The McLaren GT is undoubtedly more comfortable and spacious than its sisters. But it remains above all a rocket born in Woking. With all the DNA that characterises McLaren par excellence…
Long, wide, luxurious. The first impression of the McLaren GT is quite remarkable. At first glance, the design of the Woking beauties is distinctive: a very short bonnet, a largely glazed interior and a roof that stretches to the end of the very low stern. Add to that large air intakes, generously sized wheels and a design that is unmistakable.
Grand Tourism means long distance travel and therefore luggage. A simple press of the key releases a huge glass hatch that allows access to one of the strangest ‘trunks’ we’ve ever seen. A chest? Located right on top of a 4 litre engine with over 600 horsepower? Enough to melt your Vuitton bag? Not at all: the engineers have developed an air-cooling system, captured along the sides by large vents, to evacuate the heat from the engine and protect the contents of the cargo compartment! And, in my experience, it works.
And then, my goodness, what a concerto!
The fact remains that this rear boot is, in fact, a fairly shallow space, running from the back of the seats to the rear bumper, in which, the engineers are formal, it is possible to take over 400 litres of cargo. For our part, two pieces of carry-on luggage should fit without any problem, just behind the headrests. But there’s no way we can imagine slipping another “suitcase” into the rest. McLaren says it can fit a… golf bag. We guarantee you a garment bag or, at most, a (small) vanity case. But let’s be fair and still mention the front boot capable, as in a Porsche 911, of holding two pieces of cabin luggage and a small bag.
It’s when you open the doors that the reason for the GT logo becomes apparent. The cockpit is larger, the seats a little thicker, the luxury a little more advanced. Everything is tuned, adjusted, “ergonomic”: it is superb. After a relatively simple installation on board, one becomes familiar with the environment. There is no swivelling dashboard, as in the 650 LT, or a ‘window’ in the bottom of the door like in the Senna. The designers wanted to make this cockpit a comfortable cocoon, where you feel as good as in your living room. Once the seat is set and the steering wheel adjusted, all that remains is to press the START button…
Depending on the management method chosen, the experience differs. In “comfort” mode, the engine’s hum is filtered out and you start to dream of a road that stretches out towards the sea, offering you magnificent landscapes to admire. In “sport” mode or, a fortiori, in “race” mode, the song is very different. With the valves open, the engine block expresses itself much more freely. And as soon as the first one is engaged, we notice that our “living room” is not mounted on wheels, but on extra-large tyres! And so much the better! Because after having warmed up the mechanics along the bay of Saint-Tropez, we pass Cogolin and head for the small winding roads of the hinterland, towards the Château de Taulane on the Route de Napoléon. And then, my goodness, what a concerto!
Once you switch to “sport” mode – the “race” mode, refined for the circuit, does not bring anything more than a greater “freedom” to the rear axle – you then taste the joys of GT like McLaren. But we warn you from the outset that your co-driver may not like it so much: unless you move the seat forward enough to be able to ‘push’ on the feet, it is quite difficult to counter all the effects of the lateral forces using only the handle installed in the extension of the armrest… But at the wheel, what a treat! GT as it is, this car makes the most of McLaren’s advances in controlled damping, ultra-precise steering and stratospheric braking. At this level, you gently leave the world of driving for that of piloting and benefit from a remarkable precision and finesse of trajectory, coupled with a real comfort of filtration of the unevenness of the road.
It may not be as radical as some of the brand’s other stars, but it’s no slouch: it may be a GT, but it’s a McLaren. So you get a kick out of shifting gears, on the fly, via the steering wheel paddles that can be activated by pulling or pushing. We play with the balance of the car to get through the curves at amazing speeds. We delay braking just to see how far the McLaren GT will allow us to go. And you can appreciate the exceptional quality of its handling, corner after corner, acceleration after acceleration.
And then, once you’ve had your fill, you go back into GT mode. Once again, we are amazed by this comfort and refinement. The opacity of the glass roof can be adjusted from light to dark at the touch of a button to protect us from the sun’s rays. A rather nice option if you still have a few pennies left over after spending the 187,000 euros that this beautiful English long-distance car costs.
Far from these lowly materialistic considerations, we make the most of the last few kilometres that bring us back to the lunch break, playing with the torque as well as the impressive engine brake, downshifting on the entry to the curve to better “roll” on the exit, in order to ensure a cool, flowing ride, much more pleasant for the passenger. And we start dreaming of going back down, for a weekend, to the Côte d’Azur that we have just left behind. I promise: if we win the lottery, we’ll do it…
|Engine||M840TE, 4.0 litres twin-turbo V8, 3994 cm3|
|Placement||Longitudinal, central engine, propulsion|
|620 (612/456) @ 7 500 rpm|
|630 @ 5,500-6,500 rpm|
|Transmission||7 speeds + reverse SSG.
Comfort, Sport and Track modes
|Direction||Hydraulic; power assisted|
|Chassis||Single-cell II-T monocoque in carbon fibre,
with carbon fibre upper rear section and
front and rear aluminium safety structures
|Suspension||Aluminium double wishbone; shock absorbers
independent adaptive with Proactive Damping
Control. Comfort, Sport and Track modes
|Brakes||Steel discs (front 367mm; rear 354mm) and 4-piston calipers (front and rear); optional: carbon-ceramic discs with forged aluminium calipers|
|Rims||Front: 8J x 20; Rear: 10.5J x 21|
|Tyres||Pirelli P ZERO™ Front: 225/35/R20; Rear: 295/30/R21|
|Tracks||Front: 1671 mm; Rear: 1663 mm|
|Tare weight||1 466 kg|
(with fluids and 90% petrol)
|1 530 kg|
|US weight (with fluids and 100% petrol)||1 535 kg|
|Distribution of masses||Front 42.5% / Rear 57.5%|
|Trunks||570 l (Front: 150l; Rear: 420l)|