McLaren wants to change grand touring

2020-02-11 12:34

McLaren Automotive wants to do what it did in the supercar segment – cause utter chaos and push boundaries in the grand tourer segment.

After nine years of causing headaches and some fires in the supercar landscape with the launch of cars such as the MP4-12C, the 675LT, the widow maker, the P1 and most recently the Senna. The British carmaker wants to take on more manufacturers, seems such as Ferrari and Lamborghini are not enough competition.

The company is adding to its wide range of offerings which currently includes:

McLaren's current line-up

Sports Series

– Including the 540C;

– 570S and 570S Spider

– 570GT

– 600LT

Super Series

– 720S

The 675LT also belongs in this category, though it’s sold out in both its coupe and spider form.

Ultimate Series

– Which includes the P1 (sold out)

– P1 GTR

– The Senna

– the Speedtail

The folks from Woking have introduced the GT not to be confused with the 570GT. The McLaren GT is the Grand Tourer of McLarens. A car aimed at the likes of the Bentley Continental GT, BMW M8 and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe.

These cars are traditional GTs, they feature big powerful engines at the front, a 2+2 seating arrangement and a big boot to haul your luggage for long trips across continents. Inside they have traditional materials such as exotic woods and a lot of cows give up their lives to cover their interiors.

These cars are made to go fast and while keeping the occupants cocooned in the finest materials. Yes, their manufacturers claim that these cars can take four people but only tiny humans can enjoy long journeys seating in them.

The new McLaren GT
The new McLaren GT

McLaren, with its GT, is throwing away the script. Firstly, the 4.0l twin-turbo V8 engine which can also be found in other McLaren supercars sits in the middle, like in traditional supercars. They don’t even bother with +2 seating arrange, this GT is for two people only.

Yes, there’s a boot that can take a full set of golf clubs in the back but this GT also offers a frunk (a trunk in the front of the car). It’s leather galore, more than you’ll find in any McLaren, but the car doesn’t way two tons like other cars in its segment. It comes in at around 1 530kg.

The new McLaren GT
Wood for who? The McLaren GT is all about leather and solid aluminium trimmings inside. Picture: McLaren SA

This is because like other McLaren supercars, the GT uses the companies MonoCell II-T carbon fibre monocoque. This, McLaren says, provides “exceptional strength and rigidity while enabling unparalleled driving dynamics”.

Speaking on Saturday at the local launch of the GT in Sandton Adam Gron, McLaren’s automotive retail marketing manager for the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, said that the GT provides an alternative to existing products in an expanding market segment.

The lightness of the GT ensures that it still provides supercar performance. The V8 engine in the GT produces 456 kW and 630 Nm of torque between 5 500 and 6 500 rpm.

More than 95% of that torque is available from 3 000 rpm. “This power comes in a very smooth, very refined and sophisticated way,” Gron said. Power is sent to only the rears wheels by a seven-speed SSG transmission.

This allows the GT to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds, with 200 km/h being dealt with in 9 seconds and if you find a long enough stretch of road (not public of course) the car will accelerate to a top speed of 326 km/h.

The GT is available to order starting at a measly R4.2 million.

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March 29 2020