written by Ram Shergill
I landed in Barcelona in the heat of high summer, eagerly anticipating what the weekend would bring. Everything had been planned with utmost precision, staying in a luxurious hotel with a room looking over the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean. The setting was nothing short of a scene in one of the iconic James Bond films, where I would be the protagonist: I was about to test drive the new McLaren 570s car, which has been aptly named the Spider.
The next morning came – the day where I felt I was to be given my mission to get into the car, being briefed on how to use all the features that would improve my driving experience, just as Q had shown Bond in many of Ian Fleming’s novels just prior to Bond heading off to save the world.
At first glance the Blue Curaçao (Pantone 15-4825) colour of the car that my editor and I were given to drive was very impressive to me, a specialist tone that is quite unique in its appearance. In colour theory, blue evokes in us the feeling of trust, loyalty, wisdom and confidence. Curaçao Blue is also one of the many variations of blues we see everyday, the sky and the sea – which both also give us a feeling of calm.
I certainly did not have a feeling of calm when I climbed into the super zoomorphic piece of fine machinery that the 570s McLaren Spider is. I was overwhelmed with the euphoric feeling of excitement. I had a rush of adrenalin. In 15 short seconds the roof folded down at the push of a button and I could see the beautiful coloured sky above, which contrasted with the colour of the car as if the colours and hues worked in symbiosis.
The car allows you to sit lower down like many sports cars do. You do somehow feel at one with the road and the surroundings this way – but perhaps a bit afraid of speed bumps or country roads. Fortunately, the McLaren creators have thought of a feature that raises the front of the car slightly higher as easy as can be by lifting a lever left of the stirring wheel (which, besides, can be conveniently adjusted).
The interior design of the car is impeccable with mouldings and forms/ textures enhancing your driving experience. All materials you see are what they seem to be; fibreglass control panels, different tones of leather beautifully stretched along the curves of the interior – materials and forms are in tune and speak to all the senses.
It feels no expense was spared in the making of this exquisite sports car. Even the sound system is a powerful Bowens and Wilkins; one could sit and just enjoy listening to music without driving at all.
Having said that, not to drive this car would be a crime. Once the engine is switched on, the humming and the sheer force of power you can feel in and all around makes you feel metaphorically morphed with the car/machine.
The car is very easy to get to know and to be comfortable with. Once you sit in the car the control panel with satellite navigation system is compelling and allows you to connect in every which way. We really liked the fact this car is user friendly, features enhancing the driving experience and not being an obstacle to DRIVE! Driving through the winded mountain roads you can really get the full benefit of feeling at one with the car and nature.
On the road the car does get quite a lot of attention – and none of the negative kind! While driving and stopping we found ourselves having conversations with many people from policemen to waiters. Their smiles were uplifting while exploring the car with their looks all over, as well as the many drivers passing by with their customary wave or a casual thumbs up (at first I thought we were driving too fast, the policeman reassured me we were not and that people were just being friendly because they liked the car).
On a large stretch of open road I decided to test the speed, with a speed from 0 to 60 km/h in approximately 3 seconds, it quite literally took my breath away without any loss of movement in the steering or sudden shake in the car. For me this was pure luxury. The 3.8-litre V8 has twin turbochargers and give you 562bhp. The effortless sense of speed makes you feel as fast and powerful like a Cheetah and the exoskeleton of the car protects as if the car were an extension of your body, almost like a form of an arachnid piece of armour similar to that of a Scorpion.
Why do I love this car?
I sat in the car and felt the beautiful Spanish sky and sunshine hit my brow and the back of my neck, listening to music by Chet Baker, I turned to my driving partner and said “I will always remember this moment”. I feel that a sports car evoking such emotion is a winner.
Note: on the proceeding days after my drive it was not Chet Baker that was ringing in my head, but Michael Jackson’s “Speed Demon”.
What should driving be about? What is it that makes driving special?
It is the experiences that you can have by going to different places and sharing new impressions, which the McLaren Spider 570S allows for, that make for a memorable time. The immersive driving experience, at least for me and my team, allowed us to see the world with a new perspective, forgetting everything around you, leaving worries and stresses behind.
Driving the McLaren 570S Spider you become the Protagonist of your own story.
MCLAREN 570S SPIDEREngine: 3,799cc, twin-turbo V8
Transmission: 7-speed SSG automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 570@7,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 443@5,000-6,500rpm
Top speed: 204mph
Weight: 1,486kg (DIN, inc. 90 per cent fuel)
MPG: 26.6 (NEC combined)
Price: £164,750 (for example for the Sicilian Yellow model: £204,540 comprised of £3,560 for Sicilian Yellow paint, £2,190 for Dark Palladium roof, £2,690 for 10-spoke lightweight forged alloy wheels, £1,140 for Stealth wheel finish, £910 for Liquid Black brake calipers, £3,370 for Sports Exhaust, £460 for Stealth exhaust finisher, £2,570 for Jet Black and Sicilian Yellow designer interior sport design 6, £2,550 for carbon fibre interior components, £5,740 for MSO Defined carbon fibre rear deck and tonneau cover, £4,090 for security pack, £7,280 for Luxury Pack and £3,240 for Carbon Exterior Pack 1)