McLaren wows crowds and drivers at The Shop

Seattle doesn’t seem like the best place to try out a McLaren 570S. Potholes routinely eat cars, drivers seem to think the city is a demolition derby and don’t even get me started on the bicyclists. In reality, it proved a perfect place to test out the multitude of offerings this vehicle has to offer.

The first time I drove a 570S was in the winding back roads of Oregon, as part of the 2017 Run to the Sun event. It was 20 minutes of heaven.

So, too, was the event hosted by McLaren (corporate and McLaren Bellevue), JP Morgan Chase and The Shop in Seattle. The road out front was—as expected—riddled with potholes, cracks and uneven pavement. Just the kind of concrete for a $188,600 exotic.

But the 570S is a daily drive-able McLaren. The suspension ate up the terrible roads of Seattle with nary a care in the world. Rolling through SoDo wasn’t spine-jarring or chiropractic-care-inducing, it was serene. The train tracks or bridge girders felt like slips of paper, for all I felt them.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be so comfortable driving on the street. I thought it was going to be a little rougher, especially on the streets right out here. They’re quite bumpy,” Justin Dechant, a local real estate investor invited out to the event. “But, it felt like it could be a daily driver if you wanted it to be.

The carbon fiber-filled interior was comfortable and disconnected from the hustle and bustle of the city beyond. Gripping the Alcantara steering wheel was relaxing. Even though it had carbon fiber race seats, they were pleasantly supple.

I drove a McLaren with the Luxury Package, featuring power sport seats, a power-adjustable steering column, and a 12-speaker Bower & Wilkins audio system (that I didn’t try, instead enjoying the mechanical audio). It also had the Track Pack featured lightweight 10-spoke wheels forged alloy wheels, McLaren Track Telemetry (which I will eventually use), an Alcantara steering wheel and a few more bits and pieces.

While the McLaren can be as smooth and quiet as you want it to be, the best way to experience it with the throttle open. My sidekick offered Sport+ mode for my jaunt down the West Seattle Bridge and I couldn’t help but approve.

Alas, I barely dabbled in its capabilities. I couldn’t tell you how quickly it accelerated when I put my foot down because all too quickly I was coming back from it as traffic rushed forth. It cornered and maneuvered between sedans and SUVs with ease, the lightweight body providing a solid base for a nimble vehicle.

Zero to 62 goes past in a mere 3.2 seconds; 124 mph comes in less than 10 (9.6 seconds, according to McLaren); and the top speed is a breezy 204 mph. And I didn’t even get close (that is definitely not something I’d want to do on Seattle roads… or, well, at least not without permission).

Flappy paddles didn’t quite have the same feedback as a true manual, but I’d rather not have a stick in this car. The 7-speed Seamless Shift Gearbox—a dual-clutch transmission—is lightning quick. Nothing detracted from the driving pleasure of the 570S.

The 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 rumbling behind my ears was a tantalizing symphony of power (562 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque to be precise). Untapped potential reverberated through my fingertips and toes, the car begging to be truly exercised. I like having my driver’s license, though, so will save that kind of activity for the track.

I wasn’t the only person who was given the opportunity to test out this engineering marvel. I spoke with several of the ecstatic drivers/potential owners during my day at The Shop and most were keen to learn more.

“Oh, it was awesome. It was like driving a rocket, it was incredible. Just unbelievable,” said Mark Chamberlain, one of the lucky few afforded the opportunity to drive a 570s.

It was a day of firsts for Chamberlain, as it was his first time driving a McLaren 570S and visiting The Shop. He liked that it was more unique than the Ferrari or Lamborghini, both he and his wife liked the comfort, and the McLaren’s performance was second to none.

“From the moment you decided to go, whoosh, you were just gone. It was a real adrenaline rush,” Chamberlain said. “I’d love to [pick one up], we’ll see after I talk to my wife.”

The Shop has had a spat of manufacturer exposure. Earlier in the year, BMW hosted a driving experience there. Corporate McLaren connected with McLaren Bellevue, JP Morgan Chase, and The Shop to put on the event.

“McLaren felt this was a natural fit, with our restaurant,” Matt Bell, CEO of The Shop Clubs Inc. “I feel very fortunate and lucky. For us, it’s about creating a place of community for all car and motorcycle enthusiasts, and a good experience for our members.”

They are usually allowed to hold a few spots for their members during these driving events—side note for The Shop’s current members.

Though, the 570S wasn’t the only McLaren I got to experience that day. Corporate was kind enough to bring out their prototype 600LT—their next edition of supercar. I didn’t get to drive it, much to my sadness, but it was impressive. Then again, it should be for a base price topping $240,000.

More below photo gallery.

“[The 600LT has] styling and performance, it’s really down to those two,” said Gary Van Houten, General Manager of McLaren Bellevue. “Amazingly unique styling with outstanding performance.”

McLaren gave the 600LT a 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V8 creating 593-hp and 457 lb-ft of torque, but I didn’t get to hear its melody that day.

The display brought plenty of people around, though for most it was just a pleasure to see (not a feasible vehicle to purchase).

Both the 570S and 600LT are available for deliveries. To pick one up, call the friendly people over at McLaren Bellevue.

If you’d like to check out The Shop, drop by any time. Their restaurant and bar, called Derby, is open to the public and they host tons of events.