Culture / Cars

The World’s Hottest Sports Car Hits Houston

Mystique, Aura and a New “Low” Price Show This is No Ferrari

BY // 01.07.16

The McLaren name still possesses a sense of mystique in 2016. In some ways, these are the white whales of ultra high-end sports cars.

Everyone has seen a Ferrari or a Lamborghini speeding down a city street with an exaggerated engine roar or shown off in a prime valet parking spot like a preening peacock. McLaren sightings are a rarity.

The greater Houston area is home to more than 6 million people, and an estimated 50 McLaren owners. These British cars — which employ modified F1 race car technology — tend to attract truly devoted fans. Last summer, a rare 1998 McLaren F1 LM hypercar sold for $13.75 million at a Sotheby’s Auction in Pebble Beach. And within days, the new owner was spotted driving it around Monterey. These distinctive cars aren’t museum pieces, they’re meant to be driven.

A new Houston dealership — the first McLaren dealership in the city ever — is betting on the idea that more of these supercar fanatics are out there, waiting for something different. McLaren Houston, which plans to open its doors later this month at 16210 North Freeway off Interstate 45, is the 16th McLaren showroom in the United States. But in many ways, it’s one of the first salvos in the reborn and reenergized English brand’s attempt to make its automobiles more accessible.

McLaren now has an $184,900 car — the 570s — that is nearly $100,000 cheaper than the company’s least expensive model sold in the U.S. in the past. No worries — the McLaren 570S still boasts the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the same components you find in one of McLaren’s million-dollar hypercars, and it still has speed and power to spare, with a 204 MPH capability and a 3.2 second zero-to-60 time.

It all seems like a fitting transformation for a brand originally inspired by legendary race car driver Bruce McLaren, a lead-footed maverick innovator who tragically crashed and died testing an experimental car at age 32 back in 1970.

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