McLaren is one of the elite players in the exclusive high-end supercar game. When you think of the name, you think high-stakes racing, you think performance, you think fast. However, in a departure from what McLaren is most famous for, on May 15 the British automaker unveiled the McLaren GT, its first-ever grand tourer (GT) model.
“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 a McLaren could,” said McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt in a statement.
So what’s so significant about a GT? Well, grand tourers are high-end street cars intended to go quickly and comfortably over vast distances and extended periods of time. Those long, leisurely drives are made possible by top-tier engines and comfortable interiors. They tend to be two-seat coupes — think Porsche 911, Aston Martin DB9, Jaguar E-Type, and Bentley Continental GT.
The Mclaren GT is the brand’s first offering intended primarily for the road instead of the racetrack. In the McLaren lineup, the GT belongs in its own category away from the other existing McLaren series: Sports (the 600 and 570), Super (720) and Ultimate (Senna and Speedtail). The closest McLaren ever came to a GT before was the aforementioned Speedtail, a three-seater the brand billed as a “hyper grand tourer” capable of 1,035 horsepower and 250 miles per hour.
In comparison, the McLaren GT’s 4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 and seven-speed transmission are responsible for 465 pound-foot of torque, a top speed of 203 mph, and the capability of hitting 124 mph in 9 seconds flat. In weight, it clocks in at “just” 3,232 pounds, which is nearly 300 pounds lighter than its direct competition in the GT space. Unique engine mounts create much less road noise than its racing counterparts within the McLaren lineup while a lightweight suspension and bespoke tires courtesy of Pirelli offer an optimal feeling of control from the driver’s seat.
In true GT fashion, the interior boasts controls situated in that Goldilocks zone — just right so you can reach them while buckled in for a drive, not so close as to dominate your vision. An infotainment system, ambient lighting, and leather trim come standard, while available add-ons include higher-end materials like cashmere and super sound systems. The car also has a total stow capacity of 20.1 cubic feet so you can easily stash your gear for a much-needed road trip or weekend getaway.
For the car’s looks, McLaren melded traditional GT curves with distinctly McLaren design. “Bold, elegant volumes flow seamlessly from nose to tail, encapsulating the beautifully crafted cabin. The sophisticated, sculpted body expresses both the power of the car and its ability to cosset occupants during long-distance driving. The teardrop shape of the cabin, which stretches back to encompass the rear luggage area, follows the aerodynamic principles inherent in all McLarens,” elaborates Rob Melville, McLaren Automotive’s design director.
All of this comes together to create a package that is “the most refined McLaren ever,” according to a statement from the automaker. Pricing starts at $210,000; in case you were wondering how much gas money you need to have saved after that purchase, the GT offers fuel efficiency of 21 miles per gallon on the freeway, which is where we expect you to spend most of your time. The first round of deliveries is slated for the end of 2019.