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.
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.