McLaren nails girl-friendly sports car with its 570GT

McLaren nails the female-friendly sports car with its magnificent 570GT

“BUNS of steel and thighs of iron” may not be how you define yourself - Madam Wheels is certainly nowhere close to it - but there is always room for improvement, right? If you’re on board for the hard yards, McLaren’s new 570GT may be the car for you. Women have long coveted cars from the high-end British marque even though some may consider them masculine. But in the “grand tourer” 570GT, the brand has produced a V8 sports car that’s befitting a feminine drive, blending form and function into a track-worthy beast that is also perfectly elegant as a road-registered ride. Getting in and out of it can be tricky, though.

‘In McLaren cars, the focus is purely on the driver so they don't include anything that doesn’t add to the driving experience.’

There’s something wonderful seeing a woman in command of a serious sports car but as some of the articles below here show, finding one which ticks all the boxes can be hard to do. McLaren might just have created the perfect fit with this 570GT, combining comfort and practicality in a super-fast car that’s ideal for daily use and terrific for longer drives, too.

It’s certainly Madam Wheels’ pick of the pack from the marque’s entire lineup at the moment. It was basically love at first sight when the car was initially presented for review at its Melbourne showroom. Its Pearl White exterior showcased the car’s sweeping curves, side grooves and athletic haunches to impressive effect, it’s leering grin and slim-line LED headlights exuding serious attitude. Inside, the all-round Saddle Tan leather over the Carbon Black interior looked opulent enough to use on an Hermes Birkin handbag. The look is pure luxury, right down to the soft-closing doors.

The thing to keep in mind with McLaren is that it’s a technology company first and foremost, so builds cars among many other things. With everything it puts together the goal is to be the most efficient, the fastest and the best. In the cars, the focus is purely on the driver so they don't include anything that doesn’t add to the driving experience. Doing away with unnecessary clutter is one thing that sets these cars apart from other brands. There are no controls on the steering wheel, for example. A downside of this approach from the female perspective, however, is that there is also a dearth of places in which to store water bottles, coffee cups, the mobile, even change. The doors are completely devoid of cutouts or cup holders, but that’s possibly because everything would fall out when the iconic double-hinged dihedral doors flare out.

So you’ll understand why the cockpit isn’t overloaded with buttons, dials and displays. It’s pared-back simplicity is almost relaxing, designed as it is to deliver intuitive functionality to the driver. Less intuitive is the touchscreen system. That could use some work, given the unnecessary complexity of things. However, I like the way the view from the (optional) reversing camera is displayed in the middle of the driver instrument cluster.

‘Most buyers of the car are more attracted to its sweeping line than the extra bit of handbag space it might offer.’

Behind the wheel, the 570GT has a comfortable driving position, great visibility and is just thrilling to drive. The car accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds; its top speed is 328km/h. Cocooned in the snug sports seats, even fast cornering couldn’t budge me and body roll is non-existent. In fact, the ride is surprisingly tame even on rough surfaces, no doubt due to the lower spring-rate stiffness on this car’s suspension. Slightly reclining the seats gives the cockpit a rocket-like feel.

A leather-trimmed touring deck behind the seats provides space for the handbag and a spot of shopping. It’s also accessible via a side-opening carbon-fibre framed glass hatch. Runners and retaining loops are in place to trap the luggage. Not that it’s got far to go, especially if you load it up. Fill the space out to its 220-litre capacity, however, and you’ll have visibility issues through the rear, for sure. Not that this is likely to be a factor for you. Most buyers of the car to date, according to the McLaren salesman who handed me the keys, are more attracted to its sweeping line than the extra bit of handbag space it might offer.

’In the ‘grand tourer’ 570GT, McLaren has produced a V8 sports car that’s befitting a feminine drive.’

On the road, the steering is light, making it easy to manoeuvre in unforgiving car parks and down Melbourne’s narrow alleys. Being so low to the ground also keeps you abreast of those nasty gutters and the damage they could do to the diamond-cut five-spoke forged wheels. (A 10-spoke option is also available across the entire Sports Series range.) A front-nose lift kit fitted to my variant also makes navigating steep drives and speed humps less grating.

This 570GT comes with carbon-ceramic brake discs as standard, which is great if you hate wheel dust. These dispense with that, otherwise I wouldn’t say they were absolutely necessary unless you’re into track days. They feel weird until they’ve heated up and are more expensive to fix than the regular steel variety. For those who prefer more dynamic performance, an optional $13,100 Sport Pack allows you to ramp up your GT so it handles more like the 570S launched last year.

Madam Wheels will get a chance in May to road-test the cars side by side, along with a third in the Sports Series lineup, the 540C. So we’ll see how they compare. In the meantime, she’ll be practicing how to come and go from the 570GT’s fabulous confines not just with strength, but with grace and elegance, too. Being match-fit for the 570GT is an important consideration. It feels like a McLaren I’d like to drive into the distance, then keep going and going.

Madam Wheels Verdict

Madam Wheels Worthy? Yes, offering as it does the almost perfect blend of luxury, performance and attitude. The optional Pearl white exterior coupled with the Saddle Tan leather interior is simply stunning.
Buy: If you’re agile, fit and strong or want some motivation to become that way.

Avoid: If you prefer high-riding SUVs. This may not be something you’ll enjoy. But you never know!

Likes: The car is designed for a Grand Tourer (GT) driving experience but can come with the 570S’ more precise, dynamic handling; each car has been individually handcrafted and will be unique in some way.

Dislikes: Umm, um, um, um, um …..

Delivering: Now

Bottom line: $A415,000, before on-road costs. The drive-away price on the variant Madam Wheels tested, $517,026.50.