The GT, my favorite class of automobiles on the market. There’s a huge stereotype that engineering teams are pressed to make cars better through performance enhancements, allowing them to drive quicker, sharper, eliminating the competition through raw aggression. This segment speaks otherwise, giving Engineers the design freedom to still make a monster, but emphasize characteristics such as luxury and comfort, a different, but more desirable package to the everyday consumer. GT cars are excellent for long journeys, known to be front engined, very heavy, and extensively pampered. My realistic dream car happens to be a GT (nice try, I’m not telling you yet), and my former dream car, the S 65 AMG Coupé, was a GT that redefined the segment for years.
When I heard McLaren was coming out with a GT, I was honestly shocked. A company that literally thrives on crushing the competition with the most engaging track weapons just couldn’t have a chance against the segment veterans, including the DB11, Continental GT, let’s throw the S Coupé in there for fun. The spy shots surfaced, and I figured I couldn’t be more right; They seemed to be working on something that heavily resembled a toned down 720S, affirming in my mind there was not even a slight chance that McLaren could crack the code.
But cracking the code wasn’t McLaren’s plans; They wanted to completely redefine it.
Enter the McLaren GT, one of the first McLarens with the exception of the Speedtail not designed with the goal of being an absolute track menace. I’d even take it a step further to say it wasn’t designed with performance in mind, but without a true test drive available, that’s very hard to infer. However, the car does sit outside all other McLaren designations (Sport, Super, Ultimate) forming a new category, Grand Tourer. It’s been deemed by the company as their most comfortable car to date, claimed to be nothing like the 570GT even in the slightest. That car is essentially a toned down 570S, a little more spacious, with a clear trace back to the track. Something’s cooking, and it’s very very… Different.
To be honest, I’m still not convinced. The car is mid – engined, extremely light, and honestly doesn’t seem all that comfortable at first glance; Hopefully, the end of this review should have our minds changed. McLaren believes primary competition is the Aston Martin DB11 V8, Ferrari Portofino, and Porsche 911 Turbo S, which to be honest, is a bit concerning. I’d make the case that none of those are true embodiments of GT cars, with a slight exception for the Aston. Unfortunately, my Engineering brain says I’ve got to give the GT a fair chance. It hasn’t officially been released, but you know McLaren, they aren’t very shy.
In typical fashion, the 4.0 L twin – turbo V8 from the 720S is back once again, outputting 612 HP and 465 lb • ft of torque in this setting, because 720 HP is that much more dangerous. This unit comes with smaller turbochargers, and surprisingly, one of the best exhausts ever fitted to a McLaren. Everyone dreads the monotonic sound of a flat plane V8, and turbos don’t do it justice at all. This exhaust sounds aggressive, throaty, almost on par with the AMGs. I’m really glad that manufacturers are finally figuring this out, especially Lamborghini with the Urus, review definitely coming soon. 0 to 60 clocks in at 3.1 seconds, the car will accelerate to a top speed of 203 mph. My readers are used to these numbers, but keep in mind for a second that this 600+ HP beast isn’t a performance McLaren, yet beats…
The Audi R8, Audi RS 7 Performance, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Jaguar F Type SVR, even the daddy McLaren F1 to 60 MPH. Woking’s tamest…
The transmission is unconfirmed, but I’d be shocked to not see a 7 – speed DCT, most likely taken from, you guessed it, the 720S. The 3384 lb curb weight, is by miles, the class leader; GT cars usually sacrifice weight in order to ensure optimal comfort, but I don’t see this car as a true McLaren if it isn’t feathers. The Bentley Continental GT, widely considered by many (including myself) to be one of the best in this segment, is a good 2000 lbs more. One of the most shocking specs was its length of 15 ft, the second longest McLaren ever made behind the Speedtail.
So we’ve got performance figures and specifications around the 570S, which for a GT, are absolutely incredible. But how on Earth will this thing drive? I mean, that’s the point of a GT, it’s the modern day alternative to air travel. No one has actually driven it yet, but we can make a few inferences.
So as noted before, the driving dynamics of the GT were based on stability and comfort, hard performance driving is not expected to be a strong suit of this car. I say this, but knowing McLaren, it’s still going to murder on the track. As I said in the Speedtail article, it’s finally nice to see automakers build a car for where it will spend most of its time, the road. It’s nice to post a decent Nurburgring time, but what does that mean to the consumer who just wants something comfortable and luxurious for a commute?
The factor setting the GT apart from all other McLarens, according to Engineers, is its suspension setup. Stereoscopic cameras and sensors are able to read the road ahead, priming the suspension through altering the spring rate in as fast as 2 milliseconds. To put that into perspective, in the time it takes to blink your eye, the GT is able to alter its suspension a whopping 150 times. And you thought you were getting stuff done today… The 720S was known for its amazing suspension behavior in non – performance modes, and Engineers say the difference between it and the GT’s ride is like night and day. In typical McLaren fashion, we have dials to alter the handling and performance of the vehicle in 3 stages; Normal, performance, and track.
