Review: McLaren GT

Blue McLaren GT on snowy UK road

Despite its vast performance, the McLaren feels confidence-inspiring and secure - Credit: patrick@beadyeye.tv

Don’t be fooled by the name. McLaren would be the first to admit that its 620hp ‘GT’ is not a big, cossetting grand tourer in the traditional sense of the term. Instead, it’s a full-blown supercar that just happens to be a little more usable than its track-focused siblings. 

Blue GT on snow against wintry hills

Quite beautiful, the McLaren GT - Credit: patrick@beadyeye.tv

The first real sign of this comes not on the test track or even on the open road, but on the speed bumps as we leave the village where McLaren’s media event is held. These tarmac mountains would pose a formidable challenge to a traditional supercar, but we glide over them in the GT. It’s a small point, but one that the McLaren needs to master if it’s going to be a true everyday car. Not that there’s anything remotely everyday about its appearance. The GT has a proper supercar shape that’s even more dramatic in the flesh than it appears in the photos. Pull up the Batmobile-style ‘dihedral’ doors and you  slide into a slightly sparse, yet well-appointed cabin.

INSIDE THE MCLAREN GT

cabin og GT, showing two seats and steering wheel, all black

The cabin is snug, but the full length glass roof adds an airy feel - Credit: patrick@beadyeye.tv

It’s a fairly snug cockpit, but one that feels quite airy thanks to a full-length glass roof. There are some nice materials – notably the chunky aluminium gearshift paddles that are a joy to operate – and some pleasingly organic shapes that swoop and curve around you. Unlike a lot of mid-engined cars there’s good visibility out the back. There’s also a substantial luggage compartment – at 420 litres, it’s theoretically bigger than the boot of a Ford Focus, although its odd shape limits its usefulness for bulky items. You might struggle with a suitcase, but McLaren says there’s room for a set of golf clubs. The infotainment system works reasonably well, but the screen is quite small, and optional 12-speaker hifi can’t compete with the audio experience you’d get in a similarly-priced Bentley or Aston Martin.

ON THE ROAD

Where the McLaren deals these traditional grand tourers a knockout blow is its dynamics. Drive them back-to-back and you’re aware that the GT is  fractionally less immediate in its responses than the other models in the McLaren range, but it still delivers a level of agility and composure that a
typical front-engined GT simply couldn’t match. Needless to say, it’s breathtakingly fast. Keep the throttle pinned and the V8 gulps air with a deep
induction noise that’s underscored by an increasingly manic whoosh from the turbos. But despite its vast performance, the McLaren felt confidence-inspiring and secure – even on the cold, damp roads of our test. 

Rear of GT left cornering on a snowy country lane

The ride is supple and smooth - Credit: patrick@beadyeye.tv

It rides nicely too, with a genuinely supple feel in Comfort mode, despite an almost-total lack of body roll. Similarly, the noise levels fade into the  background when you ease off, allowing you to ramp up or dial back the aggression to suit your mood. Ultimately, it’s never as soothing as an Aston
Martin DB11 or a Bentley Continental GT, but neither is it intended to be. 

FINAL SAY

Most Read

The McLaren GT offers spectacular performance, scintillating handling and a great big dollop of supercar theatre in a package that you really could use every day.

Car coming from a bend against a snowy backdrop

Spectacular performance, scintillating handling and a great big dollop of supercar theatre - Credit: patrick@beadyeye.tv

SPEC AND TECH

Price: McLaren GT Luxe £172,170 as tested (range from £163,000)
Engine: 3,994cc, 620hp, twin-turbo V8 with 7-speed dual clutch transmission
Performance: 0 to 62mph in 3.2 seconds; top speed 203mph
Fuel economy: 23.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 270g/km