If you had to choose just one car that could lug your skis and a bag full of clothes and blast across the country comfortably at speeds of up to 326km/h, it’s unlikely you’d think of grabbing the keys to a McLaren.
In fact, it would be physically impossible. Until now.
McLaren has confirmed the car that we all knew was coming, the GT.
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It is the first Grand Tourer to come out of Woking, and McLaren proudly refers to its long, sleek creation as a ‘super lightweight.’
Built on a chassis derived from the carbonfibre frame used in its track-focused lineup called MonoCell II-T – the T denoting ‘Touring’ - the aluminium clad supercar records just a 1530kg kerb weight which is at least 130kg lighter than any GT rivals; cars like the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera and Ferrari 812 Superfast.
Born with DNA from McLaren’s stunning Longtail, the GT sits almost 4700mm long with a 2675mm wheelbase that is tailored toward comfort rather than outright performance. The 15- or 7-spoke alloy wheels are the largest ever fitted to a McLaren, measuring 21-inches at the rear and 20-inch in diameter at the front, and come wrapped in specially formulated Pirelli P Zero rubber.
The fourth new vehicle to arrive in McLaren’s Track25 business plan, the GT joins the existing Sports, Super and Ultimate Series lineups. Wanting to create something unique, and distinctly McLaren tasting, the British company says the GT is “lighter, faster, more engaging and more usable than a traditional Gran Tourer.” With 570-litres of cargo space, it is indeed one of the most practical supercars in existence.
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The new chassis structure incorporates an upper carbonfibre rear cradle which provides a 420-litre luggage bay above the low-mounted V8 engine. Long enough to swallow skis, golf clubs and bags, it is a truly flexible Grand Tourer. The rear glazed tailgate is front-hinged for unhindered access and available electrically powered. Despite being out of sight, the boot is finished with the same detail you find in the cabin, incorporating a new mixed-material SuperFabric that is both luxurious yet resistant to stains and wear.
While touted as a “new McLaren for a new audience,” it retains many hallmarks of the brand’s supercars; namely, a thumping V8 engine with pounding performance figures. Powered by a new derivative of McLaren’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 labeled the M840TE (itself based on a Nissan racing engine), the mill develops 456kW and 630Nm at 5500-6500rpm. Between 3000-7250rpm it produces 95 percent of its torque output, or almost 600Nm, through the seven-speed automatic. McLaren says the engine produces ‘relentless acceleration’, and the performance figures prove as much; 0-100km/h in 3.4sec, 0-200km/h in just 9.0sec and a top speed of 326km/h - presumably appreciated for touring types when the ski shop down the hill is about to close.
“The new McLaren GT combines competition levels of performance with continent-crossing capability, wrapped in a beautiful body and true to McLaren’s ethos of designing superlight cars with a clear weight advantage over rivals,” said CEO, Mike Flewitt.
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“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. In short, this is a car that redefines the notion of a Grand Tourer in a way that only a McLaren could.”
Despite a 0-200km/h sprint in under 10 seconds, it’s a plush cruiser. In fact, McLaren claims that in comfort mode it is its most refined car ever. Engine mounts used for the GT are half the stiffness of that used in the 600LT, which reduces noise inside the GT’s cabin, but point to a slightly less aggressive dynamic nature.
Aluminium double wishbone suspension is connected to a new Proactive Damping Control system which uses hydraulic dampers calibrated to three different settings - comfort, sport and track. Ground clearance is a ‘tall’ 110mm, or up to 130mm with optional electric lift, and the approach and departure angles have been designed so that speed humps don’t need to be tackled from obtuse angles.
Dihedral doors swing towards the sky and reveal a more refined and luxurious cabin than you’d expect to see inside a McLaren. The seats are covered as standard with Nappa leather, and only get better (and more expensive) from there, with fine grain leather, Alcantara, and Cashmere cladding on the options list. Details such as the knobs and dials are made from machined and knurled aluminium, including steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and the 12-speaker sound system is produced by Bowers & Wilkins, including lightweight carbonfibre subwoofers. The infotainment is ‘McLaren’s most sophisticated yet’, consisting of a 7.0-inch infotainment system with HERE navigation and live traffic updates. For sky gazers, the solid roof can be optioned to fit a large electrochromatic glazed ceiling.
The McLaren GT is available to order now with deliveries from late-2019. No local pricing has been announced yet but it starts in the UK from £163,000.