2018 McLaren 570S Spider: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRain, Rain . . .
There’s nothing sadder than spending a few days in Seattle with a new McLaren 570S Spider accompanied by a 100 percent chance of rain in the weather forecast. (Okay, there are multitudes of sadder things — most would agree this is beyond a “first-world” problem — but it was sad, nonetheless.) After all, getting the chance to spend some quality time behind the wheel of a stunning high-performance vehicle is a rarity, and we wanted to fully appreciate our time in the 570S Spider with the top down. We did our best to enjoy the few moments of dry driving, and ultimately discovered that any time behind the wheel of the 570S is enjoyable — no matter what the weather.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
The McLaren 570S Spider is newest model of the McLaren Sports Series, joining the 570S and 570GT. With a retractable hardtop, the 570S Spider is currently the only convertible available from the British carmaker. Competitors to the 570S Spider include the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder, Ferrari 488 Spider, Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet and Audi R8 Spyder. Our test vehicle has a base retail price of $208,800.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat We Like
One look and it’s clear the McLaren is an exotic high-performance sports car, so it comes as a pleasant surprise that the 570S is so easy to drive. This car, capable of exceeding 200 mph, also feels perfectly content to cruise at 40 mph through city traffic. Of course, it does garner a bit more attention than a typical Prius, especially in Curacao Blue.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAmazing Performance
Low and wide, the 570S is designed to go fast and handle curves with aplomb. And it does just that. Acceleration is intoxicating — we found ourselves looking for any opportunity to jab the pedal for a burst of speed, and the thrill of being forced back into the seat. Freeway entrance ramps and twisty roads are quickly dispatched at speeds much higher than posted limits, but they don’t even come close to the 570S’s ultimate capability. That said, we’ll leave exploring those limits to time on a closed course or racetrack.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWet Roads
Granted, even with plenty of experience behind the wheels of expensive exotics, we were a little concerned about driving this high-powered rear-wheel-drive sports car on slick, wet roads in the Pacific Northwest, but it never became a problem. The 570S, shod with Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, provides excellent grip, even in wet conditions. The car’s combination of excellent balance and an inobtrusive yet effective stability control system means we never had an “oh sh*t” moment.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePower
At the heart of the 570S is its 3.8-liter twin-turbo McLaren-built V8 engine. Residing behind the passenger compartment, this small V8 generates 562 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Weighing in at just 3,300 pounds, the 570S Spider has enough power to leap to 60 mph in a hair over 3 seconds, and blast to a top speed exceeding 200 mph. According to McLaren, the 570S Spider will “only” hit 196 mph with the top down.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStrong Acceleration
It’s one thing to read that the McLaren can sprint to 60 in a mere 3 seconds — in reality it’s one hell of a thrill ride. Full throttle at just about any speed shoves occupants back in their seats — drivers simply must hold onto the wheel and make sure there’s enough space in front of the car, because triple digits come up in record time.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceQuick Shifting
In a maddening, saddening yet growing trend these days, even cars such as the 570S Spider have no available manual transmissions — they have become a relic of a bygone era. The 570S has a 7-speed “seamless-shift” gearbox that can be left to shift on its own or actuated via large carbon fiber paddle shifters on the steering column. Gear changes are practically instantaneous, and the 570S certainly is much more fun and engaging when blipping through gears via the paddle shifters.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLuxurious
Many exotic sports cars accentuate performance and sacrifice comfort, but not this beast. The McLaren feels like a luxury car inside, with all surfaces covered in either leather, Alcantara or carbon fiber. Seats are snug and comfortable while offering excellent support during spirited driving. And even though we prefer the sound of that V8 exhaust, the 12-speaker 1280-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio system is more than enough for the small cabin.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDisplay Screen
The vertical tablet-like display screen in the McLaren 570S spider is intuitive. Clear menu items allow easy switching between functions; the system quickly becomes second nature.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOpen Top
Although it rained most of the time we had with the 570S, the sun managed to show itself a bit, allowing us to take full advantage of this open-top sports car. There are no latches to release — after a simple button push in the center console, 15 seconds later the hardtop has been retracted and hidden away. This can be accomplished at speeds up to 25 mph.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCoupelike Profile, Coupelike Rigidity
With its top is in place, the 570S Spider exhibits the same sleek lines as its coupe counterpart. The two-piece composite retractable hardtop adds 101 pounds to the Spider. With the same carbon-fiber MonoCell chassis as the Coupe, the Spider retains the same stiffness and rigidity without need for any additional structure.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceQuiet Cabin
With a glass rear screen and the sharply raked windshield, the 570S Spider keeps wind and road noise to a minimum within the cabin. At highway speeds it’s possible to carry on a conversation in normal tones, even with the benefit of being exposed to that wonderful exhaust roar.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDihedral Doors
As if the McLaren didn’t already draw enough attention from onlookers, the simple act of opening the doors always turns heads. Unlike other exotics with scissor or gullwing doors, the McLaren’s door handles are easily reachable from inside and nicely balanced so they’re easy to pull shut. Drivers must keep in mind that the 570S Spider’s doors have a considerable arc, so ample space is required when parking among other vehicles in a lot.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceIngress and Egress
It takes some practice to smoothly get into and out of the McLaren 570S Spider. The MonoCell puts seats down low with a high sill to climb over. Potential occupants need to put one foot in first, then sit down and bring the other foot in. To get out, reverse the process.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStorage
We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of storage space in the cabin of the 570S. There are actual cupholders in the center console, as well as a place to set a mobile device. There’s also a small space under the armrest for additional storage.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat We Didn’t Like
The 570S Spider has several menus and displays built into the gauge cluster that show fuel economy, average speed and other nuggets of information. Although these are easy to read, all are controlled via a single stalk on the steering column that can be moved forward, backward, up and down, with each directional shift doing something different. While it was possible to eventually find the desired display or function, we never got it right on the first try.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGround Clearance
Granted, a car such as the 570S must have low ground clearance for ultimate aero performance; however, this creates the only hinderance to driving this car on a daily basis. Speed bumps and parking lot entrances that typically go unnoticed suddenly become stress points when behind the wheel of this $200,000 exotic. A dedicated control raises the nose for increased clearance, but it takes a moment to complete the function and it can become annoying to do this at the slightest pavement elevation change.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceActive Mode
In order to drive the McLaren in manual mode, the Active button must be selected. Unfortunately, the car resets to standard Automatic mode every time the engine is turned off and restarted. Yes, it’s easy to push a button every time; it simply seems repetitive and unnecessary.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
For driving enthusiasts, it’s hard not to fall in love with any exotic sports car. However, the McLaren 570S Spider is not simply an extreme performance machine — it mixes amazing performance with a luxurious, well-equipped interior and an innovative open-top design to create a well-rounded supercar that could easily be enjoyed as a daily driver. The McLaren name may not be as well known as Lamborghini or Ferrari, but for those fortunate enough to be in the market for a high-performance exotic, the 570S Spider is certainly a worthy consideration. Continue on for some additional photos.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 McLaren 570S Spider

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