McLaren have revealed their new grand tourer. It might not look like it, but it’s different.
We have no doubt that the familiar McLaren design and 4.0 litre twin-turbo engine will lead many to think that the GT is just a de-tuned and lightly repackaged 720S – but the devil is in the detail.
The McLaren GT in numbers
3.1 seconds to 62 mph
9.0 seconds to 124 mph
414 – range in miles (at NEDC EU Combined mpg).
570-litre luggage capacity
612 BHP (620 PS)
1,466 kg – dry weight
£163,000 starting price in the UK
“this is a car that redefines the notion of a Grand Tourer in a way that only a McLaren could.” Mike Flewitt, CEO McLaren Automotive
The overall look and headline specifications certainly feel familiar. Carbon-fibre MonoCell chassis – check. Mid-mounted 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 – check. But according to McLaren both the chassis and engine are new and they are keen to point out that the GT shares DNA with the McLaren Speedtail.
The body is longer than the 720S with a higher nose to improve driving practicality over speed bumps, in car parks and on the EuroTunnel. There is a full length glazed rear tailgate and glazed C-Pillars to ensure all-round visibility is excellent and this is enhanced by a raised seating position which also improves entry and exit from the vehicle.
Inside, the GT is focused on luxury rather than weight saving and boasts leather and aluminium trim – far more Speedtail than 720S.
The real eye-opener is the load capacity. The GT has 150 litres of luggage space up front (more than a Porsche 911) and a whopping 420 litres under the rear tailgate. That’s bigger than the boot of a Bentley Continental GT (358 litres), almost as big as the loadspace in a Volvo V60 and it can easily take a set of golf clubs or two pairs of 185cm skis. That’s impressive in a mid-engined car.
The GT has a broader, flatter torque curve than its siblings to suit the style of driving it is intended for. It’s very fast. And very powerful. That should just about cover it.
A new Proactive Damping Control has been developed to make the GT genuinely comfortable over long distances and around town as well as delivering the type of handling one expects from a McLaren in the twisty stuff. The infotainment system has been beefed up with a faster, smarter navigation system which makes perfect sense in a car that has been designed for long trips.
McLaren sees the competition as the Aston Martin DB11, Ferrari Portofino and Porsche 911 Turbo S. We think that the most obvious competitor is the DB11 V12, and the McLaren trumps it in some key areas. The GT is nearly 300kg lighter than the DB11, costs about the same and is a little more powerful. OK, you can’t pretend you have a four-seater if you buy the McLaren like DB11 owners pretend they do, but you can at least get your golf clubs in the back.
Only time will tell whether the mid-engined layout wins over owners of the competition, but we really think it should.
A mid-engined Grand Tourer. Think about that and name another – we can’t off the top of our heads.
McLaren has come up with a really intriguing package – a car with a proper boot that handles and performs like a McLaren. There’s no denying that all other mid-engined cars fall woefully short of offering enough space for two travellers to pack for any more than an overnight stay. We think that combination is enough to make it a hit.
Gallery – McLaren GT
All images courtesy of McLaren Automotive