McLaren 570S vs Audi R8 V10 Plus vs Porsche 911 Turbo S

The new McLaren 570S promises to be an everyday supercar. Can it see off established rivals from Porsche and Audi?

It’s been a tough time for the McLaren Formula One squad, which hasn’t won a race in nearly four years. However, while the brand’s racers have struggled, its road car division has gone from strength to strength.

Since 2012 its line-up has ballooned from one car to eight – and the latest is the 570. Based on similar carbon fibre underpinnings to its stablemates, the newcomer is designed as a supercar you can live with day to day. That makes it the most spacious and practical McLaren yet. Of course, there’s plenty of performance, too, due to the 562bhp twin-turbo V8. The 570 is available in luxurious GT and racy S guises; we test the latter here.

McLaren 570GT review

The McLaren isn’t the only high-performance car that’s easy to live with. The Porsche 911 Turbo S has always been the ultimate supercar for all seasons, and now there’s a revised version with even more performance and a host of interior tweaks. Audi’s sensational R8 V10 Plus completes our trio of mouth-watering machines; it combines jaw-dropping looks and top-notch quality with thrilling handling and a sublime engine. Which of our trio takes the spoils? We hit road and track to find out.

Head to head

Our three super sports have been designed to be as assured on the track as they are on the road, and the compact and challenging Llandow circuit in South Wales proved the perfect venue to test our contenders to the limit.

We timed each model over the 0.9-mile lap, and the McLaren emerged as the fastest, setting a benchmark of 42.7 seconds. The Porsche was two-tenths behind, while the Audi was a second off the 570’s pace.

With its suspension and drivetrain in the Track setting, the McLaren felt most at home on the circuit, as it turned in more keenly, gripped harder and remained more stable. However, the Porsche wasn’t far behind, plus its anti-roll suspension, four-wheel steering and rear-engined traction delivered remarkable agility through sudden changes of direction.

In isolation the Audi felt incredibly fast and composed, but over a few laps the effort needed to contain the heavy mid-mounted V10 soon overwhelmed and overheated the rear tyres, resulting in increasingly wayward behaviour. The resulting slides were fairly easy to correct on a circuit, but after a few laps like this, you’d end up facing a huge bill for replacing the tyres.

Verdict

First place: McLaren 570S

The incredible 570S is arguably the best McLaren since the legendary F1. Combining the brand’s traditional hi-tech approach with a little more personality and driver involvement, it’s a visciously fast and accomplished sports car that’s engaging to drive at any speed. And its amazing looks, driver-focused interior, surprisingly comfortable ride and decent practicality are the icing on the cake. We awarded the 570S our Performance Car of the Year award at the 2016 Auto Express New Car Awards, and it’s well deserved. 

Second place: Audi R8

For many, the Audi’s fabulous 5.2-litre V10 alone will be worth the entry price. With its heavy-hitting performance and orchestral soundtrack, it’s a true mechanical masterpiece. Better still, it’s wrapped in stunning-looking bodywork and is backed by driving dynamics that manage to blend the everyday convenience of the TT with high-octane, high-speed thrills.

Third place: Porsche 911

In many respects, it’s the Porsche’s ability to make the extraordinary seem ordinary that relegates it to third. This is the easiest car to live with every day, yet it’s also hugely fast and engaging. Its outright ability is on par with its rivals, but in a test that demands thrills its low-key approach lets it down. Plus, the latest Carrera turbos give you 90 per cent of the S’s ability for two-thirds the cost.

Coming soon

Honda NSX

Price: £130,000 (est)
Engine: 3.5-litre V6 hybrid, 573bhp
New Honda NSX 2015 driving

Honda's flagship supercar is back after over a decade away. Unlike our test cars, it goes down the hybrid route, blending a petrol V6 with powerful electric motors. However, it promises to be every bit as engaging to drive as the original.

