Sometimes IT pays to ask. A couple of years ago, I was having lunch with the head of McLaren’s PR operation. I mentioned to him that a number of British publications had run long-term McLarens and that if the model worked for them, why couldn’t it work for Wheels? Surprisingly, he agreed.
After a whole lot of wheedling with the local press team, the phone call eventually came that there was a McLaren 570GT available and would we like to take delivery? We didn’t need asking twice. We’re a broad church here at Wheels and the Mac would make a punchy counterpoint in Garage to the usual hatches and SUVs.
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McLaren splits its range into three tiers. At the top is the Ultimate Series – mega money hypercars like the Senna and Speedtail. In the middle is the Super Series, currently populated by the 720S. Its most accessible line is the Sports Series, which includes the 540C, 570S, 600LT and the car it bills as the most practical in that line, the 570GT, effectively a slightly softer 570S with a glazed-in ‘Touring Deck’ behind the seats for additional luggage carrying capacity. Most 570GTs that I’ve seen have been finished in typically sober colours – dark blues, greens and greys – but our car has been treated to optional Volcano Orange paint and it looks magnificent. And yes, I’ve now heard just about every Holden Commodore ‘Tiger Mica’ jibe possible.
What’s more, it wasn’t a car that had been passed around every outlet in Australia before doing duty as a long termer in its dotage. The odo read 460km and everything about it was absolutely immaculate. It had the optional front lifter kit fitted, without which the car is virtually unusable in town, a sports exhaust to give it a bit more voice in the upper registers, and a very cool MSO electrochromic glass roof. Tap a touch-sensitive slider above your head and the roof changes from clear to a deep, shady blue. Handy for late Australian summer days.
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Other options included diamond-cut forged alloys, a Bowers and Wilkins stereo, soft-close doors, a smattering of additional carbonfibre bits and parking sensors and camera. These helped lift the $415,000 list price to a heady $538,845.50. Gulp. Couple that with a stiff insurance excess and I started to see why many supercar owners just roll them out for high days and holidays.
Thing is, in order to properly put to the test McLaren’s claims that the GT was a liveable proposition everyday and that their owners typically used their cars far more frequently than Ferrari and Lamborghini customers, we were going to use it much as we would any other long termer. So it’d do the commute in traffic up the Monash Freeway, it’d be used in fair weather and foul and we’d also take it to Bunnings to see what would actually fit into the ‘frunk’ and the Touring Deck.
That raised more than a few eyebrows and gave some people the opportunity to mug it up for Nathan Jacobs’ camera, but also gave us some idea as to the limitations of the 570GT. Squashy bags are your friend in the frunk, which is surprisingly deep, but as soon as you use the Touring Deck, you lose the rear visibility that helps makes the Sports Series such a friendly car to drive.
Performance review: 2017 McLaren 570S Spider review
We’re just getting to know the 570GT. Next month we put it to a sterner test on Wheels’ COTY test route.