Category: McLaren

Meet the McLaren Senna, a 789hp road-legal track car.

McLaren Senna

McLaren Senna – The ultimate road-legal track car

Any automotive vehicle named after one of the most legendary racing drivers to ever live, surely sounds like it’s going to impress. When that racing driver is the late Ayrton Senna, known as one of the fastest men to grace the circuit, it needs to do more than just impress, but rather blow us away. Welcome the McLaren Senna, the second vehicle in McLaren’s Ultimate Series, dubbed the ultimate road-legal track car.

McLaren Senna

You commit yourself to such a level where there is no compromise. You give everything you have; everything, absolutely everything.” – Ayton Senna

McLaren vehicles are known for their everyday supercar usability, the McLaren Senna is not that type of car. McLaren designed this vehicle to provide the purest connection between driver and vehicle and deliver the most intense circuit experience of any road going McLaren.

The exterior design immediately gives off a sense of speed, seriousness and performance. You may disagree, but the front end strikes me as a combination of a McLaren 720s and the Gumpert Appollo. Its sharp, edgy and features a multitude of scoops, lines and crevasses for aero purposes. In fact, McLaren says you cannot follow a single line from the front to the rear without it passing through a functional air intake or vent. It’s undoubtedly beautiful body is short and features a huge rear wing. HotWheels comes to mind, and we all know from our childhood days how awesome HotWheels cars were.

McLaren Senna

The visual carbon fibre elements are stunning, but what’s even more outstanding is that the lower half of the door side can be specified with glass as a replacement to the carbon fibre panel, increasing the sense of space inside the cabin and amplifying driver connection.

McLaren Senna

Sounds pretty wild, doesn’t it? It is. Over 789 hp (588kW) and 800Nm can be expected from the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged v8, which is the most powerful internal combustion engine produced by McLaren for a road-going vehicle. It also features dry sump lubrication and a flat-plane crankshaft. There’s more, the McLaren Senna Is the lightest McLaren since its rebirth with a dry weight of just 1,198kg, it’s also the strongest thanks to the improved carbon fibre Monocage III chassis. Further, everybody panel bolted to this chassis isalso  made from carbon fibre, resulting in a power to weight ratio of nearly 500 kW per tonne.

McLaren Senna

With this level of power, you can imagine that much grip is required, and this comes in the form of ground-breaking front and rear active aerodynamics. Every part of the vehicle is not just an element of visual design, but rather an aid in an aerodynamic capacity to optimise downforce and balance. Assisting the active aerodynamics and the unmissable double diffuser is the RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC II) hydraulic suspension system. This system compromises of double wishbone suspension and hydraulically interconnected two-valve dampers, which allow for bump and compression to be controlled individually. There is a Race Mode of course, which brings into play a lower ride height, lower centre of gravity and much stiffer suspension. This mode is activated by a roof-mounted switch. Comfort, Sport and Track modes are all accessed via the centre console.

McLaren Senna

Along with many elements of this car, the braking system is also the most advanced system ever fitted to a McLaren vehicle. We are not told much, just that it uses Carbon Ceramic discs and motorsport technologies. Bespoke Pirelli P Zero™ Trofeo R tyres are the choice of rubber, fitted to an ultra-lightweight race inspired alloy wheel.

As much as the McLaren Senna provides ground-breaking performance, McLaren also wanted this vehicle to provide a driving experience like no other. Noise contributes massively to this factor and McLaren engineers decided that the full mechanical symphony of the engine needed to be a sensory experience.  The driver will experience high-frequency sounds caused by rushing air into the roof-mounted intake, all while low-frequency engine sounds are transferred into the cockpit through unique engine mounts, which make it seem as if the V8 is sitting right alongside the driver. We can only imagine the noise provided by gear changes using the dual-clutch, seamless-shift, seven-speed gearbox.

McLaren Senna

Now, all we need to know is how fast it can go around Nurburgring!

McLaren Senna Pricing and availability

The McLaren Senna will be hand-assembled in, Production will be limited to 500 vehicles, each costing from £750,000 or R13.6M (at the time of writing) and all are already allocated.


