FROM terra firma to the top of its electrochromatic glass roof, a McLaren 570GT measures a mere 120cm. Everything around you becomes a tall vehicle. You stare up at the rear of a modest Mazda 3 in highway traffic and swear that you’re looking at a hefty CX-5.
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That proximity to terra firma is both a blessing and a curse. Your surface-skimming fundament makes the Mac feel impossibly exotic, delivers decent headroom and keeps the centre of gravity good and low. You feel intimately connected to what each corner of the car’s doing at any point through entry, apex and exit.
The primary concern for me when I took delivery of the 570GT was whether I’d even be able to get it into my garage. The Enright driveway ascends from the horizontal like the Lhotse Face, and that approach angle had defeated a Porsche 911 GTS I’d previously tried to squirrel away for the night. McLaren had assured us that the hydraulic lifter kit, which raises the front end by 4cm, would keep the car’s long and low nose off the ground, but the first attempt was aborted when the nose was clearly going to come into contact with the exposed aggregate.
A quick trip to my local Autobarn saw a set of Rough Country rubber recovery tracks come to the rescue, lifting the nose just far enough to get the vehicle up the drive. I’m sure they’ll come in handy for future off-road ineptitude.
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Swelled with pride at having kept the front end from scraping the deck, I set off up a back road behind my house for a congratulatory fang, only to hear nose meet bitumen over a virtually non-existent surface imperfection. Somewhat crestfallen, I pulled over to inspect what I thought would be some ugly damage to the front splitter, only to find that I’d just rashered the head off one of the fixings holding it on.
From that point on, I ensured that the 570GT was set to one of its firmer suspension modes on bumpy roads. That might sound like a recipe for churning your breakfast into butter, but even in its most focused mode there’s enough compliance on Aussie B-roads.
While the lifter kit is a must-have fitment for negotiating traffic humps and drop kerbs, pushing the left-hand stalk up to raise the nose – while keeping the steering straight and making sure your speed doesn’t creep too high – can be a bit stressy when going for a hurried nose-raise in town. It takes 10s to lift the front end and 14 to lower it, a job that takes a couple of seconds to do in a 911 GT3. One job for the facelift has to be a simpler method to briskly raise the nose at vehicle speeds up to 100km/h. Otherwise life with the 570GT couldn’t be much better.