Based on the 570S GT4, but still road-legal!

Launched in 2015, the McLaren Sports Series is the automaker’s most affordable lineup yet and already includes a handful of different variations. There’s the entry-level 540C, the more powerful 570S, the comfort-oriented 570GT, and even a spyder version. In 2016, McLaren also launched two race-spec variants, the 570S GT4 and 570S Sprint. Come 2018 and the British firmed introduced yet another version of the highly acclaimed sports car. But unlike its predecessors, this one was crafted by the McLaren Special Operations (MSO) division for the company’s largest U.S. importer. It goes by the name MSO X, and it’s essentially a road-legal 570S GT4.

Commissioned as an MSO Bespoke project by McLaren Newport Beach, the MSO X was designed to emulate the look and feel of the GT4 race car, but retain a fully road-legal status and some convenience features. It was unveiled at a special McLaren customer event near Las Vegas in late January, where all ten units were handed over to their customers. Yup, if you thought that the regular 570S was rare, the MSO X is a car you might not even see on public roads unless you attend McLaren meetings or certain open track days.

Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren MSO X.

What makes the McLaren MSO X Special

  • Almost identical to 570S GT4
  • Race-inspired features
  • Exposed carbon exterior
  • Bespoke features
  • Unique rear wing
  • Exposed carbon chassis
  • Alcantara upholstery
  • Color-matched harness bar
  • Standard telemetry system
  • Loads of convenience features
  • Standard 3.8-liter V-8 engine
  • Limited to only 10 units
  • All sold in the U.S.
2018 McLaren MSO X Exterior
- image 763246
The really cool thing about the MSO X is that it looks almost identical to the 570S GT4 race car

The really cool thing about the MSO X (apart from its name of course) is that it looks almost identical to the 570S GT4 race car. You have to look really close to spot the differences, as there aren’t too many to talk about. Even the livery is similar to the race car, each example wearing a race-like number (1 to 10) on the doors.

Up front, we can see a similar bumper section with a big diffuser and large extensions toward the sides. McLaren even mounted canards toward the wheels, and they’re only slightly smaller than the GT4’s. The bonnet is also sourced from the GT4, sporting similar air intakes that work in conjunction with the roof snorkel, which in turn is a tribute to the 1997 F1 GT-R Longtail. The latter enhances airflow. The center bumper isn’t as aggressive as the GT4 though, and the MSO X appears to sit a tad higher above the ground.

2018 McLaren MSO X Exterior
- image 763251
The rear end is surprisingly similar to the GT4, down to the menacing diffuser and the big wing

The rear end is surprisingly similar to the GT4, down to the menacing diffuser (including the colored highlights) and the big wing. Sure, the wing is a bit different, the fascia has extra louvers, and the exhaust is finished in chrome, but again, you have to look really close to tell the MSO X and the race-spec 570S GT4 apart. The wing also provides 100 kg (about 220 pounds) of extra downforce compared to the standard 750S. The MSO X also uses a custom titanium exhaust and Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires. All cars have satin finish carbon-fiber on the entire body, including the roof, engine cover, side skirts, and the rear bumper.

The interior of the MSO X is as bespoke as they get. In order to obtain that race-ready, GT4-spec look, MSO deliberately kept the carbon-fiber Monocell 2 chassis exposed. The lightweight material is also visible on the steering wheel, center stack, center console, and door panels. Although the seats are wrapped in Alcantara, they’re also made from carbon for weight-saving purposes. MSO also added carbon sill panels and a bespoke bulkhead that features storage space for a race helmet.

2018 McLaren MSO X Exterior
- image 763248
MSO deliberately kept the carbon-fiber Monocell 2 chassis exposed

Speaking of storage room, the center tunnel bin seen in the regular 570S was removed to save weight. Also, the MSO X received the 570S GT4’s raised carbon-fiber center console for race-inspired look. A color-matched harness bar for the six-point racing harnesses and the McLaren Track Telemetry system turns the road-legal vehicle into a full-blown race car for track weekends. However, the MSO X retains most of McLaren’s convenience features, including the parking sensors, rearview cameras, vehicle lift, and air conditioning.

