McLaren has expanded their product range with the introduction of their first-ever Grand Tourer. Announced in May, the McLaren GT is an all-new model that will sit apart from the brand’s existing Sports, Super and Ultimate Series families, but will feature familiar McLaren styling and engineering.
“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 Mike Flewitt, CEO McLaren Automotive
“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 McLaren could.”
Overall styling on the GT is recognisably McLaren, although less extreme than the existing 570 and 720 models, with large air intakes on the flanks as part of an exaggerated hip section over the rear wheels, a glass ‘tailgate’ and less aggressive treatment of elements like the front splitter and rear diffuser.
Wheels are 21-inch at the rear and 20-inch at the front, available in two different spoke designs and fitted with specially-developed Pirelli P ZERO tyres.
The GT made its official debut at the Top Marques Monaco supercar show that runs on the same weekend as the Monte Carlo F1 Grand Prix
McLaren describes the Grand Touring category as an expanding market segment, adding that their GT is an all-new interpretation of that category.
Longer than any modern McLaren at 4.7 metres, the GT also features longer front and rear overhangs to improve cabin room and comes with 110mm of underbody clearance as standard which can be electrically raised to 130mm to better handle gutters and other environments. Engine mounts are softer to reduce noise transmission into the cabin, with low-frequency sounds from the car’s carbon fibre structure reduced, too.
While the McLaren press release doesn’t specifically say so, the GT is targeting Aston Martin, specifically that company’s DB11. McLaren says the full carbon fibre body and shell of the GT gives it a kerb weight of 1,530kg – around 130kg lighter than the Aston DB11 and “literally hundreds of kilograms less than other cars in the segment”. Those other cars would include traditional GTs, like the Maserati Quattroporte and Bentley’s Continental.
The GT’s carbon fibre monocoque is unique to the model – the ‘T’ in the MonoCell II-T structure denotes ‘Touring’ – and incorporates an additional carbon fibre structure at the rear that allows for luggage to be stored above the engine and transaxle.
This 420-litre luggage space is said to be large enough to carry golf clubs or skis and related gear, and is accessible via a full-glass tailgate that is manually operated, but can be electrically-powered as an extra-cost option. Also optional is a lining for the main luggage area in ‘Super Fabric’ material that resists stains and damage, while being easy to clean.
The rear luggage space is combined with 150 litres of front storage space for a total carrying capacity of 570 litres.
Giving a greater impression of room in the cabin (and improving rearward vision), the GT has rear quarter windows and the C-pillars are glazed, too. McLaren’s signature dihedral doors remain, but the door openings are said to be wider and the sills lower for easier entry.
Inside the GT’s cabin, the seats are unique to the model, with heating and power adjustability, as well as more padding, more shoulder and more back support than typical McLaren sports seats, but retaining what’s said to be effective lateral control. Nappa leather trim is standard, but other leathers and Alcantara will be optional, with cashmere wool to be available, too: something McLaren are claiming as a production car first.
Other in-cabin features include machined and knurled aluminium switchgear and controls, ambient lighting, dual zone climate control air conditioning, gloss black console and dash trim, and a 12.3-inch TFT digital instrument display that McLaren says has been influenced by aircraft, while options include an electrochromatic glazed roof and a 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system.
The infotainment system is said to be the most sophisticated ever offered in a McLaren, with standard HERE satnav with real-time traffic recognition accessible through the 7.0-inch touchscreen, as well as Bluetooth, media streaming, voice activation and digital radio. Heating and ventilation are also controlled via the touchscreen instead of traditional tactile switches.
Turn-by-turn navigation controls and phone functions can also be displayed on the TFT instrument screen
Familiar Power, Softer Ride
Driving the GT is McLaren’s familiar 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, but in a different state of tune, matched to a 7-speed SSG transmission.
Designated M840TE, the mid-mounted engine delivers claimed maximums of 456kW at 7,500 rpm and 465Nm at 5,550-6,500 rpm, while more than 95 per cent of the torque is available from 3,000 to 7,250 rpm.
With standard launch control, 0-100km/h is achieved in 3.2 seconds and 0-200km/h in 9.0 seconds, with a top speed of 326km/h. Selectable driving modes of Comfort, Sport and Track are standard.
While performance is strong, the handling and braking has been retuned to “provide an outstanding Grand Touring driving experience” and is unique to the model.
Softer overall suspension settings are part of a Proactive Damping Control system that uses Optimal Control Theory software, previously developed for the 720S, and sensors that read the road ahead and predictively adjust suspension settings in milliseconds.
The suspension settings are also influenced by the selected driving mode, as is the power-assisted electro-hydraulic steering, which has been ‘mapped’ for each mode, adjusting feel and response to suit, while also adding increased assistance at low speeds for easier parking and low-speed manoeuvring.
While the McLaren GT is available to order now, the first customer deliveries aren’t expected until the end of this year, with Australian availability likely to be sometime in 2020.
UK market pricing of £163,000 means Australian-delivered GTs will likely cost somewhere in the region of $400,000.