Novitec’s history in exotic cars goes back to the late Eighties when its founder Wolfgang Hagedorn first brought his creativity and unique vision to fruition. The brand’s earliest masterpieces gave way to an entirely new market of highly-modified Italian sports cars. From one of their first high-end projects, a 565 hp Ferrari 360 which saw considerable performance gains from the 400 hp stock configuration, to the popular 2007 announcement of the company’s vision to supercharge a Ferrari 599 to nearly 900 hp, Novitec has remained a predominant player in the modified sports car market for several decades.
Headquartered in Stetten, Germany with branches across the globe, Novitec’s reputation for high-performance automotive augmentation is well known amongst motorsports enthusiasts and exotic car owners alike. Working exclusively with a handful of distinct manufacturers, their masterfully engineered designs can be found on many of today’s hottest models. Having already worked on a range of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Rolls-Royce vehicles, we had no doubt that when Novitec got their hands on this McLaren 570S Coupé the final product would be nothing short of perfection.
McLarens have long been regarded for their unique appearance and ridiculously fast performance. The brand is synonymous with racing excellence (the automaker’s esteemed line of McLaren models are often referred to as “street legal race cars”), but the 570S is truly a work of art on its own. With a twin-turbo charged, 3.8L V8 motor and aerodynamics reminiscent of something out of a futuristic sci-fi thriller, the sports car delivers more than enough torque to leave even the most experienced driver completely speechless.
Thanks to our friends at McLaren Scottsdale, I had the unique opportunity of taking this exquisite machine for an extended test drive and the results were mind-boggling. As if the vehicle weren’t astonishing enough from the factory, Novitec’s custom McLaren 570S far exceeded any preconceived notions I had of how the car might perform and I was pleasantly surprised with the torque and handling capabilities. The impressive 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds was immediately apparent and the noise produced from the twin-turbos spooling up in concert gave the model a true race car sound and feel. It’s a custom sports car I would add to my personal collection in a heartbeat.
From the car’s stylish, one-of-a-kind interior to the superior performance found only in a McLaren, the 570S does much more than just meet the expectations of well-versed sports car fanatics like myself. A simple push of the ignition button awakens the engine’s unparalleled roar, eliciting more than enough excitement to motivate aspiring exotic car owners to “start their savings.” A seven-speed gearbox with paddle shifters contributes to a variety of driving modes to further elaborate on the 570’s unique handling abilities, while the all-aluminum engine block has been precisely tuned to compete with the likes of its rival: the infamous Porsche 911 Turbo S.
Exploring the interior of the McLaren 570S offers quite an experience in and of itself. A myriad of electronic components and meticulously designed features can be used to adjust every aspect of the car’s handling and performance abilities. The brightly-illuminated LCD screen adjusts settings based on driving mode to deliver driving conditions and operating information in a cutting-edge multi-format display. Pair that with the “floating” center console’s seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system and the entire command center of the UK’s foremost exotic racing brand is readily at your fingertips.
Additionally, the interior color scheme and trim options can all be completely customized to suit any taste. From 10 designer interiors exclusively tailored for McLaren, to the ability to color-match anything you can imagine via their McLaren Special Operations (MSO) division, you’re guaranteed to receive the exact options and aesthetics you’re looking for. An optional, 12-speaker, 1,280-watt surround sound system is also available for the avid audiophile interested in the exotic 570S, a feature not usually offered in today’s high-end sports cars.
Addressing one of the very few complaints drivers have ever lodged at McLaren, the company’s design team has also made one very significant adjustment by making the 570 substantially easier to enter and exit than previous models. This fix was much needed given the high and wide door sills found on the 650 models, and made getting in and out of the thrilling machine as easy as possible.
The McLaren 570’s lightest-in-class curb weight and highest power-to-weight ratio demonstrate that the model’s performance has been precisely engineered to exceed expectations of critics and enthusiasts alike across the globe. Largely in part to the carbon fiber MonoCell II chassis — a design element shared by its McLaren F1 relatives —the 570S is capable of moving from zero to 124 mph in an astonishing 9.5 seconds from the power created by its mid-mounted V8 powertrain. Adaptive dampers and anti-roll bars work together with the car’s double wishbone suspension for an impressively smooth ride and superior handling. Couple that with the 570’s hydraulic steering and you’re left with astounding cornering and road-course performance.
