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McLaren's four characteristics that define sports car

McLaren's Paul Burnham, makes the case for such an audacious claim rests on four characteristics. First, there's an all carbon-fiber tub, which knocks just about every historical sports car out of the running for authentic sports car status.

Second, McLaren's a believer in hydraulic steering. Fair point, but McLaren may end up eating those words if the company ever follows the EPAS route of most automakers.

Third, McLaren credits its cars' V8 engines. Retroactively and futuristically cross the Lotus Elise off your sports car list. Also remove the new Ford GT that Horacio Pagani paid for with his own money.

Finally, McLaren associates authentic sports cars with midship engine placement, as if the Chevrolet Corvette needed another reason to stand outside McLaren's sports-car sheepfold.

McLaren's Burnham made these comments while discussing the separation of Sports (570S and 540C, for example) and Super Series (720S) cars. McLaren has generated such high performance with the Sports Series cars that distinguishing the upper-tier cars is a challenge. "It's one of the reasons why the 570S gets slimmer tyres than the new 720S Super Series car, otherwise there isn't a lot that separates these two cars, as far as grip levels go."

McLaren's aim, Burnham says, is to have a lower level of car that's "more exploitable at road speeds," and a higher level that's "about pure performance."

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