McLaren making a name for itself in high-end, exotic car market

After decades in racing, auto-maker McLaren is now making a name for itself in the high-end, exotic car market.

The newest version of McLaren's entry model exotic car is the 570GT. It features a bit more practicality than the regular 570S, thanks to a large opening rear window and leather-lined luggage shelf. The cargo space adds to the surprisingly generous trunk at the front of the car.

This increased usability adds all the other supercar attributes, like performance and looks. McLaren has been building street cars for only about seven years, but its cars already stand out among stand-out designs. Then again, cars costing nearly $200,000 (and up) should look great and perform very well.

So, naturally, a car like the 570 is wasteful, right? Not necessarily.

Mclaren has touted efficiency, going back to its first street car in 2011, the MP4-12C. The 570GT uses a relatively small engine, a 3.8 liter V8, with twin turbochargers that help it make a staggering 562 horsepower. And the curb weight for the 570GT is a tick under 3,300 pounds, not much more than a fully-loaded compact sedan. Add all that up, and the 570GT is rated at 16 mpg city and 23 highway, which means it's not subject to the federal Gas Guzzler tax. Actually, no current McLarens fall into gas guzzler territory, even though some other supercars do.

A lot of this comes from McLaren's decades-long experience in auto racing; they're one of the most successful names in the high-tech world of Formula 1. And, the company is looking further into the future. McLaren says half of all of its cars will be hybrid-powered in five years, and they're studying purely electric power as well.

Much of this is in response to current and pending government regulations, both in the U.S. and in Europe. But trying to be a little greener is something many exotic car owners are looking for as well. They want a car that performs, but often don't like the guilt associated with performance.

It's not just McLaren trying to go greener. Porsche made a huge splash with its 918 Spyder supercar a few years ago. It was hybrid-powered and relatively fuel efficient, given its performance. And even with a price of $845,000, it sold out very quickly.

It's the same story over at Ferrari. Its most recent supercar, the LaFerrari, is also hybrid-powered and has more potential customers than available cars.

These are some of today's exotic cars preparing for the future, and doing so in order to ensure that they'll actually have a future.
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