McLaren revealed its unique interpretation of a modern Grand Tourer: the new GT.
Mike Flewitt, CEO McLaren Automotive, said: "The new McLaren GT combines competition levels of performance with continent-crossing capability, wrapped in a beautiful body and true to McLaren’s ethos of designing superlight cars with a clear weight advantage over rivals. Designed for distance, it provides the comfort and space expected of a Grand Tourer, but with a level of agility never experienced before in this segment.
"In short, this is a car that redefines the notion of a Grand Tourer in a way that only a McLaren could."
Positioned alongside the established Sports, Super and Ultimate Series families, the GT is aimed at a new audience and provides an alternative to existing products in an expanding market segment. In re-imagining the spirit of traditional Grand Touring – long-distance driving in comfort, at higher speeds and with room for luggage.
McLaren has also redefined the modern GT ownership experience with a car that is lighter, faster and more engaging than existing products in the segment, with greater space, comfort and usability.
Like all McLarens, the new GT has a carbon fibre structure that possesses exceptional strength and rigidity while enabling unparalleled driving dynamics and lightest-in-class kerbweight. At 1530kg (DIN), the McLaren GT is more than 130kg lighter than its closest core competitor and literally hundreds of kilogrammes less than other cars in the segment. It's powered by a 456kW/630Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine.
The new engine is mated to a 7-speed SSG transmission to deliver linear, seamless and relentless acceleration.
The performance statistics speak for themselves; with a launch control function optimising acceleration from a standing start, 0-100km/h is achieved in 3.2 seconds, 0-200km/h is dispatched in 9.0 seconds. The maximum speed of the McLaren GT is 326km/h.
Another defining element of the new McLaren GT – and arguably what will cement its position as the new segment leader – is its dynamic prowess. The suspension, steering and brakes are all bespoke to the car and honed and optimised to provide an outstanding Grand Touring driving experience, with inherent balance, responsiveness and precision yet better ride comfort than any other McLaren.
The bespoke MonoCell II-T monocoque – the T denoting ‘Touring’ – incorporates a carbon fibre rear upper structure that adds minimal weight but allows the creation of a 420-litre luggage area below the front-hinged, full-length glazed tailgate. The tailgate has a soft-close function as standard and can be optioned as electrically powered.
The low height of the engine and positioning of the exhaust system has allowed the volume, shape and usability of the luggage bay to be optimised. A golf bag or two pairs of 185cm skis and boots as well as luggage can be carried with ease, while a further 150 litres of storage at the front means the new McLaren GT can accommodate a total of 570 litres.
The strength of the carbon fibre core structure means that glazed C-pillars and rear-quarter windows can be incorporated into the design, enhancing rearward vision and bringing still more light into an inherently spacious and uncluttered cabin. Dihedral doors swing upwards to expose a wide opening and low sill.
The interior is a cosseting space designed to delight on longer journeys, but with all the essentials for focused, high performance driving; the seating position, location of controls and forward visibility are as important here as they are in any McLaren.
The streamlined, electrically adjusted and heated seats, which are unique to the McLaren GT, have been engineered to meet the requirements of Grand Touring, being optimised for long-distance comfort, with the perfect amount of padding and shoulder and back support in combination with superb lateral control.
Technology and modern craftsmanship share equal prominence in the new McLaren GT, with the finest high-quality materials complemented by features such as the most sophisticated McLaren infotainment system to date; hidden-until-lit ambient lighting and the option of an electrochromic glazed panel in lieu of the standard carbon fibre composite gloss black roof, darkening or lightening at the touch of a button.
Machined and knurled aluminium switches and controls – including the steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles – contrast with gloss black surrounds for the infotainment screen, window switches, gear-selection console and air vent housings. A 12-speaker, Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system featuring carbon fibre sub-bass woofers and Kevlar mid-range drive units, is available.
The Nappa leather trim that features as standard can be upgraded to softgrain luxury leather or Alcantara, depending on which vehicle specification is chosen. Cashmere will become available as an additional choice towards the end of 2019 – the first time that this exclusive material has been used in a production vehicle.
SuperFabric trim for the rear luggage bay is another option, the innovative woven fabric that is infused with a layer of tiny armoured guard plates, providing increased resistance to stains, cuts, nicks and abrasions, as well as being breathable, easy to clean and quick to dry.
