Fast and comfortable McLaren GT is now on sale in SA

13 February 2020 - 08:15 By Phuti Mpyane
More luggage space, fairly insane pace and a comfy ride are highlights of McLaren SA’s latest offering. Picture: SUPPLIED
More luggage space, fairly insane pace and a comfy ride are highlights of McLaren SA’s latest offering. Picture: SUPPLIED

Cool cars, these McLarens. Cobbled together with Formula One know-how, they are considered a more race track science-supported choice than other super- or sports cars.

The new GT that made its SA debut last weekend is a different breed of McLaren. At 4.68m, it is longer than the Super Series cars of the 720S but slightly shorter than the Ultimate Series demons, such as the Senna. It’s also softer looking with none of the expected steroidal appearance.

According to the company, the design team’s brief was to give it the visual bulk more suitable to a grand tourer through a higher positioned nose, cleaner surfaces and to be as close to comfortable as McLaren is likely to get.

To give it a clearer, more defined role as a courteous rather than riotous McLaren, the new GT is assembled using the company’s MonoCell II-T lightweight carbon-fibre tub, of which the “T” in its code signifies modifications in line with GT cars for more refinement and ultimately better to take on long journeys than the average McLaren.

It has more space for luggage at the rear than in any Mclaren thus far and also gets a conventional tailgate instead of a side-hinged glass cover, which can be optionally powered. It’s also powered by a mid-mounted 4.0l twin-turbo V8 from the 720S (529kW) but detuned with smaller turbos to arrive at a more manageable but still potent 456kW and 630Nm.

With the GT’s seven-speed auto transmission and 1,530kg kerb weight it has the potential to shoot off to 100km/h from standstill in an eye-watering 3.2 seconds. Its ride has a pliant texture that makes it civil to use daily without compromising on dynamic behaviour or when stretching its legs towards its 326km/h top speed.  

But nowhere else is the toning down of the GT as a beast more apparent than inside the cockpit. It’s a more conventional layout that’s minus the digital screen that flips out of sight when Sport mode is selected in the 720S.

Even the mix materials are more hoity-toity than the usual Woking fare of alcantara and naked carbon fibre. High-end stitching patterns with double piping on chairs covered in refined leathers or luxury fabrics, aluminium switch gear and soft pile carpeting dominate the cabin.

The new McLaren GT is priced at R4.2m.

It may be softer riding but it’s still a full-on fast McLaren with the signature doors. Picture: SUPPLIED
It may be softer riding but it’s still a full-on fast McLaren with the signature doors. Picture: SUPPLIED
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