New McLaren GT sets out to break the rules

New McLaren GT sets out to break the rules

MCLAREN Automotive pulled the cover off its new Grand Tourer overnight, describing it as the first real GT in the company’s range. Madam Wheels thought the 570GT was pretty good. In fact, it’s still one of our favourite cars. Perhaps the McLaren GT will supersede it.

The list of improvements outlined on the media facts sheet suggest it will steal that mantle easily. Apart from the GT’s sleek and sexy lines, pleasingly balanced aesthetic and increased focus on creature comforts inside, there’s still space enough for luggage along with two sets of 185cm skis and boots, or a golf bag if you please.

Whether anyone would actually consider taking a vehicle with supercar capabilities anywhere near the ski slopes is another matter. Put your foot down in this thing, and McLaren says it will sprint to 200km/h in 9 seconds - which is as irrelevant in Australia as the car’s frightening top speed pf 326km/h. It’s handy to know you’d have the power on board if you ever needed it, however.

As well as improved comfort, space and usability, McLaren says its GT is lighter and faster than other cars in the segment and provides an engaging driving experience. It’s strong and rigid carbon-fibre core makes its super light, giving it an impressive power-to-weight ratio coupled with the 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine that powers it.

It’s also long and low - at 4.7 metres it’s longer than any McLaren from the Sports or Super Series, and it has a vehicle lift mode to raise it to a height equal to mainstream sedans.

Inside, McLaren has drawn on its technology smarts to integrate its most sophisticated infotainment system to date, including industry-standard HERE® navigation mapping and real-time traffic information.

'The McLaren GT is a sculptural beauty to look at and, like any piece of worthwhile modern art, it’s going to carry a hefty price tag.'

The driver interface is presented on a 7” central touchscreen, operating in a similar way to a smartphone in selecting functions such as satellite navigation, Bluetooth telephony, media streaming and voice activation. DAB digital radio comes standard. An additional12.3” digital touchscreen in front of the driver provides key vehicle information, with instrument graphics apparently like those seen on aircraft.

It sounds like the McLaren GT is going to be comfortable over distances, too, having been fitted with electrically adjusted and heated seats, unique to the McLaren GT. Special attention has also been paid to ensuring lateral support at high speeds as well as the right levels of padding for shoulder and back support.

There are plenty of high-quality finishes throughout the interior as standard with upgrades available. Even cashmere will be offered later this year for the first time in a McLaren production car. As music matters on long drives, it’s good to know a 12-speaker, Bowers & Wilkins system with carbon fibre sub-bass woofers can be optioned in.

The McLaren GT sits outside the established Sports, Super and Ultimate Series families, with McLaren describing it as “a new McLaren for a new audience”. The company’s promotional video for the GT has a woman in the driver’s seat through scenery swapping from winding mountain roads to the ocean. There’s even a bit where the GT is flying along a dirt road, perhaps to highlight the ad’s message that rules are not only meant to be broken, but also bent, stretched and pushed to the limit.

By the looks of things, McLaren has nailed the brief for a Grand Tourer in delivering a car that is comfortable over long distance, drives at higher speeds and has plenty of room for luggage. The McLaren GT is also a sculptural beauty to look at and, like any piece of worthwhile modern art, it’s going to carry a hefty price tag.

McLaren is yet to announce Australian pricing for the car, but if the European bottom-line is any guide - which of course it is because of the additional layers of taxes and duties expensive cars attract in Australia - we’ll be looking at well over $A300,000 for the McLaren GT.

For those in the market, customer deliveries will start late this year.