Mid-engined, high-performance supercars are perhaps most frequently criticised for their lack of practicality and unfeasibility as a long-range tourer. The counter-argument is, of course, a vehicle that has been precision engineered for carving corners at physics-defying speeds and accelerating with the same baffling pace is not intended for the daily commute or freeway cruising. But what if you could have it all?
McLaren says it has an offering that comes close. Nestled in its Sports Series (the Super Series is even more performance-focused with the prices to match, and let’s not even talk about the Ultimate Series) the 570GT takes the underpinnings of the 570S but adds a number of modifications for ‘superior levels of comfort and refinement on longer journeys’.
Read next: 2018 McLaren 570S Spider review
Kicking off from $415,000 before you get stuck into the very tempting options list, the 570GT is $20,000 more than its 570S sibling and a full $65,000 on top of the most affordable McLaren – the 540C. Here’s what that extra cash gets you.
Check-in and carry-on luggage
What’s the point of a hugely enjoyable sportscar if you can’t take it for a weekend away and you’re limited to those roads only within reach of a daytrip? Using the Jaguar F-Type convertible and Alpine A110 as examples, some sports models are so focused on performance that they forget to provide enough luggage space for even a pair of overnight bags.
Not the 570GT, though. By fully covering the engine and opening up the bulkhead behind the passenger space, McLaren has found another 220 litres of luggage volume. Accessing the load area is easy through a new side-opening glass hatch which is simpler and more elegant than the vents and panels over the 570S’ engine.
Performance review: 2017 McLaren 570S Spider review
That's in addition to the deep storage bin in the McLaren’s nose, too, so there’s plenty of room for a weekend trip away.
When McLaren introduced the GT, it used the opportunity to launch a new electrochromic roof. Unlike conventional sunroofs that use a blind to mask out the sun when it’s at its most fierce, McLaren’s solution is typically technological and cool.
At the touch of a solid-state switch, the glass roof goes from perfectly clear to a deep tinted blue that cuts out almost all light on bright days. There are three other settings in between so you can get your cabin ambience just right, night or day.
The different roof also slightly increases the overall height adding more head-room for taller drivers and creating a profile that’s unique in the Sports Series range.
As part of the long-range repurposing, McLaren re-tuned the 570GT’s suspension to preserve as much driving enjoyment but with a more cosseting ride. While no McLaren will ever brag the magic carpet waft of a Citroen, the GT is certainly a softer offering over its S stablemate, especially at low speed on poorly maintained surfaces.
Along with the extra load space, the extra insulation over the engine has cut interior noise, too. You still get a wonderful report from the twin-turbocharged V8’s exhausts but less mechanical noise makes its way into the cabin from the engine bay.
It even rolls on Pirelli tyres that were specially developed to be more comfortable and produce less road noise.
A McLaren of any series is an uncommon sight on our roads and that’s an element of the brand that attracts many customers. If you’re after exclusive, then the 570GT offers an even more niche variant within an already niche model line-up from a niche manufacturer.
Worth the weight
With the extra glass and insulation, the 570GT weighs 55kg more than the 570S. That cuts the 0-100km/h acceleration time by a mere 0.2 seconds, and being able to hit 100k/h in just 3.4 seconds still feels very quick – because it is.
Opt for the GT and you’ll be getting a McLaren that looks, steers, sounds and goes like a McLaren but that is, indeed a little easier to take away for the weekend. Unless you put the 570GT next to its marginally more athletic S sibling on the track, you would never know there’s a performance compromise.