This review begins with something you will not usually associate with other similar stories involving low-slung, two-door cars with over 600 hp – boot space.
There are some conditions though – the main “boot” is located above the mid-mounted engine and it is long and shallow. If you love golf, great! It will easily swallow a bag with a full set of clubs. How many supercars do you know can achieve this?
Sure, it’s lacking rear seats, items you will find in some of its rivals, but when it comes to covering long stretches of asphalt at high speed, and in comfort – factors which truly determine the pedigree of a grand tourer – the GT truly shines.
It shares the same 4-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine with the 720S supercar, but the engineers at Woking have tuned it to churn out 612 hp and 630 Nm. These are impressive figures, but you will really have to put pedal to the metal as both numbers are only achieved at high engine speeds – 7500 rpm and 5500 rpm, respectively. Do this and 0 to 100 km/h is accomplished in 3.2 seconds – a time that will make supercar aficionados drool with excitement.
Still, it does not mean that you need to rev like a maniac to enjoy driving the GT. Select comfort mode and automatic for the 7-speed Seamless Shift Gearbox, and it’s a really swift, but relaxing drive. Acceleration is brisk as 95 percent of maximum torque is available from just 3,000 rpm. The ride is firm but still extremely comfortable. It is amazingly easy to pilot it around the city, because of its light steering and excellent manoeuvrability. You can even “lift” the front of the car when faced with a tall hump.
If you decide to take the McLaren GT to the track or down some B roads, it will not disappoint either – especially when you breach 6,000 rpm. The first time it happens, you will be startled, but in a good way. The experience is akin to opening a can of Coca-Cola after shaking it – giving you an explosion which makes you ecstatic! You will be thrown back into the seat as the scenery flashes by in a blur.
Its handling may not be as good as the 720S, but the GT’s lower centre of gravity makes it better than most grand tourers. You can chuck it into corners and it will grip securely as you turn. Feedback from the steering is good as it lets you know exactly what the tyres (20-inch front and 21-inch rear) are doing so you can make adjustments confidently.
The McLaren GT is more useable daily than its stablemates because it does not leave you feeling short-changed by the way it performs, whatever the driving purpose. Simply put, every trip, short or long, will not just be pleasurable, but exhilarating.
(All images: McLaren)