Altered animal or not, this mid-engined car’s true calling cards remain the incisiveness and purity of its handling. Long-legged luxury cruisers aren’t, by and large, anything like as precise, agile and lithe-feeling as this on sweeping roads, and they don’t deliver control feedback to your palms as faithfully.
Although the GT has McLaren’s usual three-position dynamics controller, it actually has only one calibration for its hydraulic power steering. And by simplifying their mission, McLaren’s development engineers have arrived at a steering compromise here that has ideal weight and pace; the former remaining constant even at low speeds for easy manoeuvring, and the latter as moderate and measured as ever. The steering filters out some wearing influences of camber and bump from the surface of the road but still gives plenty of information to come through, so you can gauge the car’s grip level really clearly at speed.
Despite the allegedly soft suspension, the GT hardly rolls when cornering at normal road speeds and it responds with crispness to steering inputs and settles smartly on its outside wheels. Vertical body control isn’t always so closely composed, but rarely is it seriously flustered by a mid-corner disturbance, so the GT can be placed accurately at all times and generally puts you at ease at speed. It sacrifices a shade of the rapier immediacy on turn-in that we’re used to from other McLarens, but plenty is left to impress.
High-speed handling stability is good, although outside-lane motorway composure is a little dependent on the selected dynamic mode. Comfort mode made the GT a bit too susceptible to long-wave body movement for the tastes of most testers, and while Sport stops the oscillation, it introduces unwanted bite in the primary ride. In neither setting is the easy, fluent poise and progressive high-speed body control you’d hope for in this car quite as perfectly conjured as it might be.