The new GT goes where no McLaren has ever gone before

If this had been a political debate, the crowd would be cheering. Maybe you’re cheering right now. “You tell ‘em, Mike! Woo hoo!”

But while McLaren does make some of the world’s greatest supercars, as well as sports cars, and while, apparently, SUVs are not in the product pipeline, the company has managed to produce a car with a softer ride and a little more luggage space. You could argue that this new class, the GT class, trends toward the SUV.

Behold, the not-an-SUV McLaren GT.

GT: The term itself is vague, like “organic,” “rehabilitated,” and, “super-cute.” There are no hard-and-fast legal definitions, nor has the DOT weighed in, leaving more wiggle room than a newly caught carp flopping on the deck of your Boston Whaler. Where does “sports car” end and “GT” begin? It is a definition that is left, unfortunately, to the marketing department, and the marketing

The McLaren GT shares the same MonoCell II carbon-fiber tub with 570, but the GT’s version gets an upper structure added for luggage space over the engine and a “T” suffix on it, making it the MonoCell II-T. The T stands for Touring, as in Gran Touring, as in a larger, more comfortable version of a car made by a sports car maker. Ferrari was good at making GTs, and still offers one in the 812 Superfast. But the definition goes all over the map and encompasses everything from Bentleys and Porsches to God-knows what else. Like I said, until the International Council of Marketing Gobbledeegook meets in Helsinki in 2029, it’s all marketingspeak.

Outside, the GT has its own distinctly flowing take on McLaren design, with unique dihedral doors and a long, hunchbackity glass tailgate under which your golf clubs and or carryon luggage stow. The car’s overall length is 15.4 feet, but it has a 10-degree approach angle that stretches to 15 degrees when you hit the lift button. It also has 4.3 inches of ground clearance underneath, which jacks up to 5.1 inches when you hit the lift button. Not SUV numbers but better than the rest of the McLaren line when it comes to driveway ramps and parking lot bump stops.

The rear luggage bay is the car’s most distinctive feature and the one that separates it from the rest of the McLaren line. This space adds 14.8 cubic feet of room, enough to accommodate one set of golf clubs or two sets of skis, McLaren promises. With 5.3 cubic feet in the frunk, this GT can haul 20.1 cubic feet of almost anything — maybe the cries of the competition?

Under the luggage is a 612-hp, 465-lb-ft 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. It uses the block and heads from the 720S but everything else is new, McLaren said. That includes a smaller turbo compressor, new e-wastegate and a new muffler system. Compression ratio goes from 8.7:1 to 9.4:1, which McLaren says gives it enhanced engine response at lower revs but which also just happens to help meet Chinese emissions standards. That engine is mated to a seven-speed SSG transmission that you can either let shift for you or paddle-shift to your heart’s content.

If you use the launch control function and have enough octane in your gas you can get to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and to 124 mph in nine. Or just keep going all the way to the car’s 203-mph top speed.

Source: Autoweek