Our McLaren 570S Spider test car.Hollis Johnson
- The McLaren 570S Spider walks a fine line between English sports car and a no-holds-barred exotic supercar.
- The 570S is powered by a 562 horsepower, 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8.
- It can do 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 204 mph.
- In the marketplace, the 570S Spider competes against the Audi R8 V10 Spyder and the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet.
The McLaren 570S Spider is a supercar. Sort of.
The 570S is a mainstay of McLaren’s entry-level Sports Series, and the company openly calls the stylish mid-engined speed machine a sports car.
But step on the gas, and the 570S will quickly convince you of its European supercar credentials complete with supercar power, speed, and charisma.
As a business proposition, the Sports Series has been phenomenally successful.
The 570S and its Sports Series siblings also comprise the lion’s share of McLaren’s annual sales. In 2017, McLaren sold a total of 3,340 cars worldwide of which 2,119 were various versions of the Sports Series. According to the Woking, England-based company, the lower entry price of the Sports Series has successfully attracted a new wave of customers to the brand most famous for its multi-million dollar F1 hypercar of the 90s.
In 2016, Business Insider had the chance to spend a few days behind the wheel of several hard-top Sports Series models and came away impressed by their handling, performance, and eye-catching good looks.
Last fall, we spent a week with a brand-new McLaren 570S Spider in an eye-catching Sicilian Yellow paint job.
The 570S Spider starts at $208,800, but our test car came packed with nearly $44,000 in options. That gave it an as-tested price of around $253,000.
That’s certainly a pretty penny. But back to our original question. Is the McLaren 570S Spider a sports car or a supercar — and is it worth its hefty price? Let’s find out:
In the marketplace, the 570S’s main rivals are the Audi R8 V10 Spyder and…
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider
So, what’s it like to drive?
The McLaren 570S Spider is top-down motoring at its zenith. The powerful V8 revs freely and delivers plenty of power, while its sports exhaust barks with joy.
The McLaren’s performance credentials and price tag puts it squarely in the entry-level supercar segment along with the likes of the Audi R8 and Acura NSX.
But the driving experience is decidedly different. Unlike most supercars I’ve driven, the 570S feels light and tossable. The driving dynamics resemble that of a four-cylinder Lotus more than its big brother 720S.
In fact, if Lotus were to build a modern, carbon fiber follow-up to the Esprit supercar, I’d imagine it would look and feel a lot like the 570S.
But there were flaws as well.
Generally speaking, no supercar in the world rides as smoothly as a McLaren.
However, the 570S Coupe and Spider are missing the company’s trick hydraulic suspension found on pricier models like the 720S. As a result, the 570S rides a bit harsh. Something made evident on New Jersey’s bumpy roads.
In addition, the 570S Spider lacks brake pedal feel. While its carbon fiber brakes could stop a heard of stampeding elephants, its pedal feels stiff and difficult to modulate precisely.
In my review of the 570S Coupe, which I drove two years ago, I begrudgingly agreed with McLaren that this thing is a sports car. I’m not so sure anymore.
Instead, I feel like the 570S, along with the Porsche 911 Turbo S, straddle the line between sports car and supercar. Both have the straight line speed to hang with or even embarrass the top echelon of European exotics while delivering a driving experience akin to a nimble sports car.
For that reason, the McLaren’s attributes are incredibly rare in the marketplace.
As for value, the 570S Spider isn’t cheap. It’s starting price is more than $25,000 more than the Audi R8 V10 Spyder and it isn’t really any faster than the comparably priced Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet.
However, neither car has the 570S Spider’s high-dollar carbon-fiber construction.
Which brings us back to the original question. Is the McLaren 570S Spider worth its hefty price tag? Yes. It’s not better or worse than its rivals. It’s just different in construction and feel.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. McLaren has something special on its hands. If you have the money, it would be a mistake to not at least take a look.