Super Sports Series McLarens are stunning
I’VE just been driving some super sports cars which residents of Tenerife and visitors might have seen flashing along the roads in May.
McLaren chose the sunshine island to launch its Sports Series cars.
I might have missed out on the sun then but there was plenty to brighten up my day when the dream cars roared into Scotland last month.
There was a time when you would struggle to see a McLaren on the roads as they are very much sporting thoroughbreds that are beyond the reach of most of us financially.
I do see them quite frequently as its Scottish dealership – McLaren Glasgow – is in Hamilton, just a few miles from my doorstep.
And it’s not just any McLaren dealership – it was crowned European Retailer of the Year 2015 after just 12 months of trading.
An even higher award followed in June when it saw off fellow finalists from Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa and the Americas regions to be awarded McLaren Retailer of the Year.
So hat’s off to my local team for winning this global competition that saw 80 locations across 30 markets in the running for the award.
An old friend of mine, Wayne Bruce, is global communications and PR director for McLaren and he was up in Scotland along with Adam Gron, senior press officer UK, as part of a UK tour with their cars.
I didn’t get long to catch up on what Wayne had been up to since we last met though – I was much more interested in getting behind the steering wheels of the McLaren mo-dels.
The Sports Series is the third product family to join Mc-Laren’s three-tier model range, positioned below the Super Series and Ultimate Series.
With prices starting at £126,000 for the 540C Coupe, it is the most attainable McLaren range.
It is more powerful than any other sports car and with its carbon fibre construction also much lighter.
There are three models in the Sports line-up – 540C Coupe, 570S Coupe and 570GT with a Spider version due next year.
They are much more than stunning to look at just sitting on the tarmac and to say they brought much attention and head turning when I was driving them is an understa-tement.
And the striking design of the new models is backed up by an engine that delivers big time.
There’s so much wow factor about these cars that it’s difficult knowing where to start.
The butterfly (dihedral) doors are a knockout on a car that oozes sports style with its air-piercing front bumper and flying buttress rear pillars.
And the jet-type cockpit with its leather interior is simply stunning.
Fire up the engines and they roar into life – and then the fun begins.
The power comes from a 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine with, as the name suggests, 570ps.
My first stint was in a £154,000 570GT – a model that offers more day-to-day usability.
This includes more stowage space with its side-opening glass hatch creating an addi-tional 330litres of luggage room and it also gets a fixed-glass panoramic roof.
The power is the same and you get three driving modes – normal, sport and track.
Sitting behind the wheel in my super-fit sports seat, it simply flew out of the blocks, being capable of reaching 62mph in just 3.4 seconds.
And there was electrifying pace going up the seven-speed auto box in a car that can reach 124mph in under 10 seconds.
Driving along some stunning, winding roads at Loch Lomond, I could only marvel at how this sports machine clung to the tarmac with its top handling capabilities.
It demonstrated super agility in what was an exhi-larating drive for me in a car that can reach 204mph so was merely at jogging pace when sitting at legal motorway speeds.
I then enjoyed another fast-driving experience in a £148,150 McLaren 570S Coupe.
This model is slightly quicker off the mark, according to figures, and once again it showed impeccable behaviour when going in and out of bends.
I pushed this model a little harder, getting more used to how the sports cars handled, and loved every minute in it.
All too soon though my driving was over and I had to return to keys of these super cars.
It’s hardly surprising that McLaren has been profitable over the last three years, considering the quality and performance of its products.
And it plans to make them even better by ploughing profit back into research and development.
McLaren sold 1,600 cars around the world last year and Track 22 –the business plan for the next six years – will see this figure reaching 5,000 by 2011.
Revealing these figures to me, Wayne Bruce added: “If you stop investing in the future you die.
“Our business is sports cars and we like to be the best of things.”
All sports models are hand assembled at a state-of-the-art production centre in Woking, England – each model taking a total of 188-man hours to build.
And with 15 new cars arriving over the next six years – 50 per cent feature hybrid systems and there will be a full electric vehicle – there are a lot of more eye-catching McLaren models on the way.
There won’t be any shortage of buyers either.
The company launched a 675LT Spider last year and the full 500 models were sold in just two weeks.