I drive a late-model version of a popular SUV. It’s great, and most days I’m extremely happy to have it. Yet it takes only a moment to understand the term “car envy”. That moment comes as I slide, somewhat ungracefully and with more than a little fluster, behind the wheel of McLaren’s 570GT.
That’s right, a real racing car. With all the fancy bells and whistles – a 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine (for extra vroom), seven-speed auto gearbox, real-wheel drive, customised interior and fancy lights and buttons throughout. This car can go from a standing start to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds, to 200km/h 9.8 – not that I expect to trouble it that much.
- Engine: 3.8-litre V8 twin-turbo
- Top speed: 328km/h
- Price: from $438,000 (on road)
- Test drive: melbourne.mclaren.com
It’s also striking-looking, low and curved in all the right places. Gull-wing doors open up and forwards, adding to the already considerable “ooh ah” effect and, handily, making getting in and out easier. LED lights, curvy aluminium body panels and a panoramic roof add their own bling.
We’re quite a head-turning sight as we drive along Springvale Road and then the Princes Highway towards Sandown, six McLaren 570s in a sleek, humming convoy of white, silver and black. It seems surreal to have to obey red lights and right-of-way rules – surely that’s much too everyday for such a car?
But we make it safely, indicating politely and giving way to lesser vehicles where necessary. We head up to pit lane at Sandown for a safety briefing: follow instructions, no overtaking, brake at the 200-metre marker on the straight, return to pit lane if you feel faint (!). It’s not just me that needs a quick toilet stop before we push the start button. I am, however, the only one to take up the offer of a co-driver.
Ten laps of Sandown pass in a blur. I am the slowest, topping out at 185km/h; at least one of the crew gets to 230km/h. We wait a few minutes to let the cars cool down – heat rippling the air as the engines vent.
Then we form an orderly line for the return journey up Springvale Road, the 570s feeling as at home on the highway as they were on the racetrack.
The full-throated idle of the V8 at traffic lights suggests the car would love to do more but, with traction and gearbox settings in what McLaren calls “normal” mode, it’s really a well-mannered and comfortable car-about-town. You really can imagine using it as an uber-stylish runabout – hands up, who wants to pop to the supermarket to get some milk and bread?
Given the performance available, I think I could be there in back in about 10 seconds. With the right budget and a desire to drive something a cut above the average, this could be the secret to making errands fun.
Carley’s driving experience was courtesy of McLaren Automotive