What is it?
McLaren Automotive will chalk up three profitable years out of a six-year car-making career in 2016 and is apparently in the mood to branch out. Because, besides supercars, hypercars, racing cars, track specials and limited-edition automotive collectors’ pieces, it now also makes grand tourers. Enter the new £154,000 570GT - the McLaren in which to cross continents.
There are grand tourers and grand tourers, of course. Being part of the British car maker's entry-level ‘Sports Series’ family of models and having a mid-mounted engine, a carbonfibre tub and room for two occupants only, the 570GT is evidently a junior supercar with a grand touring bent – and emphatically not the other way around. It’s ostensibly a slightly prettier, richer, more practical, comfortable and refined take on the 570S, a car whose lightness, big-hitting performance and effortless handling dynamism it shares in almost equal quantities.
Inside the engine bay is the same twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 as the one that powers McLaren’s entire production range in one slightly altered form or another, making 562bhp and 443lb ft of torque in this case - exactly what the 570S comes armed with. Driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, that’s enough to put the GT within a couple of tenths of a second of the 570S in acceleration to both 62mph and 124mph – the GT weighing less than 40kg more than its sister car if you option it up just so.
Accounting for that extra weight is a slightly more lavishly appointed cabin than that of the 570S, with some additional items of standard equipment thrown in. Those items include a standard tinted panoramic glass roof, a completely configured rear deck with a side-hinged ‘piano lid’ glass access panel and a leather-trimmed loading area underneath it that adds 220 litres of carrying capacity to the 130 litres you’ll find in the usual place for a McLaren: under the bonnet.
What separates the 570GT from a 570S mechanically can be summed up as a collection of small tweaks to the suspension, steering, running gear and powertrain intended to combine for a greater effect on the character of the car than you might anticipate. Spring rates drop by 15% on the front axle and 10% out back. The car’s adaptive dampers have been retuned for a more comfort-oriented compromise.