McLaren 570S Spider Released

McLaren 570S Spider

McLaren 570S Spider Launched

McLaren 570S Spider

The McLaren 570s was a car that set our hair on fire when we tested it late in 2016. It looked fantastic, it was shockingly fast, and driving inside the cabin really did give off that race car element. Frankly, we were very sad to see it go.

Stumbling on into the middle of  2017 and McLaren have released the convertible version of this beautiful monster, Dubbed the McLaren 570S Spider. Not much has changed regarding chassis and drivetrain, it still features 3.8-litre twin turbocharged V8, putting out lots and lots of kW’S – 420 of them to be exact. The McLaren 570S Spider also retains a carbon fibre MonoCell II chassis which brings a multitude of benefits such as a reduction in weight and strength. 

The biggest changes then, as you have probably guessed is the folding roof. This roof entirely disappears into the rear of the McLaren and can be operated at up to 40km/h and will fully open or close within 15 seconds. With the roof up, the 570s spider has around 50-litres of luggage space in the rear and 150-litres up front.

McLaren 570S Spider


The only other difference is that McLaran has included an extended rear spoiler to aid with aerodynamics.This helps to keep the 570s spider on the same performance levels as the Coupe variant. Talking of performance, the numbers all seem to be identical to the Coupe, the only change being the spider will take an extra 0.1 seconds to 200km/h. Thus which is probably because it is 58kg heavier. Top speed with the roof in place is 328km/h, this drops to 315km/h with the roof down.

McLaren 570S Spider

As I’m sure you are aware, there is a host of benefits to owning a convertible supercar. From windswept hair as you, your wife and your V8 thunder through the South African countryside to making your face more visible as you drive meticulously slowly down Camps Bay Drive. Either way, the McLaren 570S Spider remains a beautiful car.

I could not help but spec my own McLaren 570s Spider on the online configurator. Have a go at speccing yours here:                 Spec Your 570S Spider

McLaren 570S Spider

McLaren 570S Spider Pricing in South Africa

We have no news yet on pricing for the South African market, but we expect it to be around R3.5m – R4m.






McLaren on a misson: 720S lands in South Africa.

McLaren 720S South Africa

McLaren 720s launched in South Africa

McLaren 720S South Africa

What do you do when you’re up against competitor brands that have had decades to create iconic masterpieces? Brands that have lodged themselves deep in the minds of individuals and have become idols and symbols for success? The only way to differentiate yourself is to try and be, faster, better and smarter. This is what McLaren have done, and in a very short space of time since they’ve entered the mainstream supercar game, they’ve produced incredible machines. To say they’ve progressed leaps and bounds would be an understatement. One gets the impression that McLaren engineers don’t sleep, all they do is obsess about being the best. Welcome the Mclaren 720S.

McLaren 720S South Africa

Without driving the new McLaren 720S and by simply looking at the specs, you realise that the brand has entered a new realm of supercar stardom. The number 720S denotes the power the car produces which is 536 kW an astonishing figure from a twin turbocharged 4.0 V8. The engine, named the M840T revs to 8500rpm and has a peak torque figure of 770Nm. All that anger is channelled through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, which will propel the driver to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds. 100km/h is irrelevant for a car like this but rather the fact that it takes 7.8 seconds to reach 200km/h is the most noteworthy attribute when it comes to how this vehicle sprints. Weighing in a 1283kg, one sees how this car produces such figures but the largest contributing factor is the Carbon Fibre Monocage II. Seen first in the McLaren P1, the 720S makes use of this single piece carbon fibre tub that includes the roof. As a result, this aids the vehicle rigidity and of course, mass.

McLaren 720S South Africa

As we’ve come to expect in a McLaren, intelligent driver aids make operating these cars an accessible task for most drivers. A Normal, Sport or Track mode can be activated making sure that your 720S maintains composure on an average road yet maximum thrills on the track. Regarding how the car handles, the 720S’s chassis is featured with Proactive Chassis Control II. This system uses sensors to scan the road and pre-empt the chassis to provide maximum grip depending on the setting. For the track days that 720S drivers will attend, there is a feature called Variable Drift Control. Judging by the wording, you can imagine that the 720S will allow for smooth controlled oversteer angles. You would be correct, but the purpose of this mode is not just to make the driver feel like Chris Harris, but rather to assist the driver on a racetrack. If you’ve experienced traction control cutting power in a rear wheel drive car, you’ll know that it can rob a driver of precious seconds during a hot lap. By allowing for certain degrees of slip, the 720S will allow the car to get into oversteer without interfering, until it feels the car reach a specific angle that is too far gone. What this means is that there will be less interference on a track, allowing the driver to have a safety net but not spinning should things get too sideways.

