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2016 McLaren 570S - Driven

2016 McLaren 570S - Driven

Wristwatches. That’s what I was thinking about while checking out the new McLaren 570S. And not for the usual traits – fine craftsmanship, mechanical precision, symbols of status – shared by timepieces and automobiles alike. Instead I was reminded of a choice I made when I was 14.

After going through a few lower-end watches, my teenage self determined it was time to invest in a quality timepiece. My finite resources left me facing a dilemma: Would I go for the upper end from a cheaper brand, or the bottom end from a higher-quality one? I settled on a Swiss-made quartz watch – the entry level from the best manufacturer I could afford – and I wore it proudly for many years, content that I had made the smart choice. Over two decades later, that watch spends more time in a drawer than on my wrist. Yet that’s what was ticking in my head as I slipped into the cockpit of Woking’s latest.

McLaren, you see, is about as exotic as automakers come. What the new Sports Series (of which the 570S coupe is part) represents is the prospect of getting in at the bottom end of a high-end lineup instead of the top end of a (relatively) more mainstream one. McLaren’s higher-end models – alongside which the Sports Series is being built at the McLaren Production Center – target rivals from Ferrari and Lamborghini. But the 562-horsepower output and $184,900 base price pit the new 570S one step downmarket against the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo – the very top of the line from less exotic marques. And that, arguably as much as anything else, is the novelty that the Little Mac brings to market.

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