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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

A lightweight and rigid carbonfibre tub with a turbocharged V8 hooked up behind it wouldn’t be where most makers of luxury cars would start when designing a modern GT car, but what would happen if you started there anyway? What dynamic advantages could you bestow? And how differently could you meet the brief of a fast, comfortable, distance-devouring luxury driver’s car from how, say, Bentley, Aston Martin or Mercedes-AMG might?

Those are the questions that the McLaren GT sets out to explore. The departure point for this car must have been decided mainly by the art of the possible, of course. It uses a Monocell chassis and aluminium double-wishbone suspension adapted from the firm’s Sports Series cars, and a 4.0-litre engine and hydraulic power steering system adapted from those of the 720S. But exactly how widely those ingredients have been adapted might just surprise you.

High-set arrowhead nose of the GT is a defining part of its styling. It’s also exactly what it looks like: the centre of aerodynamic pressure of the front of the car. Air flows away from it very much like the styling does

The GT is the longest model in the current McLaren series-production range. Measuring 4683mm from nose to tail, it’s 140mm longer than a 720S. Its wheelbase is 5mm longer than that of the 720S or 570S, and its overhangs are both longer, too. McLaren’s intention was to provide better aerodynamic efficiency for the car than its other series models have, as well as a more elegant, less aggressive look.

Powering the car is a version of the firm’s 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, codenamed M840TE. It has a compression ratio some 8% higher than a 720S’s, as well as smaller and more responsive low-inertia turbochargers. So although peak power for the GT is pegged at 612bhp and torque at a peak 465lb ft, some 95% of that torque is available from just 3000rpm. Downstream of the engine, drive goes to the rear axle through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and an open differential.

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The GT is suspended by coil springs, double-valved adaptive dampers and conventional anti-roll bars. Although it uses the same suspension control software as the 720S, it doesn’t use McLaren’s interlinked damping hydraulics.

However, it runs with longer, softer springs and more ground clearance than any other McLaren model. The 130mm of underbody clearance made possible by the car’s optional nose lifter is supposedly enough to rival many saloon cars, making it easy to negotiate urban environments.

A very low kerb weight relative to other modern luxury GT cars is what has given McLaren permission to run with such gentle spring rates, it says. The GT is claimed to weigh as little as 1530kg in running order, and our test car wasn’t much heavier, at 1580kg fully fuelled. A Porsche 911 Turbo S is 60kg heavier still but a Ferrari Roma can be less than 1600kg with the right options, which does throw one of McLaren’s key claims for this car into question.