Facts and figures

 McLaren 570SAudi R8 V10 PlusPorsche 911 Turbo S
On-the-road price/total as tested£143,270/£187,320£134,500/£155,020£146,478/£148,930
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)N/A£65,771/48.9%£65,183/44.5%
DepreciationN/A£68,730£81,295
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£10,515/£21,030£9,868/£19,735£10,787/£21,574
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£3,664/£6,107£2,871/£4,785£2,685/£4,475
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost50/N/A/L/£50050/£1,244/M/£51550/£1,298/K/£295
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd serviceTBC£999/£869/£1,613£550/£1,250/£550
    
Length/wheelbase4,530/2,670mm4,426/2,650mm4,507/2,450m
Height/width1,202/2,095mm1,240/1,940mm1,297/1,880mm
EngineV8/3,799ccV10/5,204ccFlat-six/3,800cc
Peak power 562/7,400 bhp/rpm602/8,250 bhp/rpm572/6,750 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 600/6,000 Nm/rpm560/6,500 Nm/rpm750/2,100 Nm/rpm
Transmission 7-spd twin-clutch/rwd7-spd twin-clutch/4WD7-spd twin-clutch/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel72 litres/foam73 litres/foam68 litres/foam
Boot capacity 144 litres112 litres115 litres
Kerbweight/payload1,344kg/N/A1,555/340kg1,675/315kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient12.4 metres/N/A11.2 metres/N/A10.6 metres/0.31Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unltd)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (unltd)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers10,000 miles (1yr)/6Variable/12120,000 miles (2yrs)/36
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.N/A21st/25th7th/8th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./pointsN/AN/AN/A
    
0-60/30-70mph3.1/2.0 secs2.9/2.2 secs2.9/2.0 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 2.0/3.0 secs1.6/2.3 secs1.7/2.9 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th 3.5/6.1/12.0 secs2.9/4.0/5.1 secs2.8/4.0/7.2 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 204mph/1,800rpm205mph/2,900rpm205mph/1,800rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 41.8/33.2/9.5m40.1/33.2/8.9m36.9/30.4/7.9m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mphN/A66/50/67/76dBN/A
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range18.1/4.0/287 miles23.1/5.1/371 miles24.7/5.4/369 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 17.2/38.4/26.6mpg16.1/30.4/23.0mpg23.9/37.7/31.0mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 3.8/8.5/5.9mpl3.6/6.7/5.1mpl5.3/8.3/6.8mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket361/249g/km/37%283/287g/km/37%264/212g/km/37%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park. sensors/cameraFive/yes/£960/£990Four/yes/yes/£600Six/£122/yes/yes
Auto/stab ctrl/ceramic brakes/AEB^Yes/yes/yes/noYes/yes/yes/noYes/yes/yes/£1,278**
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/£2,620^^Yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless goYes/LED/yesYes/LED/yesYes/LED/£744
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes

Most Popular

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp
Tesla Model S facelift - front
Tesla Model S

New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp

Range-topping version of the Tesla Model S officially unveiled, with a sprint time of 0-60mph in less than two seconds
10 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Car group tests

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300

The capable Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes up against its new Cupra Leon 300 sibling in this hot hatch battle
12 Jun 2021
New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain
Lexus NX - front action
Lexus NX SUV

New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain

The new Lexus NX 350h features a standard hybrid set-up, while the NX 450h+ gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of 40 miles of pure electric powe…
12 Jun 2021
LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini
LEC MINI Electric
MINI

LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini

The conversion sees the Mini’s A-Series engine replaced with a dinky electric motor and a 20kWh battery for a range of 70 miles in the city
10 Jun 2021
Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features
Audi S5
Audi

Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features

Almost every car in Audi’s line-up has received a tweak, with major updates including Amazon Alexa integration and a Sonos stereo
11 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
'GM taking over Honda would be a disaster'
Honda opinion
Opinion

'GM taking over Honda would be a disaster'

Mike Rutherford is worried about Honda's future, despite its recent motorsport success
6 Jun 2021
Mustang Mach-E: your next company car?
A red Ford Mustang Mach-E parked
Advertisement Feature

Mustang Mach-E: your next company car?

Thinking of getting a new company car? Here’s why you should consider putting the Mustang Mach-E on your shortlist
11 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition 2021 review
Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition - front
Volkswagen T-Cross

New Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition 2021 review

The small Volkswagen T-Cross SUV turns on the style in new Black Edition trim
11 Jun 2021