2018 McLaren MSO X Exterior
- image 763255
Motivation comes from a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 engine rated at 562 horsepower

McLaren had nothing to say about the drivetrain, so it’s safe to assume that the MSO X uses the same underpinnings as the standard 570S. In this case, motivation is provided by a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 engine rated at 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. The mill mates to a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission and helps the car charge from 0 to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds. Given all the aerodynamic enhancements, the MSO X should be able to get there quicker by at least a tenth-second. Top speed likely remains unchanged at 204 mph.

The British firm didn’t say how much one of these race-ready coupes costs, but it’s safe to assume that it’s significantly more expensive than the regular 570S, priced from $184,900. Given the extreme modifications and the complex MSO Bespoke program, I’d say that owners paid close to $300,000, a sticker that makes the MSO X the most expensive Sports Series model yet. And yes, it fetches more than the 570S GT4 it is based on (priced from £159,900, or about $223,250 as of February 2018, in the U.K.).


McLaren 570S

2016 McLaren 570S Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 651793

Read our full review on the 2017 McLaren 570S.

2016 McLaren 570S GT4 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 669594

Read our full review on the 2017 McLaren 570S GT4.

- image 745017

Read more McLaren news.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

Press release

10 unique McLaren sportscars that emulate the look and feel of a McLaren 570S GT4 race car but are fully road-legal have today been delivered to their new owners at a special McLaren customer event near Las Vegas, USA. Commissioned as an MSO Bespoke project – the service from McLaren Special Operations (MSO) that allows almost limitless enhancement and personalisation of McLaren cars – the 10 MSO X cars were ordered by the US market’s largest McLaren retailer, McLaren Newport Beach.

Designed to mirror the external appearance of the McLaren 570S GT4 race car as closely as possible, the MSO X cars are deliberately finished in accordance with race car design practice and all have liveries inspired by McLaren F1 GTR endurance race cars of the mid-1990s.

The revised design of the MSO X cars optimises circuit aerodynamic efficiency, with each car featuring a 570S GT4-inspired, pylon-mounted rear wing that provides approaching 100kg of extra downforce. A fully functional ‘goose neck’ carbon fibre roof snorkel for enhanced induction airflow, inspired by the 1997 F1 GT Longtail, additionally delivers a unique cockpit sound. The transformation is completed by the inclusion of front dive planes, an MSO Titanium Super Sports Exhaust, Pirelli P ZERO™ CORSA tyres and a 570S GT4-style bonnet with specially constructed air intakes that work in conjunction with the roof snorkel and rear wing as a complete MSO aerodynamic package. Extensive use of satin finish carbon fibre across the entire bodywork, including roof, bonnet, side skirts and engine cover, as well as a unique rear bumper with ‘cut-outs’, helps to reduce weight.

“The MSO X collection is the perfect example of the rich vein of bespoke service offered by McLaren Special Operations. Customers come to us with their thoughts and ideas and MSO works with them to set boundaries within which they can then let their imaginations run wild. What could be better than a McLaren buyer playing the role of ‘race engineer’ in briefing the MSO team and directing them to test and validate those ideas to create a race-bred road car such as this?”

Jolyon Nash, McLaren Automotive Executive Director, Global Sales and Marketing

The interior of each MSO X car features a track-oriented, minimalist design and is visibly different to any other McLaren Sports Series road car. The carbon fibre Monocell 2 chassis is deliberately exposed, complementing carbon shell bucket seats, exposed carbon fibre sill panels and a bespoke carbon fibre bulkhead that features stowage space for a race helmet. The centre tunnel storage bin has been removed to save weight and the raised, carbon fibre centre console that features in the 570S GT4 further accentuates the racing intent. The MSO X cars are also equipped with a colour matched harness bar to hold the 6-point racing harnesses for track driving (in addition to regular three point belts) and McLaren Track Telemetry offers a full suite of cameras.

Befitting the fact that the MSO X cars are designed to be driven on the road to reach a track, McLaren’s reputation for road car usability is at least partially retained, with parking sensors, rear view cameras, vehicle lift and race air conditioning on all the vehicles.

The MSO X commission progressed from an initial design discussion to all 10 examples being sold and delivered in just eight months, as McLaren Newport Beach Dealer Principal, Pietro Frigerio, explains: “The aim of this project was to have a serious track car that could still be driven on the road and this finished project screams ‘race car’ to the casual onlooker. To have the MSO X project go from renderings at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last July to the 10 magnificent supercars that we handed over to our excited clients today, is nothing short of amazing.”

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: