THE NEW MCLAREN GT TAKES AIM AT THE BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT
Fair warning to the likes of the Bentley Continental GT, there's a new stud in town, its name is McLaren GT, and it's not here to play games.
The new McLaren GT is a continent-crossing powerhouse and wants to leave the likes of the Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin DB11 in its dust. How? You ask? Easy, give it lots of horses under the bonnet, make it lighter and more dynamic, and then offer up loads of packing space.
Unlike its McLaren siblings in the Sports, Super and Ultimate Series stables, the GT is officially classified as a Grand Tourer, the very first one for the British marque, in fact. This is a sports car whose focus is on refinement and practicality, with a sprinkling of excitement thrown in.
While it shares much of its DNA with the 570S, especially inside, its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 powerplant is courtesy of the flagship 720S. As this is a GT, the engine is mid-mounted and detuned, pushing out 612bhp and 630Nm of torque through a seven-speed, twin-clutch gearbox to the rear wheels.
McLaren's on-paper figures of 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds, 0-124 in nine and on to a top speed of 203mph suggest it'll still get your adrenaline pumping.
The ride has been tinkered with and offers three modes to choose from. The engine is attached to the chassis with mounts that are half as stiff as those used in the 600LT.
In Comfort mode, McLaren's proactive adaptive damping system monitors the road ahead, priming the suspension to offer the smoothest ride possible.
Sport and Track modes stiffen things up progressively more for when the road demands you push on with vigour, but it's not really what the GT is all about. It is good to know it's there if you need it though...
A hydraulic lift system for the suspension is available to raise the ride height from 110mm to 130mm, which is in saloon car territory, says McLaren. The braking and steering systems, which recalibrate according to the environment, make the car easier to pilot around town.
The GT uses a carbon fibre ‘MonoCell’ monocoque tub, like Mclaren's other models, and helps keeps weight down to just 1,530kg. The glass tailgate opens up to reveal storage space of 420-litres, large enough for golf clubs or two pairs of 185cm skis. Out front, you'll find a cubby that'll easily hold a couple of weekend bags, helping this GT to swallow a combined 570 litres of luggage.
Pour over the skin and you'll easily recognise this as a McLaren, with its evolutionary front end housing slim headlights like those of the Speedtail hypercar. Its chunky rear is exaggerated by using a body-coloured rear fascia and ultra slim LED tail lights.
It's the middle of the car that makes it really stand out as a Grand Tourer, featuring a large glasshouse and long, relatively narrow rear window bracketed by large side vents ahead of the rear wheels that feed air into the engine.
The cabin is similar to the 570S that features a vertical seven-inch infotainment screen with McLaren's real-time traffic info and mapping data system. A Bowers and Wilkins sound system pumps audio through 12-speakers and the pair of electrically adjustable, heated seats are offered in either leather, Alcantara or cashmere to match your loafers.
You can pop on down to your local McLaren dealership to put in your order for one of these beautiful machines. The GT starts at £163,000 and deliveries are to start in late 2019.