With a carbon monocoque, stability is expected to be amazing in this vehicle, but without a true drive, it’s very hard to tell. A slightly more elevated body compared to the 720S also allows for better suspension travel, which in turn helps mitigate bumps. It also makes the car slightly easier to ingress and egress, and definitely alleviates any scraping of the underbody that many supercar owners have grown to expect.
So it’s a lot lighter than your typical GT, rides extremely well according to Engineers, but one of the most important characteristics of a GT is its level of luxury. Let’s talk design.
The front and rear ends show the new language we’ve grown to love in the Speedtail, with slightly less aggressive headlights, and the LED strip taillights. Lines are much softer, but still McLaren, and a LOT of 720S. We’ve got very large intakes, nothing near as aggressive as its brother thankfully, the styling has to be toned down for a GT. As I said in my Veyron review a while back, the most luxurious aspect of anything lies in its simplicity. These beautiful 15 spoke wheels are optional, I honestly don’t think anyone does a better job with the spokes than McLaren, and they’ll forever be my favorite type of wheel. We’ve got butterfly doors, which aren’t GT at all, but this is a McLaren at the end of the day, it’s got to have a dash of flare. The integrated ducktail spoiler is a nice touch, while the mufflers and diffuser are situated in a way to prevent the driver from burning their legs upon opening the rear, apparently a huge problem in the 720S…
It’s a neat little package, and honestly what I expect McLaren’s take on GT exterior styling would be. GT cars should be able to hold quite a lot of luggage, they’re the continent crossers, the pioneers out for adventure, at least until you get to the hotel. McLaren took this heavily into consideration, offering trunks in both the rear and front of the car. The engine sits below the trunk, and don’t worry, it’s pretty much impossible to see it on any McLaren without help from the dealership.
The rear trunk offers 14.8 cubic in of space, a figure surprisingly shared by the Toyota Camry, definitely going to try and drive one for a review. Storage is pretty decent, but I noticed that vision is heavily impaired in the rear when the trunk is fully loaded. One bag of golf clubs, however, fits snugly, no vision hindrance whatsoever. The trunk also can be optioned with something McLaren calls “super fabric”, able to resist stains, scratches, you name it. Oh, it’s also fully power operated, and offers a soft close suction feature, for those lazy rich people. The front trunk comes in at 12.1 cubic in, surprise, just like the 720S. It’s not the best storage wise, but definitely fits a small suitcase or two in there, perfect for a grocery run.
So the ride’s pretty nice, there’s tons of space for the bags, but a true GT must have luxury! Have a look inside of this bad boy…
Would you drive around in this for 6 hours? I don’t know, that’s a long time to be driving, but let’s just go with yes for now. It’s so simple, yet nothing feels left out, when will automakers get on this button wave? It frees up so much space in the car and gives it such a clean look. We’ve got a lot of aluminum accenting in the cabin, and a McLaren first, on the shift paddles! This definitely gives them a much more expensive feel compared to whatever composite they were using before, I love that icy haptic sensation any air – conditioned metal produces. The seats have quite a bit of extra padding, but I’m sure it’s no Rolls Royce or Lexus. We’ve obviously got a digital dash, the software looks different, I’ll have to look into that. The infotainment has been confirmed to be completely new; It’s got a layout similar to a mobile phone and is claimed by McLaren to be 5 times faster than the old software. You already know what I’m going to say… It’s no iDrive, and it probably never will be, keep killing the game BMW.
6 color ambient lighting flanks the cabin, excellent for altering or matching your current mood. Like the 720S and Senna, we’ve got glass all around this cockpit, producing more of a dome than a car feeling. The benefit to this? Visibility in all directions is absolutely incredible, which can definitely make up for having the rear visibility hindered by luggage, now that I think about it. We’ve got a 5 stage electrochroamatic sunroof, which runs a current through the glass to change its opacity, I’m surprised this didn’t get the Speedtail treatment, eliminating the visors as well. We’ve got a 12 speaker Bowers and Wilkens audio system; It’s one of the best on the market, but let’s be real, if you buy a car for $200K, any audio system included is going to be out of this world.
So what McLaren has done here is redefine the GT, and I’m honestly a big fan. Sure, it’s not as much of a yacht as the Bentley, definitely not as exclusive as a Wraith, and it definitely doesn’t have the sounds of that Aston Martin AMG partnership, and that’s OK. This car is like the X6; There’s a point in time where someone has to go out on a limb and go for something different without fear of reception of repercussion. I’m not afraid to say that I’m not fully convinced yet, I need to see how it drives, that’s the true mark of a GT. However, McLaren did make the Speedtail, and I’m sure they’re far from finished. Wait till they release the SUV.