The infotainment system developed for the new McLaren GT is the company’s most sophisticated to date. Among the fastest-operating in any car, it also features industry-standard HERE navigation mapping and real-time traffic information. The driver interface operates in a similar way to a smartphone and the seven-inch central touchscreen is used to select from vehicle functions such as satellite navigation, Bluetooth telephony, media streaming and voice activation. DAB digital radio (or Sirius satellite radio in North America) is standard.
Heating and ventilation controls are also incorporated into the touchscreen, ensuring ease of use and reducing the overall number of switches and controls. Dual-zone climate control and air conditioning are standard, with the system allowing fully automatic and independent settings for both the driver and passenger.
Ahead of the driver and providing key vehicle information is a 12.3” TFT screen. The instrument graphics are like those seen on aircraft, the aeronautical influences delivering clear, crisp displays that are easy to read. In addition to vehicle speed, gear selection and engine revs, the instrument cluster can also display turn-by-turn navigation, phone calls, chosen audio output and tyre temperatures and pressures. When a reversing camera has been specified, the image behind the vehicle is displayed when reverse gear is selected, which keeps the driver’s eyeline as high as possible.
As befits a Grand Tourer, ambient refinement was a priority for the new McLaren GT from the outset. Unique engine mounts that are half the stiffness of those in the track-focused McLaren 600LT help to minimise structure-borne noise, while low-frequency sounds emitting from the carbon fibre structure are reduced rather than amplified into the cabin in the way that they are in the McLaren Senna; in Comfort mode, the new McLaren GT is the most refined McLaren ever.
Creating a new type of McLaren – and the first true Grand Tourer from the brand – saw the McLaren design team embracing the visual history of Grand Touring cars while remaining true to the philosophies that underpin all McLaren design. The long, elegant exterior lines that are widely recognised as Grand Tourer design cues are executed in the new McLaren GT according to the aerodynamic principles that define every McLaren.
The muscular rear fenders – another design trait commonplace in Grand Touring history – are an example of the form of every McLaren being true to its function, incorporating here the air intakes for the high-temperature radiators that cool the engine.
At almost 4.7m, the new McLaren is longer than any of the cars in the McLaren Sports or Super Series. The front and rear overhangs extend further than is traditional for McLaren, but the 10-degree approach angle at the front (13-degree with vehicle lift engaged) means the new McLaren GT can cope with the most aggressive traffic calming measures.
In combination with underbody clearance of 110mm (130mm with vehicle lift) this ensures the car is eminently usable in all urban situations; not only is it competitive with all rivals, but in ‘lift’ mode it is the equal of mainstream sedans.
The suspension is a lightweight aluminium, double wishbone design, paired in the new McLaren GT with hydraulic dampers to deliver Proactive Damping Control. Governed by the most sophisticated iteration yet of the pioneering Optimal Control Theory software algorithm developed for the 720S, the suspension uses inputs from sensors to ‘read’ the road, interpreting what will likely happen next and reacting predictively in just two milliseconds.
Overall, body movement is tailored for occupant comfort and vertical load and contact patch variation are optimised to enhance grip levels, but each of the three active dynamics handling modes – Comfort, Sport and Track – has its own distinct set of parameters to reflect the selected preference, for example, a particularly compliant ride in Comfort mode.
Driving precision and enjoyment is further enhanced in new McLaren GT by hydraulic steering, which uses a single software ‘map’ across Comfort, Sport and Track modes to deliver optimal feel and response. Reflecting the requirements of the new McLaren GT, it also provides increased assistance at low speeds to aid urban driving and parking, without loss of rewarding feedback at higher speeds.
Just as the steering response more than meets expectations across the wide range of Grand Touring driving styles, so too do the tyres and brakes. McLaren and its technical partner, Pirelli, have developed a bespoke P ZERO tyre for the new McLaren GT that meets the demands of high-performance driving and comfort and refinement in equal measure. The 21-inch alloy rear wheels, which are the largest ever fitted to a McLaren, are paired with 20" at the front and available in 7- or 15-spoke designs.
The high-performance braking system has also been designed to deliver across the full range of requirements, from precise pedal feel and hard deceleration when driving at higher speeds to usability and comfort at lower speeds or when holding the vehicle in traffic, where less pedal effort is preferable.