Don’t be put off by the McLaren GT being the ‘entry-level’ offering from the British supercar maker, because this might actually be the pick of the range if you want to drive and use your Supercar for more than just posing or track days.
As ‘base’ models go, £165,000 is still a hugely significant and substantial amount of money, but despite its ‘GT’ or ‘grand tourer’ labelling, this remains a purposeful and sleek supercar to behold, with low slung styling that sweeps back to a visual bulk that expresses potency in the form of a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 supplanted behind the seats.
It’s the same engine you’ll find in its siblings, like the far more ferocious 720S, but has smaller turbos, not that that turns it into a meek motor, not with 612bhp and 630Nm on hand to catapult this car to 62mph from rest in just 3.2 seconds. At nine seconds you’ll have passed 124mph and you’ll keep going till just over 200mph – assuming that is you’re in a place where you can safely and legally do that.
It does not get the blade lights of its more sensational sisters, but you do get scissor doors, huge air intakes and an open mesh grille at the back. Getting in means negotiating a wide sill, and dropping into a tight cockpit, mere millimetres from the ground. Inside you’re greeted by a thick-rimmed flat-bottomed steering wheel, functional instrumentation, vertical touch screen and a slender centre console housing a series of buttons and knobs, marked with words like ‘Engine Start’, ‘Launch’ and ‘Active’.
Delightfully engaging hydraulic power steering – in an era when most car companies have moved to sterile electric systems – means you can push this harder and faster earlier than you might think – this McLaren is friendlier and less intimidating. Hit that Active button, dial everything up and this car will lock onto any line you pick and pulverise it with impressive velocity. I’d wager in the real world, it wouldn’t be much slower than McLaren’s more expensive offerings.
However, the superb ride is comfy, keeping things well damped, despite the rigid set-up that also ensures flat cornering when you need it. The experience is further enhanced by comfy seats that are supportive but not grabby or clingy like some overly tight balti seats. There’s reduced road roar and wind noise, and it’s generally calm on the motorway, as it successfully tries to live up to the ‘GT’ tag.
It’s about as practical as any two-seater can be too – the rear compartment offers 420 litres of volume and while the space is a little shallow, it’s actually designed to accommodate as set of golf clubs. There’s a 150 litre ‘frunk’ too – a deep usable bin under the bonnet with its own light and power socket.
Frankly it’s less feisty more calming demeanour means you can cruise around town in this car, go do some shopping, blast from city to city with serene speed, and generally find yourself using it far more than you might have anticipated – keeping in mind that most people who buy a car like this, would also have at least one other car for more regular daily use. Though it’s possible, just about, that with the McLaren GT, they might just decide to sell the other car after a few delightful days behind the wheel of this great all-rounder.