McLaren’s GT is here, ready to haul more stuff faster

McLaren GT front 3/4

After teasing it for the past few months, McLaren has finally taken the wraps off its new grand touring supercar, appropriately named the McLaren GT. McLaren says that this car has all of the comfort and long-distance driving ability associated with grand tourers while achieving McLaren levels of light weight, speed, and handling, redefining what a GT is.

In general, McLarens are considered by many to be more comfortable for daily driving than other exotic brands, but McLaren says that the GT is its most practical car yet. To that point, the GT has 20 cubic feet of cargo space between the front trunk and rear hatch. A full-size golf bag or a pair of skis can fit in the cargo area on top of the mid-mounted engine.

Positioned independently of McLaren's Sport, Super, and Ultimate lineup hierarchy, the McLaren GT will feature a new version of the company’s twin-turbocharged V-8, with displacement increased from 3.8 to a round 4.0 liters. The new engine, designated M840TE, puts its 612 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a paddle-shifted seven-speed SSG transmission. At a claimed 3232 pounds, hundreds of pounds lighter than competing grand tourers, that gives the GT a power-to-weight ratio of almost 400 hp per ton. With assistance from launch control, the 0–60 mph time is 3.1 seconds and the top speed is 203 mph.

The suspension system, steering, and brakes are unique to the GT, providing McLaren's famed driving dynamics with a more comfortable ride than on any of the firm's other cars.

McLaren GT front
McLaren GT rear badge
McLaren GT rear 3/4
McLaren

Double wishbones at all four corners are dampened by hydraulic shock absorbers with Proactive Damping Control, a system that uses sensors to detect and predict road conditions, with a reaction time of just two milliseconds. The system is also used to keep body movement in the comfort zone as well as keeping the tires on the road.

McLaren continues to reject electrically-assisted steering and the GT's hydraulic steering assist has been calibrated for less effort in urban driving and for parking while retaining appropriate driver feedback at speed. Pirelli has developed a special series of its P Zero tire for the GT to provide for more comfort while retaining grip. Those Pirellis are mounted to staggered wheels, 20 inches in front, and 21 in the back, the largest ever fitted on a factory McLaren. Pedal effort for the brakes has also been recalibrated for easier braking at lower speeds.

Unlike the MonoCell in the McLaren Senna, which has been optimized to amplify mechanical sounds, the GT's structure dampens those noises.

It's hard to find a negative review of a McLaren product, but the firm has been criticized for its interiors and infotainment systems for lacking the refinement one would expect from the six-figure prices. For the GT, McLaren has raised its interior game. Standard Nappa leather trimmed seats, specific to the GT, are electrically adjustable and heated, with revised shoulder and back supports. Other upholstery options are Alcantara, soft-grain luxury leather, and later this year McLaren will offer a cashmere leather interior, which it says is a first for a series production car. A 12-speaker premium audio system from Bowers & Wilkins, with carbon-fiber sub-woofers and Kevlar midrange drivers, is also available.

McLaren GT interior
McLaren

The McLaren GT will have the company's “most sophisticated” infotainment system yet, including industry-standard HERE® navigation mapping and real-time traffic information. The seven-inch central touch screen is claimed to be among the fastest responding in the industry, which would be a major improvement over previous McLaren systems. The driver gets a 12.3-inch TFT digital display, with graphics inspired by aeronautics. The GT's optional backup camera's view is shown on that screen. Dual-zone climate control is standard, as are satellite radio and navigation.

In terms of exterior design, the aluminum-bodied GT retains familiar McLaren styling cues, like the huge side air intakes for engine cooling and muscular haunches, but this is a longform McLaren, with sweeping lines extending from front to back. At more than 180 inches overall length, the GT stretches more than any of the Sport or Super series McLarens. While it has longer overhangs than other McLaren cars, the 10-degree front approach angle and 4.3 inches of road clearance should be sufficient to cope with speed bumps and the like. For steep driveway aprons or particularly rough roads, the standard vehicle lift system increases the approach angle to 13 degrees and raises the car by 0.8 inches, giving it the ground clearance of most sedans.

A gloss black carbon-fiber roof panel is standard with an electrochromatically-dimmed glass roof as an option. Of course, the GT features McLaren's signature dihedral doors that swing open and up. In back, up top there is a fixed spoiler, integrated into the bodywork, and below there is a large aerodynamic diffuser.

Orders begin immediately, with a price starting at $210,000 and deliveries expected to start by the end of this year.