It seems McLaren just can’t stop releasing new cars. When the MP4-12C first came out in 2011, who would’ve guessed that 8 years on McLaren would have a lineup of 9 road cars and a couple of track-only specials with more models on the way. 

The all-new McLaren GT landed in Japan this week and represents a whole new type of car for the Woking-based brand. The GT doesn’t slot in any of the existing model lineup consisting of the Sports Series (540C, 570S, 600LT), Super Series (720S), and Ultimate Series (Speedtail, Senna). Instead, the McLaren aims to break the norm with the GT as a sort of more comfortable, usable mid-engine grand tourer. 

Ever since McLaren Automotive came into the scene nearly a decade ago they’ve always been known to push the boundaries and challenge the norm. The technology, materials, and performance of their products caused tremors in the supercar world status quo. With the GT, McLaren is taking aim straight at the likes of Aston Martin, Bentley, and Maserati. 

Powering the GT is the familiar 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from the 720S but with 456kW and 630NM of torque. Mated to the 7-speed SSG dual-clutch gearbox, it’s enough to get the GT from 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 326 km/h, making this one of the fastest GT cars on the market. 

Weight is kept to a minimum thanks to generous use of lightweight materials such as the trademark carbon-fibre Monocell II-T (T for Touring) and aluminium. Even with the larger body and more creature comforts, the GT still weighs in at a respectable 1530kg. McLaren claim a combined fuel consumption of 9.2L/100km. With a 72L fuel tank, there’s plenty of cruising range in this 456kW grand tourer. 

Just as McLaren rewrote the super sports car rule book, they’re taking aim at the traditional approach to the grand tourer with their own interpretation of the breed. “Luxury doesn’t necessarily mean walnut veneer”, says Gorzan Ozbolt, Chief Designer at McLaren Automotive. The GT doesn’t come with wood trim, plush carpets, or useless rear seats. Instead McLaren have focused on refinement inside the cabin, a more compliant ride, and maximising space for luggage. 

The mid-mounted engine has been placed 10mm lower to maximise rear storage space, which is now 420L. In addition to the 150L front luggage compartment gives the GT a combined 570L of luggage space, which is enough for a set of golf clubs and a weekend bag. The car might not have the traditional luxury trimmings but that doesn’t mean the buyers can’t be traditional GT buyers. 

With Japan now being McLaren’s 3rd largest market, behind USA and UK, having sold 1000 units as of May 2019, McLaren Japan won’t struggle to find homes for the GT. Especially with its relatively competitive pricing at ¥26,450,000 ($374,300), it’s on par with the likes of the Bentley Continental GT, Aston Martin DB11, and Ferrari Portofino. Of course, with the distinction of being a mid-engine supercar with butterfly doors. I can’t wait to try one out on the road and see just how much of a cruiser this really is. Watch this space. 

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