Just as sprinters and marathoners are built differently—one made for speed and power and the other for longer measures of performance—sports cars and more genteel grand tourers tend to diverge according to body type and purpose. At least until now. The newly announced McLaren GT takes the British marque’s track-focused pedigree and pairs it with a kinder, gentler drive experience for a result that stands alone in the company’s pantheon of Sports, Super and Ultimate Series models.
“It’s a totally new categorization for McLaren,” says Rob Melville, McLaren Automotive’s design director. “A true interpretation of a grand tourer whilst remaining completely in line with our design language and heritage as a brand.”
The McLaren GT, scheduled for delivery later this year at a starting price of $210,000, inherits its platform from the 250 mph McLaren Speedtail. The custom, carbon-fiber MonoCell II-T monocoque chassis accommodates a total of 20.1 cubic feet of cargo space—a moving truck compared to the McLaren 600LT’s cubby-like 7.1 cubic feet. Now you can bring your golf clubs, not just the shoes.
But room for more bags isn’t the only boast. The 15-foot two-door has up to 5.1 inches of ground clearance (with lift activated)—similar to that of a sedan—and carries an aluminum, double-wishbone suspension developed specifically for the 3,373-pound car. The latter benefits from Proactive Damping Control that relies on sensors to survey surface conditions ahead and will adjust within two milliseconds. Pilot intent is smoothly translated through electrohydraulic power-assisted steering, cast-iron disc brakes and 21-inch wheels (20 inches at front) wearing Pirelli P Zero tires tailored for both the car’s 203 mph top speed and the demands of long drive days.
Although the McLaren GT’s cabin will have the option of being cocooned in cashmere, the car is no softy, especially when it comes to performance. With a 612 hp, 4-liter twin-turbo V-8—generating 465 ft lbs of torque—the GT jets from zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and has an estimated fuel-efficiency range of nearly 400 miles, proving that sometimes a sprinter can also go the distance.