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Reviews The 2020 McLaren GT is the supercar of grand-touring cars

00:07  18 october  2019
00:07  18 october  2019 Source:   caranddriver.com

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And GT , which is short for grand touring , is pasted onto cars as wildly diverse as the Hyundai Elantra hatchback, a 5000-pound two-door Bentley, and a So if McLaren wants to name its newest supercar the GT , so be it—even if this car 's mid-mounted engine, two-seat configuration, and dihedrial doors

The 2020 McLaren GT Is a Mid-Engined Supercar Built for Luxurious Grand Touring . Recently, Aston Martin has announced plans to launch two mid-engined supercars clearly aimed at Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren , as previewed by the AM-RB 003 and Vanquish concepts.

There is no precise definition of what a GT car is. And GT, which is short for grand touring, is pasted onto cars as wildly diverse as the Hyundai Elantra hatchback, a 5000-pound two-door Bentley, and a half-million-dollar race car for the road wearing a Ford badge. So if McLaren wants to name its newest supercar the GT, so be it—even if this car's mid-mounted engine, two-seat configuration, and dihedrial doors are foundational characteristics of a supercar. It's McLaren's car, after all. It can call it whatever it chooses. Also, the company fed us delicious Bugles from a fine silver bowl during the drive program, so we're going with it.

a car driving on a road: Using the same building blocks as other McLarens, the new GT can't quite escape its roots. © McLaren Using the same building blocks as other McLarens, the new GT can't quite escape its roots.

The GT, which arrives this fall with a starting price of $213,195 , might not fit comfortably within the traditional boundaries of a grand-touring car. But McLaren has at least worked to imbue its newest offering with some of the attributes generally associated with the moniker: visual elegance, comfort, and usability.

a car parked on the side of a road: McLaren GT Is the Supercar of Grand Tourers © McLaren McLaren GT Is the Supercar of Grand Tourers

Subdued for a McLaren

Its exterior styling is subdued relative to other mid-engine supercars, even those made by McLaren. There are no fixed wings, weird air intakes, slashes in the bodywork, or inexplicably pointy bits. There's even a strip of chrome that traces an arc over the side windows. Chrome trim. On a McLaren. The GT's aluminum body can be painted in some decidedly un-supercar colors that are not offered on other McLarens, such as copper, navy blue, and a somewhat somber grayish green. Its optional 15-spoke wheels (20-inchers up front, 21s in the rear) would look at home on a moderately high-performance luxury sedan. But because the GT shares its basic building blocks with all other modern McLarens, the GT looks like, well, a mid-engine supercar that's trying hard to not draw too much attention to itself. It's handsome and unfussy if not particularly distinctive.

Making the GT more comfortable than its stablemates is a fairly straightforward affair. Its suspension is most similar to that of the 570S in that it uses anti-roll bars and adaptive dampers instead of the more exotic ProActive Chassis Control II (a hydropneumatic system that eliminates anti-roll bars) on the 720S. A more relaxed tuning of these components yields pretty impressive results over sharp, high-frequency road imperfections. We drove the GT on the almost entirely smooth roads of southern France where most cars deliver a pretty agreeable ride, but this car is noticeably more supple than other McLarens.

a car parked in a parking lot: McLaren GT Is the Supercar of Grand Tourers © McLaren McLaren GT Is the Supercar of Grand Tourers

Naturally, though, the GT is still plenty buttoned down in any circumstance you're likely to get into on public roads. The GT's turn-in response is perfect, neither darty nor lazy. And though it gets an extra boost at low speeds for ease of parking, the GT's electrohydraulic steering is a joy to use at higher velocities, with excellent feel, pinpoint accuracy, and studied linearity. The GT's seats also are considered comfort models. They are unique to the GT and are cushy only in comparison with the seats you find in other McLarens. That's the thing about the GT: It's comfy and cushy relative to other McLarens, which makes it pretty darn sporty compared with everything else.

Familiar Firepower

The GT uses a version of the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 familiar from the 720S. The GT's setup makes a 98 fewer horses than its big brother's. But that means the GT still produces a not-insubstantial 612 horsepower. That should be enough to launch the GT to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. Yes, that’s a couple tenths behind the 720S's time, but it's still under three freakin' seconds! The GT's engine uses a higher compression ratio than the 720S's (9.4:1 versus 8.7:1) and relatively small low-inertia turbos minimize lag and make for flexible power delivery.

a wheel of a car: McLaren GT Is the Supercar of Grand Tourers © McLaren McLaren GT Is the Supercar of Grand Tourers

From behind the wheel, the GT may not have the eyes-wide-open shock and awe of the 720S, but you will never think of it as anything but a very quick and fast car. Our only quibble with the powertrain is that, in Comfort mode, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission takes a half-step too long to downshift in passing maneuvers. McLaren notes that the GT delivers a range of roughly 400 miles. Compared with the 720S, the GT wears a shorter intake plenum, which allows for a little extra room for cargo between the engine and the rear-hatch glass.

Now We're Cookin'

And this is where the increased usability comes in—in that long but shallow and oddly shaped space. McLaren will be happy to sell you custom luggage for your GT, but your own carry-on suitcase is not likely to fit under the back glass. It will fit in the GT's front trunk. But then, it would fit in the frunk of virtually any other McLaren as well. The company says you can fit a bag of golf clubs in the rear. We'll take its word for it. We can say that a briefcase and a backpack fit easily in that space and were held in place by optional, $500 elastic straps. (For that kind of money, they'd better work.)

a car parked in a parking lot: McLaren GT Is the Supercar of Grand Tourers © McLaren McLaren GT Is the Supercar of Grand Tourers

To allow customers to put their belongings atop a high-powered furnace, though, took some doing. Immediately above the engine is a cooling passage that transports air from the side scoops over the engine and out the vents at the tail of the car. Above that is a many-layered sandwich of various insulating materials. According to McLaren, the air in the cargo area is only about a tenth as hot as that radiating off of the engine. Still, when we grabbed the laptop out of the briefcase after our drive, it was uncomfortably hot to the touch. And half of our co-driver's stash of gummy bears had turned to goo in his backpack—this despite the fact McLaren had optioned our test vehicle with the rear-window tint to reduce solar gain.

Any vehicle configuration has limitations. And McLaren is locked into its basic mid-engine architechture from which all modern McLarens are built. For a small independent car company, a fresh platform for a single new model would be prohibitively expensive. The company has shown an impressive ability to tailor its Lego set to a variety of forms and purposes. The GT is the most comfortable McLaren. Or maybe it's the McLaren of grand tourers.

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With the McLaren GT you can travel and race .
With the McLaren GT you can travel and race © Photo: McLaren / dpa-mag The Gran Tourer from McLaren offers plenty of space and features that are as practical as they are comfortable. But its properties as a sports car are also impressive. With the McLaren GT you can travel and race Berlin (dpa-infocom) - McLaren is showing off its soft side this autumn.

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