This is the third model in the British carmaker's entry level Sport Series, joining the very serious 570S and the less-so 540C, and with its kinder, gentler demeanor, it brings along a clever new trick: a boot. The car eschews its stablemates' notchback roofline for a sweeping glass-topped fastback, and the result, with petite engine-lid vents and a modest fixed rear spoiler, is undeniably lovely. Moreover, McLaren opted for a side-opening rear hatch, à la the reasonably attractive Jaguar E-Type coupé. This carbon fibre-framed glass panel opens on the appropriate kerbside for right- or left-hand-drive specification and reveals space enough for a weekend's luggage for two Beautiful People or one Ugly Person and a case of very nice Romanée-Conti. The cargo compartment — McLaren prefers the term "Touring Deck" — is lined with leather and grippy stripes to keep the Louis Vuittons where they belong. (There's also a front boot that seems perfectly sized for the 30-volume Complete Works of Wilkie Collins.)
Ahead of the glass hatch is a glass roof — a fixed pane with a special Sound & Solar Film (SSF to its friends) that promises to reduce wind noise and prevent the dreaded Brain Broil. Ahead of the glass roof is a glass windscreen; nothing new there. The cabin itself features eight-way power adjustable seats with memory, dual-zone air-con, a touchscreen interface for the infotainment system and an optional 12-speaker, 1,280-watt Bowers & Wilkins stereo. Furthermore, the cabin ambience has been further lux-o-fied with the addition of entirely new Pirelli P Zero tyres that integrate something called the Pirelli Noise Cancelling System, which uses a polyurethane sponge inside the tyre to reduce road noise by three decibels. Sorcery.
Naturally, a weekend-getaway McLaren should be more genteel than a track-day McLaren, and the 570GT is that: Suspension settings have been softened, the steering has been slightly relaxed and the exhaust note has gone from Tijuana Brass to Canadian Brass.
It's all very nice, but McLaren is keen to remind prospective buyers that the GT is still a McLaren, and as such, is faster than any human not named Yeager should require. As it does in the 570S, the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 produces 562 horsepower, sufficient to deliver the GT from zero to 62mph in 3.4 seconds and onward toward a top speed of 204mph — which is London to Edinburgh in approximately two hours, plus ten years in prison.
The 570GT makes its official debut next week at the Geneva motor show; deliveries are set to commence this summer. Price? In the UK, the car will command a cool £154,000. The 30-volume Wilkie Collins will add about £600.
By Matthew Phenix