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An invitation from McLaren to test drive one of their fine motorcars is an occasion to savour. When that drive is going to take us from Ras Al Khaimah’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, to Jebel Jais in the Hajjar Mountains, we know it’s going to be a memorable drive and an opportunity the let the 570S stretch its legs. 

The McLaren Sports Series is the third and final product family to join the recently announced three tier model range from McLaren Automotive. A pure McLaren from the ground up, the Sports Series launches in coupé bodystyle with two models – the first, and most powerful, is the 570S Coupé, which will be joined by the more accessible 540C Coupé from Q2 in 2016. These models complete the range alongside the Ultimate Series, comprising the McLaren P1™ and McLaren P1™ GTR, and the Super Series, which is the core McLaren range featuring the 650S, available as a Coupé and Spider, and the 675LT.

The Sports Series introduces the unique McLaren DNA to the sports car market. Each model has been designed and engineered by a team of experts at the iconic McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) alongside the Formula 1™ team operations, and every car is hand built in the state-of-the-art McLaren Production Centre (MPC) alongside the current range.

As with every McLaren model designed for road or track since 1981, the Sports Series range is built around a lightweight carbon fibre chassis. High performance and high efficiency is also delivered through a mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V8 engine. With no compromises, the Sports Series is the perfect entry point into the world of McLaren.

The Drive

The Sports Series offers unrivalled performance and driving exhilaration in the sports car class. It is the only car in its sector to offer all the credentials typically found in the top-tier supercars: lightweight carbon fibre chassis construction, mid-engine rear wheel drive configuration. Overall performance for the 570S Coupé is class-leading with the 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint taking 3.2 seconds, while 200 km/h is reached in just 9.5 seconds. Top speed is 328 km/h (204 mph).

A dry weight of 1,313kg (2,895lbs) is around 140kg (309lbs) lighter than the nearest rival. This low weight ensures optimised handling, agility and makes the Sports Series even more responsive.

Steering

The steering in the Sports Series has been designed with refinement and feel as the key parameters. A fast steering rack ratio allows quick changes of direction and improves ease of control when driving at the limit – pivotal to a great sports car. As with the models in the Super Series and Ultimate Series ranges, the system used for the Sports Series is electro-hydraulic ensuring a natural feel that cannot be replicated with a fully electric setup.

The electro-hydraulic pump also powers the optional front lift system – which allows the ride height to be increased by 40mm at speeds of up to 60km/h (37mph). A one touch short-cut to raise the vehicle is available through the steering wheel-mounted menu stalk.

Tyres developed with Pirelli

As with the all models in the McLaren range, the tyres for the Sports Series have been tested continuously throughout the development programme specifically in conjunction with technical partners Pirelli. The design brief was focused on balance and agility, with a view to create a tyre with progressive levels of grip allowing the driver to explore the limits of the car with total confidence.

“Being the only contact with the road, the tyre is critical to how the car handles and behaves, and McLaren treat them in the same way as any key suspension component. They are specially tuned and developed with Pirelli, and that makes a huge difference to the dynamics of this car.”

The 570S Coupé is fitted with performance-focused Pirelli P Zero™ Corsa tyres as standard, while a Pirelli P Zero™ is available as a no-cost option. Tyre sizes are 225/35/R19 on the front and 285/35/R20 on the rear. The P Zero™ Corsa tyres have been developed with stiffer sidewalls and treads, offering outstanding grip levels, and yield advantages on a circuit and in standing-start acceleration. The P Zero™ option provides optimum performance levels in extreme wet and cold conditions.

Braking system

The 570S Coupé is equipped as standard with carbon ceramic discs (front: 394mm x 36mm / rear: 380mm x 34mm), with six-piston callipers on the front and four-piston callipers at the rear. Newly developed ABS software is also present, and bespoke to the Sports Series, which has been designed to optimise brake feel. This new system also reduces pulsing through the pedal.

A new ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system, developed with Bosch, includes a new ‘Dynamic’ mode which provides reduced intervention, to allow greater vehicle control on the limit and ‘driftability’. The ESC system for the first time includes a dedicated control switch, allowing ESC control independently to the handling control dial. This allows the choice of full, dynamic or ESC-off when in Sport and Track handling modes. With an improved pump and dual valve system, the ESC system is refined and provides greater resolution and thus more progressive control.

