Grand touring is a unique pleasure that many enjoy, but few will get to experience it at the hands of this incredible engineering marvel. Taking cross-country driving to the next level, the McLaren GT does not hold back. Pack your bags and prepare to experience true pleasure.
With many international forms of transportation remaining unpredictable, there’s no better time to take to the road and explore at your own pace. If that pace happens to be exhilaratingly swift, then there’s only one car for the job.
McLaren’s striking GT achieves something no other has yet managed. An outright supercar in its own right – boasting a substantial 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 packing an impressive 612 bhp and 630 Nm of torque – the McLaren GT will accelerate from standing in just 3.2 seconds and reach over 200 mph (when the international road legally allows of course). But that’s merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this cars impressive catalogue of facts and figures and they’re not just related to its supercar status, some you would even expect from a family hatchback.
In developing the GT, McLaren were obviously keen to maintain the level of performance owners and potential buyers have come to expect from the marque and the results do not disappoint. Utilising their well established carbon fibre monocoque know-how which was pioneered in motorsport all the way back in 1981, the engineers have managed to develop a passenger cell unique in the Grand Touring segment. The bespoke MonoCell II-T monocoque – the T denoting ‘Touring’ – provides not only exceptional strength and rigidity, but offers increased interior space and a level of refinement beyond that of any previous model.
On first appearances you will notice the incredibly long body, which is actually longer than any other in either the Sports or Super Series model lines, stretching to a length of 4.7 metres. This includes extended overhang on both the front and rear longer than is usual on a McLaren. You might think as a result that this is therefore not suited to life on the more urban road, but you would be very much mistaken. Thanks to more clever engineering, the car features a 10-degree approach angle (which increases to 13-degrees when vehicle lift is engaged) and underbody clearance of 110mm (130mm with vehicle lift) which is actually comparative to many mainstream saloons. So those traffic calming measures you will undoubtedly come across on your travels won’t pose any problems at all.
When it comes to the design, the length of the car has been cleverly used to accentuate certain features while others have been designed to create an aesthetic that doesn’t appear out of proportion. The vast rear end could quite easily have posed a problem yet the team at McLaren have managed to craft an extended carbon fibre upper structure which combines with the monocoque cell to create a car-wide architecture that allows the engine and exhaust to sit as low as possible to the ground, not only improving the centre of gravity and consequently the cars agility, but also providing the necessary space between the engine and the fully glazed tailgate to offer a surprisingly large amount of luggage space.
Boasting a whopping 420 litres of stowage with a golf bag or two pairs of 185cm skis and boots or a snowboard as well as luggage able to be carried with ease, this rear luggage space is a real game-changer. With a further 150 litres of space at the front big enough to stow two overnight bags comfortably means the McLaren GT can accommodate a segment-leading total of 570 litres and removes the usual restrictions you find in a car with this level of performance.
In order to ensure your luggage doesn’t experience the full force of the heat from the engine directly below, the clever people at McLaren have also developed an impressive ‘barrier’ which measures around only an inch in depth, but dramatically reduces the temperature between the source and your belongings. Furthermore, this futuristic material also does an excellent job at reducing engine and road noise in the cabin supporting the GT’s refinement credentials.
The elegant interior of the McLaren GT with exceptional levels of attention paid to the quality of materials and occupant comfort is a space designed for uninterrupted pleasure on longer journeys. Comfort seats fitted as standard are unique to the McLaren GT and have been optimised for long distance comfort, with the perfect amount of padding and providing shoulder and back support in combination with superb lateral control to ensure a perfect driving position. The Comfort seats are upholstered in authentic hand-stitched Carbon Black Nappa leather and complemented by Carbon Black Nappa leather for the steering wheel, leather door inserts, with black stitching and carpets.
Delicate, organic curves sweep across the instrument panel and into the doors, shrink-wrapping around the audio speakers and floating central touchscreen. Technology and modern craftsmanship share equal prominence, the finest high-quality materials are complemented by features such as the most sophisticated McLaren infotainment system to date, hidden-until-lit ambient lighting and the option of an electrochromic glazed panel that darkens or lightens at the touch of a button in lieu of the standard carbon fibre composite gloss black roof. Machined and knurled aluminium switches and controls contrast with Satin Black surrounds for the infotainment screen, steering wheel clasp, window switches, gear-selection console and air vent housings, with further decorative elements finished in Satin Silver. A 12-speaker, Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system, featuring carbon fibre sub-bass woofers and Kevlar mid-range drive units, is also available to enjoy some serious road tunes on your journey.
It would be easy to forget this cars performance capabilities when you step inside and take it for a gentle drive to the shops. The comfortable interior combined with the silky smooth 7-speed SSG dual-clutch transmission and incredible suspension setup deliver an adaptive driving experience that will take you from around town to the open road seamlessly.
“Designed for distance, it provides the comfort and space expected of a Grand Tourer, but with a level of agility never experienced before in this segment.”
Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive
The suspension is one of this cars most important features and is instrumental in providing that any-road capability. Lightweight aluminium, double-wishbone suspension front and rear with bespoke anti-roll bars is paired with continuously variable, twin-valve hydraulic dampers that feature individual compression and rebound characteristics that reflect the increased ride height of the McLaren GT compared with other McLaren vehicles. The incredibly stiff MonoCell II-T carbon fibre structure is essential in facilitating the reduced spring rates that provide enhanced comfort levels with no detriment on dynamic performance.
Proactive Damping Control, a technology unique to this model – governed by the most sophisticated iteration yet of the pioneering Optimal Control Theory software algorithm first developed for the McLaren 720S – is a state-of-the-art system which uses inputs from sensors to ‘read’ the road, learning from previous scenarios to interpret what will likely happen next and reacting predictively in just two milliseconds to dictate damper responses.
This is a serious piece of automotive engineering. Whichever way you look at it, you will struggle to find fault. From performance to comfort, usability to aesthetics, there are very few reasons not to consider the McLaren GT when you’re looking for your next continent conquering car. The refinement they have managed to achieve whilst delivering this comfort and performance combination is something to behold and will undoubtedly stir competitors into upping their game.