For the engineering purist, the McLaren’s carbon-fiber hull, turbocharged powerplant, and its rear-drive, mid-engine layout sound like a blueprint for perfection and fanboy worship.
Still, even in the cash-flush reaches of Silicon Valley where McLaren has one of its handful of U.S. dealers, gawkers have to look two, three times before they can identify this winged beast by its minuscule badges.
What lands its first visual punch, in this case, is the $4,000 coat of Ventura Orange paint and a pair of articulating doors. The 570S makes a mark on retinas left and right, whether it’s standing still or clawing its way around corners on our ascent to Skyline Road, then as we barrel toward the ocean on the swifter passages of Highway 84.
After the shock of orange wears off, the 570S sears its way into memory with its unmistakable stance and its utterly distinctive shape. It’s carbon fiber at its core, but wears slinky aluminum outside, pulled tight over the passenger cabin and drivetrain like the skin on a decathlete. Headlights arc in a shape echoed on the key fob, and on the discreet black rectangle that makes up the nose badge.
That rectangle might be the only straight-line source on the car, aside from the sills. Every panel is tweaked and tuned for aero in a comely way. Long stalks hold the mirrors away from the body to cut down on drag, and muscular pieces (McLaren likens them to tendons) across the doors shunt air into the mid-engine bay through massive ducts.
It’s all flying buttresses, Nike-esque swooshes, big diffusers and cat-eye LED lights. It doesn’t look like anything else in its universe, or ours.Jump that hurdle, and the McLaren’s cockpit fits snug and cozy, somewhere between a tailor-made suit and a superbike. Exceptionally spacious, it’s not, but a Corvette should have this much room, or seats as supportive. There’s even a small shelf behind passengers for an attache case full of $1,000 bills, or whatever they’re typically exchanged for