McLaren to the automotive world is like Louboutin to the world of shoes. It’s more than a brand, it’s a marque. You can’t just go out and buy a ‘cheap’ Mclaren to go grocery shopping or take an extended road trip to Disneyland with two screaming children in tow; in the same way you can’t go out and buy a ‘cheap’ pair of Louboutins to go for an afternoon stroll through the woods. They don’t make cars… they make supercars.
Unlike many other manufacturers, McLaren didn’t get their start by building mass-market commuter appliances. They cut their chops in the Formula One world and can boast they’re the second oldest active team in F1, just after Ferrari. In 1989, McLaren Cars (we know it as McLaren Automotive now) was established and the McLaren F1 was unleashed upon the world. Impossibly fast, innovative, technologically advanced, limited and expensive, the F1 became a legend and set the record for the world’s fastest production car in 1998, running a ludicrous 391 km/h or 243 mph down Ehra-Lessien’s 9 km straight (with the rev limiter removed). This was even more impressive when you remember the F1 was naturally aspirated. This record stood until 2005.
Since then, we’ve seen the Woking marque come out with three models that stay true to their longstanding heritage. The mid-engine twin-turbo 3.8L V8 MP4-12C (12C) was launched in 2011. The P1 was launched soon thereafter in 2013 – a plug-in hybrid supercar pumping out a whopping 903 hp. All 375 P1 units were sold out before they even hit the dealer showrooms at the end of 2013. Next up was the 650S. In 2014, McLaren released their new “entry level” supercar, the 650S. Based upon the same chassis as the 12C, the 650S was essentially a less expensive, slightly detuned version of the 12C – this isn’t a bad thing, as evidenced by the 650S’s ability to tear up to 100 km/h from a standing start in 3 seconds. Even more astounding is its ability to hit 200 km/h in just 8.4 seconds. It takes less time for the 650S to hit 200 km/h than a Toyota Corolla takes to hit 100 km/h.
The magicians at Woking have just unveiled their newest creation at the 2015 New York Auto Show and it’s a technological modern masterpiece of engineering, design and sex appeal. Designated the 570S Coupe, it’s touted as their new “entry level”, accessible Sports Series car.
Next to all the other major manufacturer’s booths at the NYIAS, the McLaren booth was tiny. When I rolled up to the press conference 15 minutes before the unveiling of the 570S, the surrounding areas were jam packed with eager journalists, videographers, executives, basically everyone and anyone who was at the show was there. The excitement and anticipation was palpable. Being of small stature, I was able to secure a spot in the front row while uttering “Sorry, I’m Canadian” a few times.
It felt like New Year’s Eve once the 10 second countdown to the reveal began. And as a testament to how excited the crowd was, the cover was lifted off the 570S to the sounds of cheers and whooping. Once the hubbub died down a little, I had to remind myself to breathe. I hadn’t even realized I was holding my breath.