McLaren's first true grand tourer glides into South Africa
Johannesburg - McLaren’s sports cars are, as a rule, more about performance and dynamics than comfort and practicality, and when a compromise needs to be made the pendulum almost always swings in favour of the former factors.
But the new McLaren GT, launched in South Africa over the weekend with a base price of R4.2 million, is a little different.
Defined as the British sportscar maker’s first true grand tourer, the GT has a bit more space to accommodate active lifestyles. A key factor here is the 420 litre rear luggage compartment that can fit a golf bag or skis, and there’s also a ‘frunk’ upfront that can swallow an additional 150 litres of kit.
Furthermore, McLaren has optimised the ride height and ground clearances for everyday use, along with the steering and braking settings.
In keeping with this focus on comfort and luxury, the GT is kitted out with McLaren’s most advanced infotainment system to date, featuring Here navigation mapping and real-time traffic info, and buyers can spec it up with items such as a 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system.
Luxurious as it may be, the GT was still designed to be more dynamic than your average grand tourer. It’s a McLaren after all.
Power comes from a rear-mounted 4-litre twin-turbo V8 that pushes 456kW at 7500rpm and 630Nm from 5500 revs. That's enough to get it from zero to 100km/h in 3.2 seconds, according to factory claims.
Designed to keep weight to a minimum, the GT is crafted around a lightweight MonoCell II-T carbon fibre structure and the body panels are made from aluminium.
The suspension seeks to find the best balance between comfort and outright agility, and the key ingredient here is a new Proactive Damping Control adaptive suspension system.
“The new McLaren GT combines competition levels of performance with continent-crossing capability, wrapped in a beautiful body and true to McLaren’s ethos of designing superlight cars with a clear weight advantage over rivals,” said McLaren’s CEO Mike Flewitt.
“Designed for distance, it provides the comfort and space expected of a Grand Tourer, but with a level of agility never experienced before in this segment. In short, this is a car that redefines the notion of a Grand Tourer in a way that only a McLaren could.”
Regional Managing Director Brett Soso added: “We are extremely proud to unveil the new McLaren GT in Johannesburg. Our goal with the GT was to offer a McLaren alternative in the Grand Touring category and extend the appeal of our brand to a new audience.
"The result is a car with the best power-to-weight ratio in class but also enhanced luggage capacity and high levels of everyday usability. I am confident that this sophisticated vehicle will appeal to both our existing and new customers in the market.”