Going the distance: McLaren

As McLaren enters the world of Grand Touring, its new superlight GT model brings performance and comfort while retaining McLaren's innovative design ethos

Motoring 16 Dec 2019

The McLaren GT can reach 60mph in under 3.2 seconds.
The new GT model has been cleverly designed to optimise storage space when travelling.

In its short but illustrious history of making road cars, McLaren has largely followed a familiar recipe: creating very powerful, surgically accurate sports cars whose job it is to stir the soul on quick, exciting journeys. The marque has now decided to step into the comfortable and stately world of Grand Touring. Of course, with McLaren’s focus on lightness and sharp driving pleasure, it merges beauty with functionality to create not only a new type of McLaren, but also a cuttingedge interpretation of a Grand Tourer designed for a contemporary era.

The GT has a beautiful, sculpted, lightweight aluminium body with elegant lines referencing classic Grand Touring cars while staying true to McLaren’s contemporary design ethos. It delivers all the classic Grand Tourer levels of performance and continent-crossing capability, but is lighter, faster, more engaging and usable for everyday than traditional rivals. The GT also moves away from the normal formula and unusually puts the engine behind the cab instead of up front, as is the norm with the sector.

But, wait, you ask, where do you put all of your stuff when you go on these epic adventures? The 4.0 V8 twin-turbo engine does indeed sit in the middle, as it does in every McLaren, but it has been dropped out of sight and 120mm closer to the floor. This frees up crucial space behind the two seats under the glass canopy. This, combined with the front storage, allows a generous 570 litres of stowage. The vast glazed tailgate is powered and after gracefully rising it reveals a class-leading amount of space that’s easily accessible and large enough for skis, golf clubs, and a decent amount of luggage. Clever touches include positioning the exhausts out wider to the edges of the car, so you can load the rear without overly warming your shins.

All of this practicality is complemented by the attention to detail inside the teardrop-shaped cabin, which stretches back to encompass the rear luggage area, luxuriously designed for comfort during long-distance driving. The clean minimalist style of McLaren is still in evidence, but delivered with opulent materials. The refined five-star interior, which epitomises elegance and sophistication, is a fusion of technology and modern craftsmanship. It features the highestquality materials, including fine leather hides, cashmere cloth options and bespoke colourways, with ambient lighting and McLaren’s most advanced infotainment system, plus a premium audio system by Bowers & Wilkins. It is all designed to cosset.

Everything you touch in the act of driving, including the machined metal gear paddles, has a premium, sumptuous feel, and practicality continues with cleverly designed touches, such as cup holders and cubbyholes.

Start the engine – the sound also sets it apart, with more bass refinement – and you experience the efficiency crucial for a Grand Tourer, making for a relaxing long drive with just enough of a reminder of the power you have on tap. With over 500 horsepower, you can achieve 60mph in under 3.2 seconds and get over 200mph very quickly indeed. And the Wokingbuilt car has a distinct ace up its elegant sleeve: it is much lighter than other Grand Tourers in its class and the central position of the engine gives it a racier feel with outstanding ride comfort.

This superlight McLaren GT challenges the conventions of the Grand Tourer class with muscular performance, all-round elegant refinement and the pampering of highest spec cabin comfort.

From £163,000; cars.mclaren.com