McLaren GT coupe
“The McLaren GT is very refined, quick and luxurious - it’s the company’s answer to the Bentley Continental GT”
- Comfortable and fast
- High-quality interior
- Only two seats
- Shallow boot
- No Apple or Android connectivity
McLaren’s line-up currently consists of 12 different cars and, whether they’re road legal or not, all are two-seater sports cars - including the new McLaren GT. We had wondered if the GT was the car to introduce a small set of rear seats, to make it more usable and practical than the cars it shares a showroom with, but McLaren has instead focused on two seats and a reasonably large boot.
McLaren previously divided its range into three pillars: Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate, but the launch of the McLaren GT effectively adds a fourth model range. It’s thought the GT line could feature another two models in the future, with cabriolet versions of each.
The GT is clearly a McLaren but its styling is all-new. It’s sleeker and more refined than the rest of the range, and all the aerodynamic considerations have been contained within the bodywork to prevent spoiling the car’s clean lines. There are large air vents at the front, sides and rear, hinting at the car’s impressive performance. It also offers ground clearance similar to that of a Mercedes C-Class, so you won’t be constantly grounding the nose of the car on speed bumps.
As for performance, the GT is as rapid as you’d expect from a McLaren. It has 612bhp and 0-62mph takes a little over three seconds, and flat out the car will reach 200mph. A seven-speed gearbox, plus plenty of complex electronic aids, help deploy all that power via the rear wheels.
Grand Tourers like this and its rivals, which include the Bentley Continental GT, the BMW 8 Series and Aston Martin DB11, are designed to cover huge distances with effortless speed and comfort. On long motorway journeys, the GT is impressively quiet and composed, even if the Continental GT is still the master in terms of refinement. A grand tourer needs to couple this effortless progress with a precise driving experience for fast corners, and the McLaren delivers. The weight of the steering is perfect, inspiring confidence yet being easy to live with at lower speeds.
However, there’s a nagging feeling that the McLaren doesn’t feel as special as its rivals. Perhaps it’s because it looks quite similar to other McLaren models, or maybe the rest of the range is just so good that the GT doesn’t add much to the recipe.
MPG, running costs & CO2
For buyers that have no problem paying over £160,000 (plus options) for a supercar, fuel economy is unlikely to be a pressing concern. When you’re not using the car’s full potential, you can expect 23.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 270g/km. This compares fairly well with the Bentley Continental GT, which returns 23.2mpg and 278g/km, but the McLaren is a much lighter car so we expected the gap in fuel economy to be a little bigger.
It’s best not to think about the first-year rate of road tax - it’s usually included in the price - but after that the McLaren GT will cost £465 a year for the first five times you renew. After that, the tax will drop to £145 like every other petrol car. You’ll also have to factor in high prices for tyres, brakes, oil and servicing, as you would with any supercar.
Engines, drive & performance
The idea of a car to cover continents is probably a bit antiquated now - most of us would just fly - but grand tourers like the McLaren GT still have to do it all. They have to be equally comfortable on the motorway and by an exclusive marina, and the McLaren fulfills this brief with ease.
Thanks to a 612bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine, it’s very fast in a straight line. Hitting 62mph from a standstill takes just 3.2 seconds, and you’ll be doing 203mph when the car reaches its maximum speed. There’s a surprising amount of lag as you’re waiting for the turbos to spool up; most cars have been engineered to work around this. The V8 engine’s noise has been tuned to sound more like a traditional V8, but it’s down to personal preference whether you like it more than the burbling of the Mercedes-AMG S 63 or the shriek of the Ferrari GTC4Lusso.
The McLaren GT is excellent when you decide to take the winding back roads. After a drive on the motorway, it’ll feel like the car has woken up. The steering is particularly joyous, being perfectly weighted and communicative - and it helps that the wheel is such a nice shape, too. Regardless of how fast or steep the corner is, it feels like nothing is out of the car’s stride. Unfortunately it’s not all good news; the brakes seem a little numb at first, so you need to push them quite hard to feel they’re working.
Interior & comfort
Slightly higher ground clearance than the average sports car means you don’t have to fold yourself into an odd shape in order to get into the GT, like you do in some sports cars, but there’s still a chunky carbon-fibre sill to slide over. Once you’re in, the cabin feels very airy and light - you can thank an electro-chromatic roof for that - and visibility is great. The paddles for the gearbox feel tactile and all the buttons operate with an expensive click.
At cruising speed, the GT is whisper quiet inside, although the noise level rises whenever you have to gently squeeze the accelerator. For the most part the ride is extremely comfortable and, while it can’t match the Bentley Continental GT, you’re never subjected to harsh jerks or shocks. It feels just as comfortable as any other modern McLaren but traditionally a GT should seem a level above sportier cars.
The latest version of McLaren’s infotainment system is fitted to the GT, and it’s been tinkered with for this new car. It’s much more responsive but it’s still frustratingly fiddly and you’ll have to really concentrate to adjust the temperature via the screen. The screen is mounted in a portrait orientation, which frees up legroom, but that means it isn’t compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
Practicality & boot space
The McLaren GT is over 15cm longer than the 570GT, and it’s actually the longest road-going McLaren ever. Buyers of the GT get much more space inside as a result but they can still only take one person along for the ride. McLaren says its customers don’t need two occasional-use rear seats, so it has focused on cabin and boot space. Visibility is great out the back as well as the front.
Measuring 420 litres, the boot is impressive on paper - it’s 40 litres larger than a Volkswagen Golf’s boot - but its shape restricts what you can put in there. It’s very long and shallow, so it’s more suited to golf clubs and snowboards than suitcases. The Aston Martin DB11 has a much wider, deeper boot if you need to take your own luggage. There’s an extra 150 litres of storage space under the McLaren’s bonnet but this is only suitable for shopping bags or soft holdalls.
Reliability & safety
McLarens don’t get tested by Euro NCAP because too few are built, and they don’t feature in our Driver Power ownership survey for the same reason. McLarens have been known to suffer from electrical issues but as the GT is a new car, we’ll have to reserve final judgement until buyers have experience of owning theirs.
McLaren’s racing expertise should ensure its cars are very safe. The car features a carbon-fibre one-piece chassis tub, which is not only light but strong too. You and your passenger are essentially cocooned in the chassis, which will bear the brunt of an impact.