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After months of teasing it’s time, at last, to come face to face with McLaren’s new sports car. Called the 570S, its name apes the 650S it sits a rung (and £50,000) below in the McLaren range, a methodology that appears to run throughout the car.

That styling, for starters. Many design cues are shared with the 650S: the shape of the LED headlamps and the way they feed into the front aerodynamic setup stands out, as does the overall silhouette of the car.

Tom Ford: why I’m excited by the 570S

Sam Philip: why the 570S leaves me cold

Put the two side-by-side and some differences become clear, though. The rear pillars are open buttresses on the 570S, a move which aids engine cooling as well as providing 8kg of extra downforce, though overall the car has a balanced aero profile. The dihedral doors are also more sculptured, though operate via a simpler hinge mechanism.

But the shared DNA is clear, and with big brother’s P1 rear styling called upon too (though with a fixed rather than hugely extendable wing), there’s a certain Russian doll feel to McLaren’s range.

McLaren 570S versus Porsche 911 Turbo S: stat off!

Though despite the 570S being Woking’s cheapest, least powerful model, it’s actually 18mm longer and 187mm wider than a 650S. So rather than being billed as the ‘baby’ McLaren, we’re told it’s the most accessible and useable, those extra inches allowing for a roomier interior and more luggage space.

McLaren’s carbon tub chassis construction is used - yielding a 1313kg dry weight - but its sills are 83mm lower for easier cabin access. Conversely, it’s a move which has actually added a little weight to the tub.

Shared DNA continues in the mid-mounted engine, McLaren again calling upon a twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8, though featuring around 30 per cent new components. Its outputs are 562bhp and 443lb ft, putting the 570S very slightly north of the Porsche 911 Turbo S.

Add a driver and fuel and you’re looking at Golf GTI mass in something with more than twice the power. The result? A 204mph speed, via a 3.2-second sprint to 62mph and a 9.5-second 0-124mph time. Chief engineer Mark Vinnels told TG that “bragging rights figures” were the team’s starting points, but plenty of other, more subjective attributes were important too.

At around £145,000, the 570S will be £50,000 cheaper than the 79bhp-healthier 650S. Money has been saved over its sibling by not including any moving aero, slimming down the equipment list and cutting the use of exotic materials, carbon in particular.

Carbon ceramic brakes are standard fit though, as are some fairly serious Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres. And like its big brother, the 570S is rear-driven through a seven-speed paddleshift gearbox.

While it’s not fully hydraulic, the suspension offers up familiarity too. There are Normal, Sport and Track modes operating on double wishbones with adaptive dampers, though it’s distanced from a 650S by its fitment of rear anti-roll bars.

“The range from comfort to track settings is wider”, Vinnels told TG. “It has a faster steering ratio [than the 650S] and stiff tyres. It’s an easy car to throw around. It’s not a soft car. The benchmark was the 911 GT3.” This we like to hear.

Inside, McLaren’s ‘IRIS’ touchscreen infotainment system continues, which won’t exactly warm the cockles of anyone who’s experienced its oft-patchy performance in the past.

Better news comes from a flash new TFT instrument cluster and swathes of leather, while the view out of its big windscreen ought to be as exemplary as in the 650S, and Vinnels claims his team is particularly proud of over-the-shoulder visibility too, a traditional supercar weak spot.

The 570S kicks of McLaren’s ‘Sports Series’ range of cars, with more models to follow, an open-top Spider almost certain. It debuts this week at the New York motor show, before sales start later in the year, with the Porsche 911 Turbo S and Audi R8 V10 Plus - cars which already twin eye-wobbling performance with everyday nous - firmly in the 570Ss crosshairs.

They’re very good cars. Does the not-quite-baby McLaren stand a chance?

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