm
Performance: 328kmh (limited), 0-100kmh: 3.2s, 10.7L/100km
Price: Approximately S$850,000 as tested, without COE
Pros: Surprisingly practical for driving around Singapore
Cons: Unsurprisingly expensive — TODAY