This might be the first McLaren road car in which how fast you’re able to go has been considered of secondary importance to how you’re able to go fast; and how much you’re able to enjoy what you’re doing even when you’re going slowly, for that matter.
The facets of its performance that have been really sweated over, McLaren says, are things like the feel and progression of its brakes, the low-end engine response and drivability of its engine, and the flexibility and audible richness of the exhaust note.
However, for reasons we’ll come to explain, we have doubts that the GT would be quite as hushed at a fast cruise as you might like a continent-crossing long-distance machine to be. One revision that would plainly pay off for a GT owner is how much more flexible the car’s performance is than the McLaren norm. The car’s 4.0-litre engine still feels like a significantly over-square, fast-revving, flat-cranked V8, and still revs beyond 8000rpm, but unlike other McLaren V8s it also wakes up and boosts from as little as 3000rpm, so you don’t feel the need to manage the gearbox constantly or keep the revs high to make it responsive.
The gearbox shifts cleverly and engages smoothly, too, so the GT certainly begins to feel instantly, breezily brisk across the ground, often rolling on quickly without even needing a downshift. It is, in some ways, a more relaxing McLaren. It’s fast in outright terms, too.