If I could summarize the GT in one word, this is what it would be: confusing. It confused me when I first read about it. It confused my friend when he first saw it at the auto show. It will confuse McLaren customers for sure. And it sure as hell confused the engineers at McLaren when someone from the marketing department turned up with plans to build a GT car.
I’m not saying I don’t understand why McLaren did it. Everyone else in the game has a GT car. Ferrari first had the California and now the Portofino. Bentley has the Continental GT. BMW now has the M8. Hard to forget the blokes at Aston Martin as well who make almost nothing but grand tourers. I guess McLaren decided they needed to be able to compete with this, but to what end? However, before I go any further, let’s dive into the details.
McLaren says the GT comes with a brand new engine. But if we are being a little less flattering, it’s not completely brand new. Really it’s just a tuned engine from the 720S. Glossing over that, this finely built 4L V8 engine comes with two turbochargers and produces no less than 612 horsepowers. Combine this with a 7 speed dual clutch gearbox and you will rocket from 0-60 in just 3.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 203 mph.
In order to make it seem like more of a grand tourer, McLaren has added amenities such as two trunks to the car. The one in the front has 150L of storage space while the one in the back has 420L. A space that McLaren takes great pride in saying is big enough for a bag of golf clubs. Beyond this, the car has a modified version of the ProActive Chassis Control II damping system found on the 720S which when tuned makes the car softer and hopefully makes it closer to how a grand tourer should feel. Key word hopefully.
Now we come back to the concept of confusion. At first I was confused whether to applaud McLaren for venturing into a new space, or selling their souls, but now it seems simple to me. McLaren is obviously a business and businesses need to make money, so they sought the one area of growth they found most accessible to themselves. Now this is all well and good when speaking of things from a business perspective, but when considering these implications from actual automotive perspective, the outlook is dismal. Not to say that in technical terms the GT is a bad car, but even when considering it from a pragmatic standpoint- which I seldom do- it still doesn’t make sense.
You want a grand tourer? What exactly is wrong with the DB11? You want a $200,000 supercar that you can flex on instagram? What’s wrong with a Lamborghini Hurucan? You want a McLaren? Then why not go for something like a 720S which is the epitome of modern McLaren engineering. I admire McLaren going out on a limb and trying something new, but it just doesn’t work. McLaren’s goal was to create a machine that takes the best of the supercar and combines it with the best of the grand tourer. Unfortunately, what I see is a car slower than its supercar big brothers, but also nowhere near as luxurious as its British cousins at Aston Martin and Bentley. The car itself is confused about what it wants to be; it’s a car without a true identity, my worst nightmare. Hopefully McLaren goes back to doing what it does best: using those bright British minds to develop the next insane hypercar that can go a million miles an hour around a racetrack and show you how much lateral G you’re being subjected to. But for now, these are my immediate reactions on the 2020 McLaren GT.
“Mclaren GT”. En.Wikipedia.Org, 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLaren_GT. Accessed 15 Mar 2020.
“Mclaren New GT – Purpose | Mclaren Automotive”. Cars.Mclaren.Com, 2020, https://cars.mclaren.com/en/new-mclaren-gt/purpose. Accessed 15 Mar 2020.
“Mclaren GT”. Top Gear, 2019, https://www.topgear.com/car-reviews/mclaren/gt. Accessed 15 Mar 2020.