Club member Tony G, who drives Maserati’s grand tourer, the GranTurismo, gets behind the wheel of McLaren’s luxury equivalent, the GT. Here’s what he thought:
I’ve driven a few cars in my life, the most powerful being 400bhp. However, nothing prepared me for the 612bhp delivered by the addictive twin turbo V8 McLaren GT, loaned to us for this review by McLaren New Forest. A big thank you to them for trusting us with this £200k+ machine.
The McLaren GT silhouette (at any angle) is unmistakably McLaren. Driving around Henley-on-Thames last Friday night confirmed that. People outside bars and pubs enjoying the evening summer heat would pause mouth open, to look as street lights peel off its sleek shape coming out of the night, to then disappear again like a shark back in to the abyss.
To look at it’s low like any supercar but not too low that would make it impractical and me closing my eyes over any speed bump to the sound of carbon fiber scraping over tarmac. Even though the one I drove had the optional lift kit, I only needed to use it a couple of times.
With the doors opening wide and up in the air, it looks like a giant resting butterfly and another thing you’ll notice other than there being no door handles, there’s a lot of glass. It’s deployed all the way over from the windscreen, across the roof and over the back like a Jaguar XK220, right to the rear spoiler. This use of so much glass has made the cabin area feel bright and spacious.
You’d typically find wall-to-wall alcantara in a McLaren however, it’s leather all the way in the GT.
In the one we had, the tan and cream combination on the seats and dashboard complemented the deep blue metal flake of the bodywork together with aluminium trim (an option) over the door frame. The seats are fully electric, heated and have lumbar support for those long drives.
The steering wheel was the smallest of any other car I’ve driven, yet the controls were clear and easily accessible. On the centre console there were two three-way dials each selecting either comfort, sport or track settings. One was for the handling and the other for the power.
By selecting a specific combination of the two, the display readout on the dashboard would change, giving you the best information for your driving mood.
The accelerator and brake pedals were close together and slightly to the left, which took a bit of getting used to. To avoid any unintentional heal-n-toe rallying action, I choose not to wear Dr Martens for the rest of the weekend.
Looking out the front I had an excellent view even though I was sitting quite low to the ground. The door mirrors were thankfully large enough so I could see well behind apart from what was taken up by the huge rear air intakes, an unsubtle reminder that I wasn’t driving an ordinary supercar.
Even though the tailgate is heavily tinted, I could see behind unless I was carrying a set of golf clubs. Yes, the GT is a hatchback, designed to accommodate a set of golf clubs and/or luggage in the back. The only downside is that the engine isn’t on display as it is in all the other McLaren cars. As well as the rear, there is also a spacious luggage compartment under the bonnet.
What’s it like to drive:
Roarrrrr, followed closely by a chuckle and an ear-to-ear grin. That’s what it’s like. Quite simple really!
The whine of those twin turbos as they spool up and the chatter of waste gates is very addictive. It wasn’t a “punch in the back” experience where you’re required to hang on, it’s measured delivery of 612bhp.
However, I didn’t dare put it in either launch or track mode, in fear of letting out a little wee. The hisses and sighs the car made gave me the feeling that it was a living thing, which I liked a lot.
The brakes were very firm, not aggressive, providing feedback up through the pedal. The only way I could describe the feedback through the steering wheel would be that of a go-kart. Although there was power assisted steering, I could sense every crack and dimple in the road through my fingertips.
Is it practical:
I can’t think of any other supercar that has either the space or the pace of the McLaren GT. The designers have managed to tick all the boxes for me.
As a GT, it will seat two in luxury with plenty of luggage space, coupled with outstanding performance and gorgeous looks.
Would I buy it: As hard as I try, I can’t fault it. However, the McLaren GT is beyond my budget at the moment and that’s the one major thing stopping me. However, I think I’ll keep a very close eye on the used market!
This car is aimed to turn anyone looking to buy a DB11, so if you are one of those people, I’d recommend giving the McLaren GT a go.
Still photography by Graham S
A massive thank you to McLaren New Forest for loaning us the car, to Tony for his words and for signing the damage waiver! and to Graham Smart for these fabulous photos. If you share the photos on social media, please tag @forthedriveyt and the club @fmsupercarclub.