New McLaren GT is firm's most practical, refined model yet

McLaren GT

McLaren’s new Grand Touring model sits outside of Sports, Super and Ultimate series, with luxury and comfort the focus

The new McLaren GT, revealed for the first time and on sale now, will “redefine the rules of Grand Touring”, according to the firm.

The new model is so distinct from McLaren’s existing line-up of Sports, Super and Ultimate Series models that the Woking brand has positioned it in its own category. It’s said to revive the spirit of “traditional Grand Touring – long distance driving in comfort, at higher speeds and with room for luggage”. 

However, McLaren also claims that it is lighter, faster and more engaging than any existing products in the GT segment.

Measuring 4.68m long and 2.09m wide, the GT is McLaren’s largest model on sale (excluding the sold-out Speedtail), and targets everything from the Aston Martin DB11 to the Bentley Continental GT. McLaren claims that, at 1530kg, it’s more than 130kg lighter than its “closest core competitor”.

Much of this is thanks to the McLaren’s carbon fibre monocoque, dubbed ‘MonoCell II-T’ in the GT as it incorporates a new rear upper stucture. This allows for the most luggage space of any McLaren to date: a 420-litre space below a soft-close rear tailgate combines with a further 150-litres of storage at the front – a best-in-class combined capacity. The firm claims it has enough load length to carry two pairs of 185cm skis.

As well as offering segment-leading space, McLaren has optimised the design for long-distance comfort. The strong carbon structure means that the C-pillars are glazed and rear quarter windows feature, improving visibility and cabin ambience. It still retains the trademark dihedral doors, however. 

The interior combines McLaren’s focused, minimalist approach with a raft of new luxury touches. Seats unique to the GT, both electrically adjustable and heated, are said to offer the perfect balance between support and long-distance comfort. A new, faster and more advanced infotainment system features, with the latest HERE navigation software and heating and ventilation controls now incorporated into the touchscreen. Further features include hidden ambient lighting, a Bowers and Wilkins sounds system and the option of a new electrochromic roof panel that can darken and light up at the press of a button. Cashmere upholstery will even be offered later this year; a production car first. 

McLaren’s familiar 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 powers the GT, offering 612bhp, 465lb ft of torque and a power-to-weight ratio of just under 400bhp-per-tonne – the least of any McLaren on sale. 0-60mph still comes up in 3.1secs, however, while 0-124mph takes nine seconds and it will hit 203mph flat-out. 

A vital part of the GT’s appeal is said to be its balance of traditional McLaren dynamic prowess with newfound levels of comfort and refinement. Work to reduce vibations and noise from the stiff structure, including softer engine mounts and increased sound insulation, ensure McLaren can claim it as the most refined model it’s ever built. 

The GT’s suspension, like the steering and brakes, is said to be unique to any other McLaren. It makes use of hydraulic dampers  and sophisticated control software, dubbed Proactive Damping Control, that takes input from sensors ‘reading’ the road, allowing the suspension to react to what’s ahead in just two miliseconds. Comfort mode is claimed to offer “a particularly compliant ride”.  Hydraulic steering is retained, with increased low-speed assistance to aid low-speed manouvers. 

McLaren has worked with Pirelli to develop a bespoke P Zero tyre to balance performance driving and quietness. They pair with 20in front and 21in rear wheels, the largest ever offered by the brand.  The brakes have even been retuned to be easier to modulate in low-speed environments.

The GT is available to order now worldwide, priced from £163,000 in the UK, inclusive of taxes. Customer deliveries are expected to commence before the end of 2019. 

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Source: Autocar

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