As with any McLaren, aerodynamics play an important role in the 570S and provide much more than just aggressive styling and exotic flair. The P1-inspired LED tail lights and use of open mesh throughout the rear end design perfectly accentuate the ultra-sporty “floating” diffuser which helps to create a significant amount of downforce. McLaren’s signature dihedral door design adds just the right amount of jaw-dropping appeal to warrant any crowd’s attention and helps streamline air flow into the wing-like air intakes that have been strategically built into the rear fenders; while lightweight alloy wheels and a pair of flying rear buttresses have been used in the design for additional rear downforce and increased performance; and a hydraulic lift is used in unison with McLaren’s first non-hydraulic suspension system to raise the nose just enough for pulling into a moderate incline or driveway — a feature more than necessary given the model’s low ground clearance.
For Novitec’s part, a complete wind tunnel-tested aerodynamic package has been designed in lightweight carbon fiber to offer optimized aerodynamics and an even more aggressive appearance. Carefully shaped and designed so as not to take away from the fundamentals of McLaren’s world-class engineering, Novitec’s lightweight carbon fiber aero kit for the 570S includes a front lip spoiler, side rocker panels, covers for side air-intake vents, rear-bumper side covers, an aggressive rear wing, and a dual-branch rear window air box for increased airflow to the engine bay.
Bespoke wheel and tire treatments from McLaren Scottsdale coincide with customized suspension components to provide additional enhancements, while Novitec’s optional three-stage engine tuning gives 570S owners the opportunity to add an extra 76 hp to their inherently powerful stock configuration with upgraded engine management software and premium quality exhaust systems.
After spending some time with the 570S, I found it hard to return to the dealership. Everything about this car — from the handling to the responsiveness to the level of control it gives the driver — exemplifies exactly what I love about precision high-performance automobiles. Moral of the story: McLarens are already incredible as is. But add some Novitec customization and you’re left with a piece of automotive mastery that’s second to none. If you are looking for your next supercar, your search may be over.
Which of these incredible beasts was the most beautiful? Was it Ferrari’s 789-horsepower 812 Superfast and GTC4Lusso? Roll-Royce’s 624-hp Wraith, or 563-hp Dawn? (Rolls has many 12-cylinder offerings, but I’m thinking of cars with a certain visual panache here.) Lamborghini’s 740-hp Aventador? Bentley’s 633-hp Continental GT?
These cars are as varied in their styling as they are in their on-road personality. Where the stylish, extravagant 812 flaunts itself around corners like a supermodel, the bulging body-builder Bentley punches forward like a heavyweight boxer. The Wraith is handsome, confident, and sure, an automotive Jason Statham. The Aventador, all geometric edges and screaming fury, is by far the wildest of the lot over any road configuration. They range in price from roughly US$200,000 for the Continental GT to US$320,000 and up for the Superfast and the two Rolls. (And even those prices are rough estimates; virtually every person who owns them chooses customisations and options that make the price as bespoke as the car.)
And yet none, to me, are the most perfectly proportioned and stylishly designed. That title belongs to the Aston Martin DB11.
That the DB11 is beautiful is no news. Since it made its debut last year, the US$230,345 coupe has won critical and popular worship as a masterpiece. Somehow the folks at Aston figured out how to make the four-wheeled equivalent of Michelangelo’s David: curved across its clamshell hood, muscled along the side haunches, edged across its bladed 20-inch diamond-turned rims and casually potent, from the slender veins of his feet to the curled locks on his brow.
Er, from the new wide front grill to the rear aero blade and deployable spoiler, I mean. I’m talking about the car.
Anyway, photos don’t do (either piece of art) justice. But what I would like to offer for your consideration is the idea that this four-seater is the most capital-B “Beautiful” 12-cylinder car on the market today. Even sweeter: It’s fairly priced, when compared with the others in its class.
Beauty on Purpose
Aston Martin chief Andy Palmer has said multiple times that his goal is to make the most beautiful cars in the world. In an industry that produces such complex, expensive products, it’s not a crazy thing to say, but it’s also nonstandard. Usually it’s the power of a car, the handling, and the performance that a carmaker brags about first. But Palmer is refreshing in his single-mindedness. Over more than a decade that I’ve been writing about cars, he’s the only automotive executive I’ve heard say point-blank that looks are his top priority.