McLaren 720S South Africa

As a whole, the 720S takes the McLaren brand to an entirely new level. This is no mere tweak here and there, it’s a whole new car regarding internals and design. Speaking of design, McLaren has incorporated new design language both inside and outside the vehicle. Based on a great white shark, the front end is more aggressive and differs greatly to the McLarens we’ve seen in the last few years. Entering the vehicle is also much easier, and the cabin is very driver focused. To put the icing on the cake, the instrument display has the ability to fold, giving you a Batmobile-like feel and increased visibility. Only the best materials are used in the car, assuring you that the R5.5 million you’ve spent is worth it. McLaren’s quest for world domination can be seen in the design of this car. Everything about screams more, more and more. This brand may not have the heritage of its competitors, but its new school determined attitude is ever so appealing. It’s the disruptor of the game and it means serious business.    

McLaren 720s pricing in South Africa

The McLaren 720s is on sale now for R5.5 million. Contact Daytona South Africa for more information.

McLaren 570S Driven Review

If one word could be used to sum up the year for us at TheMotorist, that word would be fantastic . As the newest and youngest members in an industry filled with people who have decades of experience, we had to learn how to swim in deep waters.  Thank goodness none of us drowned. In order to celebrate this, we decided to end the year off with something special.  A vehicle which none of us have driven before would do the trick, preferably something special. After poking our noses around with some manufacturers, we found exactly what  we were looking for.

Our answer can in the form of a McLaren, one that makes up part of their newly formed Sport Series. By now you would’ve read, seen or heard about the McLaren 570S. We kept up with all the buzz around this car, but none of us had the pleasure of driving it yet.  How better then to sample such a car at the Zwartkops racetrack, which we had at our disposal for an entire day. It must be said that the days leading up to this test gave us feelings of excitement but equal amount of nerves too. These feeling got worse day by day. As a new publication, the 570S would be the first supercar to be tested by the entire team. Yes, we’ve driven the likes of the Mercedes-AMG GTS, but this is a step up. With everything planned, all we needed to do was fetch the car at the Daytona showrooms on a windy Sunday morning. When that day eventually arrived, anticipation grew as we heard the 3.8 litre V8 bounce sound waves against city buildings in Melrose Arch shopping centre.


If you’ve only seen images or videos of this car, we can confirm that it doesn’t do justice to what this vehicle really looks like in the flesh. It resembles a mini McLarnen P1 with its sharp edges, wide body and typical McLaren teardrop headlights. This is complemented with many carbon fibre bits and pieces. It’s an exquisite looking thing. Following the car on our way to the track was mesmerising but challenging considering that I was behind the wheel of the new Renault Megane GT.  I had 151kW at my disposal but next to the 570S, I may as well have been peddling a bicycle. Richard had a better chance of keeping up in the BMW M3 he was driving, but even then our cars were overshadowed by this machine. A few kilometres into our journey to Zwarkops, the evitable happened. Francisco was pulled over by the “fuzz”. He claims to keeping to the speed limit, something I highly doubt. In the end, the police just wanted to look at the car and they suggested he pay a R500 fine because it “sounded” like he was travelling very fast. Unfortunately sounding fast doesn’t cut it, so he politely declined the suggestion and we were on our way.

What makes it tick?

As previously mentioned, the 570S features a 3.8 Litre V8 twin turbocharged engine, producing 419Kw (650bhp) and 600Nm of torque. It’s slightly longer and wider than the than the 650S, which makes it more “everyday friendly”. That being said it only weighs approximately  1300kg, due to its carbon fibre tub. Sitting inside the McLaren is a cosy experience, but quite snug . From the driver’s perspective, you feel very much a part of the car. Packing a lot of power and very little weight means the 0-100 km/h time of the car is 3.2 seconds.  0 – 200km/h is taken care of in 9.5 seconds, for us that was the more scarier figure.  All this performance doesn’t come cheap because depending on what’s happening with the Rand, you’re in for around the R3.5 million mark if you would like to be the proud owner of one.