Also new to the Sports Series is a new Performance Traction Control, which incorporates bespoke McLaren software to deliver more precise control in extreme situations. In Dynamic mode, the traction control allows a gradual transition at the point of slip (YAW angle) and therefore more confidence to explore the Sports Series at the limits of its handling.

The McLaren Sports Series features a number of Formula 1™-derived technologies, including the Brake Steer system. Initially developed by McLaren during the 1997 season, and subsequently banned due to the significant performance advantage offered, the system aids cornering by bringing the vehicle’s nose into the apex by applying braking force to the inside rear wheel. This enables the driver to brake later and get on the power earlier.

Suspension

The Sports Series is fitted with a newly-developed suspension system ensuring enhanced levels of driver engagement and refinement on both road and track. The system uses independent adaptive dampers with front and rear anti-rollbars – distinct from the Super Series and Ultimate Series – and Formula 1™-style dual wishbones.

Adaptive dampers offer control over bump and rebound settings using the familiar McLaren ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ handling settings, with the 570S Coupé having bespoke damper settings to other McLaren models to date. In ‘Normal’ mode, the system provides a refined yet engaging ride, while the ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ settings allow the 570S Coupé to become more track-focused when required. Twin damper valves give precise control, while dual wishbone suspension provides optimum suspension travel and geometry.

“For a sports car, it is more about the grip balance and the response of the tyres and the response of the steering. The Sports Series has narrower tyres than the models in the Super or Ultimate Series, and the car still has high enough objective performance, but it is also about the subjective feel. It is hard to measure subjective performance, but how big the smile on the drivers face is when he goes round a corner is always a good measure. McLaren have used the suspension geometry and set-up to create a balance that makes the car really want to turn in to a corner. It feels like all you have to do is look at the apex of the corner and the car is sucked into it.”

Powertrain

• 3.8-litre twin turbo V8, with 30 percent of components bespoke to the new model, produces 570PS (562bhp) and 600Nm (443 lb ft)

• Stop-start system fitted for the first time on a McLaren offers greater efficiency during city driving, improving fuel consumption and CO2 output

• Optimised gearchanges through seven-speed seamless-shift gearbox (SSG) with ‘Cylinder Cut’ technology

The Sports Series features an evolution of the 3.8-litre V8 twin turbo engine, named M838TE, with 30 percent of components bespoke to the new model. Engineered by McLaren, it produces 570PS (562 bhp) at 7,400 rpm, and 600Nm (443 lb ft) of torque at 5,000-6,500 rpm. The classic mid-engine rear-wheel drive supercar configuration optimises handling and agility – except that it competes in the sports car, not the supercar, market – delivering power through a seven-speed seamless shift gearbox (SSG). Despite being one of the world’s most powerful road car engines, it is also extremely efficient. A new stop-start system seen for the first time at McLaren provides greater efficiency during city driving, improving fuel consumption and CO2 output. The 570S Coupé returns 26.6 mpg (10.7 litres/100km) on the EU combined cycle with an improved range, while emissions are just 249g/km.

Other improvements to the efficiency of the powertrain include new 60-degree camshaft phase controllers that reduce internal engine inertia and provide greater control, both benefitting CO2 figures and engine response. The vacuum system has also been deleted from the engine which saves 2.5kg and reduces complexity.

Sharing technology with the Super Series, the M838TE engine includes Formula 1™ technology such as dry sump lubrication – to enable higher cornering speeds without oil surge – and a flat-plane crankshaft, to allow the engine to be sited as low as possible to improve the centre of gravity and both handling and agility. ExxonMobil ensures each groundbreaking McLaren model benefits from the highest levels of technical commitment and expertise. The Sports Series joins the Super Series and Ultimate Series in being factory-filled with New Life™ 0W-40 developed by McLaren Automotive technology partner Mobil 1. The high technology engine lubricant has an optimum combination of synthetic base oils designed to meet the high performance engine demands.  The advanced formula contains additives specially developed to better protect the engine by preventing build-up on critical engine parts, allowing McLaren engines to run like new after thousands of miles, even in the harshest driving conditions.

The Sports Series is fitted with new equal length exhaust manifolds produced from cast stainless steel mounting sections mated to stainless steel hydroformed tubes. These optimise exhaust flow and provide a performance advantage in terms of consistent, uniform back pressure, while also delivering a new, distinctive crisp exhaust note.

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