He understands that beauty commands action and form follows function. A beautiful-looking car, in theory though not always in reality, will drive beautifully, too.
The DB11 epitomizes Palmer’s goal. This car will elicit feelings in you that will go unprinted here. Here, masculine (the huge, snarling air intakes in the roof) and feminine (the svelte side body) combine in the DB11 better than in any other modern car.
Its lateral-rung grille, spread long and low across the front, is a totally new look for Aston, as is the soft clamshell style hood and those cool rims bladed like the knives of a sushi master. New also are the full LED headlights slanted seductively along the front; their beams can even corner along with the road as the car moves forward. If there is a car that could make something like the good-looking Jaguar F-Type look stubby, this is it.
What’s more, and unlike some others in its segment (Lamborghini Huracán, ahem) visibility and road clearance aren’t sacrificed for looks. In the DB11, you can both see potholes and clear them.
An Interior on a Par With the Exterior
Better yet, unlike many supercars, here the interior is as deluxe and well thought-out as the exterior.
To recreate the US$255,000 DB11 I drove will cost roughly US$20,000 in cosmetic upgrades. (That’s just on the inside.) Sitting in this cabin is like sitting inside a beautiful blond-leather Birkin bag—it smells like the inside of a Birkin, too, with a feel as soft to the touch as the calfskin in the Wraith, which costs nearly twice as much. You’ll want to spring for the warm blond interior tone called All Sahara Tan and make sure the top of the ceiling matches the seat insets as well (US$2,270). You’ll also need the brogue detailing on the doors (US$2,270)—richer than I’ve seen on a new car, swirled in hue like Turkish coffee and milk.
The contrast stitching (US$570) and intricate quilted design splayed like fans across the top of the seats and the ceiling (US$2,270) are great. They are a welcome change from the diamond-stitched designs that have become ubiquitous in cars of this calibre over the past few years. A “Satin Tan Lace Wood” trim inlay (US$500) and gloss black speakers (US$920) help complete the look. Consider it your own personal blonde calfskin cocoon.
Plenty of New Charms
Those familiar with this brand will be delighted with other interior upgrades from past Aston Martin models as well. Instead of starting the car by inserting a sleek key fob into the dashboard, the DB11’s fob simply must be in proximity to the car to activate the push-button start. The interior lights illuminate by touch, and a large storage compartment in the centre console slides open and closed at the flick of a tiny lever in the centre console.
On the dash, a single round LCD dial in the middle of a 12-inch screen tells speeds and engine status. You can see which of the three drive modes you’ve engaged there as well.
And the back, well, it’s smaller than what you’ll find in the four-seat, four-door Aston Martin Rapide. It’s far more beautiful, though, with the same fanned-out stitching and lush leather wrapping you at every turn. It’ll just require a pronounced hunch and knee swivel to the side for any adult to sit among its charms.
The Beauty of the Drive
As for performance, well, this column is about beauty. But it’s worth saying that in the DB11, precision and personality cohabitate flawlessly, as in a driver’s dream.
Where something like the McLaren 570S masters precision, and the Lamborghini Huracán gives personality, each are rather weighted to one end of that spectrum or the other. Meanwhile, DB11 is smooth and balanced, and fast, and powerful.
The proof is in the sales, which have far exceeded expectations: Aston Martin says demand for the DB11 will push company revenue up by 37 per cent this year. In the fourth quarter alone last year, orders for the coupe rose 48 per cent, according to a company statement in February. It’s a strong step forward for the company that says it wants to introduce a new car into the market every nine months until 2020.
Here’s the Rundown
The DB11 makes 600 horsepower and hits 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. Top speed is 200 mph. Driving it feels as balanced as a metronome: You can get the back end to swivel a bit when you punch the gas (I like that), but the car quickly rights itself and grabs the road for more. You know how your favorite crazy uncle hugs you after a long time apart? Like that. It won’t let up.
Stability, traction, and torque control make the DB11 truly nimble to drive. One note: The brakes can feel extremely aggressive. Abrupt, even, if you haven’t yet warmed up and worked in the car.