2020 McLaren GT First Look Review: Grand Touring Redefined

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Who needs an SUV for luxury road trips?

McLaren is on a mission not only to be the best supercar and hypercar company in the world but also to establish credibility as a serious player in the luxury segment. This recently got underway with the ultra-exotic Speedtail hypercar and continues with the all-new 2020 McLaren GT. Part supercar, part Grand Tourer in the true English sense, the McLaren GT supercar shares some of its DNA with the Speedtail, such as its luxurious cabin and cargo space, but it also has its own unique personality owners will very much appreciate.

In many ways, consider the new GT as the SUV McLaren has gone on record numerous times saying it will never build. Prime competitors like Aston Martin and Lamborghini (and shortly Ferrari) are now in the SUV business but McLaren remains committed to mid-engined exotics. We wouldn't have it any other way. But unlike the rest of McLaren's existing lineup, the GT sits apart from the Sports, Super, and Ultimate Series, in a segment all of its own.

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Exterior Design: Eloquent, Exotic, And Traditional

The first thing you need to know about the McLaren GT's exterior design is its size. Measuring at over 15 feet long, the GT is one of McLaren's longest ever models and this was very much done on purpose. Unlike most other current McLarens, the GT is focused on absolute driver and passenger comfort. Sufficient luggage space was also a necessity.

But McLaren also wants owners to feel confident they can drive their GTs on some unfriendly road surfaces. To protect against scraping, underbody clearance is measured at 4.3 inches and lifts to 5.1 inches when the front lift is engaged. Its overall design is very much in line with McLaren current styling language and there are several traces of Speedtail throughout. The large side exhausts are essential on any mid-engined sports or supercar. Some may argue the GT's design is a bit conservative, especially when compared to the 720S. And that's just fine because McLaren has identified a certain set of buyers who don't mind traditional.

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An Interior Of Maximum Comfort

Being a grand tourer, comfort and luxury were given lots of additional attention in the GT. At the same time, however, the GT is meant to be driven. McLaren utilized its new MonoCell II-T monocoque which enables a total of 14.8 cubic feet of luggage space below the tailgate. This tailgate also has an electrically powered option. There's another 5.3 cubic feet of storage in the "frunk" for a grand total of 20.1 cubic feet of storage.

Driver and passenger will enjoy features including GT-only bespoke heated seats finished in Nappa leather or Alcantara. A Cashmere option, the first time ever offered in a production vehicle, will arrive later this year. McLaren interior designers also made sure to streamline the controls for improved functionality and general use over the Sport and Super Series models. The large touchscreen houses basic functions like the climate system and radio. Other vital interior goodies include an upgraded infotainment system, ambient lighting, a 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system complete with carbon fiber subwoofers, and even an optional glass roof. With the push of a button, it can remain clear or become opaque.

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Power And Performance

Don't let the McLaren GT's luxury indulgence fool you; it's also a true supercar. The proof is its power and performance specs. The mid-mounted 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 produces 612 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. All of that juice is directed to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Compared to the Super Series 720S, the GT weighs only about 100 pounds more, tipping the scales at 3,232 pounds. Performance? Try 0 to 60 mph in only 3.1 seconds, 124 mph in 9.1 seconds, and a top speed of 203 mph. Impressed yet? You should be.

And like nearly any supercar, the McLaren GT is not going to win any awards for fuel efficiency on par with a hybrid, but the EPA rated it at 15/21/17 mpg city/highway/combined. Considering its power and performance, these are solid figures. McLaren also claims the GT can travel up to about 399 models on just a single tank of gas.

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How Does It Drive?

McLaren intended for the GT to be different from the get-go compared to its other models, and therefore it required a different type of tuning. Remember, maximum comfort. Therefore, the carmaker added Optimal Control Theory software to the suspension. This clever system can actually read the road surface and compute in only two milliseconds how to react to any number of scenarios, whether it be ice, snow, or sand. For the genuine supercar fan, the GT still utilizes a hydraulic steering rack, as opposed to an electric design. This provides the driver with increased assistance at low speeds while not compromising feedback at high speeds. Remember, a supercar is meant to be driven and it's vital for drivers to "feel the car" at speed. It's part of the whole experience.

Wrapped in Pirelli Z Zero rubber, there are seven to 15 spoke styles, and 20-inch wheels up front while 21-inchers – the largest ever fitted to a McLaren – are at the rear.

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It Sounds Wonderful, So How Much?

The McLaren GT will be priced from $210,000, but in reality no one will pay that. They will fork over more. A lot more. Considering the nearly endless customization possibilities, thanks in large part to McLaren Special Operations, or MSO, buyers will be tempted to make their GTs suited to their personal tastes. And that's exactly the whole point. Supercar and luxury grand tourer buyers are not your typical customers. They desire something that's completely unique that reflects their personality. McLaren aims to please both and the new GT is the ideal car for them. Don't be surprised to hear about some McLaren GTs selling for nearly $500,000.

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Will It Sell?

Yes, but not in the numbers you might automatically assume. McLaren is a supercar company after all. For example, a total of 722 units of the Sport Series (including the 570S, 570 Spider, and 570 GT) were sold in the US in 2017. For all of 2017, just 1,110 new McLarens left American dealership lots. However, McLaren's Track25 program calls for 18 new models – including the GT – and derivatives through the year 2025. Not only will the McLaren GT find sufficient popularity, but the brand as a whole is about to experience even greater growth.

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