Francisco summed up his experience of the car in this way…“ If you were to personify a traditional supercar, you could easily picture a slick playboy with an ego bigger than his bank balance. The McLaren 570s on the other hand doesn’t quite seem to fit that disposition. Instead, the whole brand for me is like Apple. I could see a young tech innovator hopping into a McLaren in a white T-shirt and sneakers. It’s just such a smart and nerdy car, that’s the impression I get. Perhaps because it’s the newest player in the major leagues, it kind of reminds me of the recent emergence of many young tech millionaires.”


On the Track

After shooting the pretty stuff for our video, we each had a chance to take the vehicle out on the racetrack. What was meant to be a short stint, ended up being over an hour and many litres of fuel. At first, the 570s came across as quite a scary vehicle to drive because of its sheer acceleration and twitchy backend. I received quite the wakeup call in the beginning as I didn’t expect it to be as fast as it was. After first accelerating, my thoughts were something along the lines of “I really don’t want to push this car, it’s going to kill me”. Understanding how the 570s reacts after a few laps put me more at ease though. I soon felt comfortable enough to push it around this tight circuit. A few things that stood out to me, the first was how good the front end of this vehicle is.  You can enter a corner at a tremendous speed and it just allows you to carry on. Other cars under-steer, but the 570s just grips.  The brutal acceleration on this car is also a force to be reckoned with, one feeling I will never forget is the brute force of the final revs when in 3rd gear. Coming out of a corner in second gear, a harsh and fast change up into third and the car screams up to its 8500rpm limit in an awe inspiring way.


Francisco had this to say about his track experience. “ You literally have a razor blade for a vehicle. Pick a cornering line and its yours, pick a braking point and it stops and then for the brave, turn off the traction control and you can slide the hell out of it. The whole experience of the car is quite special. It feels alive, it feels focused and yet it’s not tiresome like other sports cars that offer the same level of performance”

Not just a pretty face.

The 570s is very technical and electronic, and I know for Richard as much as he enjoyed the car, it didn’t make him giggle. He mentioned that  after getting used to the vehicle, no longer felt like it was going to kill him, it is a very fast and very predicable vehicle. This may sound negative but it’s really a compliment because the average man can’t trust the car to bring him home safely after a track day. Personally I enjoyed every minute in the car. The way it made me feel and how I could brake later and later and clip all the apexes, gave me a very big grin.

Overall then, the McLaren 570s is a vehicle which got the unanimous nod from all of us, it is a fantastic performance vehicle. The argument between us  was if we would choose it over the likes of a Porsche Turbo S? This is where Richards opinion different from Francisco’s and myself. He would not take the 570s home purely for the reasons he mentioned earlier. For him, he finds much more enjoyment in a vehicle that isn’t so predicable, one that will try and kill him coming out of the apex from time to time (strange we know) . The McLaren 570s will do that, but you really have to try hard to get it bent completely out of shape.

Francisco on the other hand said that if you are looking for something  special ,that can still be used every day, the McLaren is the way to go. His exact words were “The McLaren 570s has that special appeal that a supercar is supposed to have. As much as they may say it’s a sports car, everything about  begs to differ. It’s only when you use it on the road, that’s when you see it’s sports car attributes. If you asked me to choose for you, I’d offer the following advice; if you’re an introvert and would like to blend in, buy another car. If however you like a bit of attention and still want something usable on the road, give McLaren a call.


For me, The 570s is definitely a car I would take home. I understand where Richard is coming from as this car is a serious piece of kit and you may feel like it doesn’t like to play. As much as I like something that’s completely wild, I also love a vehicle that can perform extremely well on the track. Its not just the performance that gets me, the way the McLaren feels when inside makes me feel like a little boy. The interior styling, extremely low driving position and PlayStation-like controls really make it stand out for me. The McLaren 570s is called a sports car, but it is so much more than that. The ride is firm but livable and even out of Track Mode, it doesn’t feel much different to when it is in Normal Mode. There is something about a car with technology derived from F1 and packaged as a daily drive. I buy this car if I had the means, and compared to the prices you pay for other McLaren products, you can convince yourself that it’s good value for money. Now I just need to find R3.5 million. Any donations will be accepted.


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