Comfortable, practical, and goes like hell.
McLaren began as a racing team back in 1963 and quickly rose through the ranks to become the second most successful Formula One team in history behind only Ferrari. The UK automaker later built road cars, each of which possesses the same magic that helped breed success in F1. McLaren is passionate about creating the best-driving vehicles possible, which is why the company has promised it will never build an SUV. Too bad we can't say the same of Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Lamborghini.
McLaren recognizes that supercars aren't just purchased to sit on pedestals in spotless garages anymore. People want to drive these cars around and even get groceries in them from time to time. Perhaps that's why it built a new type of supercar, called simply, the McLaren GT.
McLaren promises that this new model is practical enough to use every day and to prove it, it sent us a lovely Ludus Blue example to drive for a few days. Here's what we love about it, and a few things we might change.
Supercars tend to look audacious, but the GT is more restrained. It lacks the massive scoops and spoilers of its siblings for a subtle, smooth exterior design. Of course, as a low-slung mid-engine supercar, the GT still attracts attention. But if you order it in a low-key color like black or silver, it could almost sneak under the radar without detection. In a shade like our tester's MSO Ludus Blue, you'll be an object of desire at Cars & Coffee events.
We don't think the GT is McLaren's prettiest car, especially from the front where the squared-off front end looks a bit plain to our eyes. But from the back, we love the minimal taillight design with two tiny LED strips, illuminating like a pair of evil eyes in a dark cave.
Most McLaren models have a minimalist interior that emphasizes driving. For the GT, McLaren crafted its most comfortable and luxurious cabin ever. Our Luxe specification tester included a Porceline Leather, which looks elegant and feels supple to the touch. Through the McLaren Special Operations department, you can also opt for a special Cashmere interior. Once you hop past the dihedral doors, the GT feels like a comfortable place to spend time. The seats aren't cushy, but they are contoured perfectly and hug you in place.
Like other McLarens, the GT's cabin is airy, especially with the optional electrochromic roof that becomes clear or opaque at the press of a button. Road noise is less pronounced than other McLaren models, and with the Bowers & Wilkins audio system blasting, the outside world completely fades away.
This might be the softest McLaren ever, but it hasn't lost the touch that makes these cars feel special. It still packs the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 used in the 720S, albeit with smaller turbos and a reduced 612 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque on tap. If you think that's not enough, just remember this car takes only 3.1 seconds to hit 60 mph, nine seconds to hit 124 mph, and 11 seconds to blow through the quarter-mile.
Not only is it fast, but it also handles well too. Body roll is kept to an absolute minimum thanks to the independent adaptive dampers. As for the steering, McLaren's hydraulic unit is among the most accurate and communicative out there, giving the driver a perfect feel of the road.
Once you are done blasting down your favorite back road, the McLaren GT morphs back into a civilized cruiser. Those adaptive dampers soak up all but the harshest impacts, and minor bumps barely upset the car at all. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which changes gears like a race car when configured in track mode, feels smoother than a CVT in its most relaxed comfort mode. For long-distance trips, the GT is the ultimate McLaren and possibly the ultimate mid-engine supercar.
It's no SUV, but the McLaren GT has more storage space than any mid-engined supercar before it. The front trunk area houses a useful 5.3 cubic feet, which is great for items like a suitcase. For longer items, the rear canopy area holds 14.8 cubic feet, making it perfect for golf clubs. Even though it sits on top of the engine, the rear area stays cool using a futuristic material called SuperFabric, which is also water-resistant.
With over 20 cubic of space between the front and rear trunks, the McLaren GT offers more storage than an Aston Martin DB11 or Bentley Continental GT. It is worth noting, though, that the storage areas both seem specifically tailored for certain items, so they may not fit less commonly used items that you might need to throw in there.
The GT misses just a few features that could make it easier to live with on a daily basis. The front end nose lift is a must-have option so you don't scape the car over steep curbs, but we'd like to see a front-facing camera or surround-view camera system to aid with parking maneuvers. We enjoyed sitting in the base seats during spirited driving, but for cross-country journeys, some softer chairs with ventilation and massage would be appreciated.
As-is though, the GT might be the best value in the current McLaren range. It's more livable than a 720S and starting at $210,000, it's much less expensive too. If you plan to drive your supercar often, and rarely on a race track, the GT is the McLaren to get.