What Car? says...
When you think of a car that is ‘fit for purpose’, your mind probably doesn’t jump to the image of a six-figure Grand Tourer. But perhaps it should? After all, GTs only have to do two things, and do them well; they should be Grand, (which, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means ‘magnificent and imposing in appearance, size, or style’), and they must be able to ‘Tour’ (make ‘a journey for pleasure, during which several different towns, countries, etc. are visited’), effortlessly at high speed.
Design a car to this checklist and you’ll no doubt end up with a large coupé with an imposing stance, a powerful, large-capacity engine up front, a spacious interior in the middle and a capacious boot in the rear. It’s a well-proven recipe. So why, you might ask, has McLaren decided to design its new Grand Tourer – creatively dubbed the ‘GT’ – around the same mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V8 engine and a two-seat carbon-fibre tub as its 720S Supercar?
Well, the theory is that a lightweight mid-engined car will always handle better than a heavy front-engined GT, such as the Aston Martin DB11 and Bentley Continental GT. And, while such a layout isn’t inherently ‘practical’, McLaren’s Woking based engineering team lives to tackle such challenges.
Therefore, much of the GT is completely new. While the four-litre engine’s design is shared by the 720S supercar, the GT’s version has smaller turbos and more compact plumbing, allowing a smoother power delivery and freeing up space for a surprisingly large boot under the GT’s glass tailgate. The carbon-fibre chassis has also been tweaked to make getting in and out as easy as possible, the interior is swaddled in fine grain leather, and a supple suspension setup has been selected.
It’s an intriguing concept, and one that McLaren has clearly put massive time and resource into. But the question remains: can a car with the heart and skeleton of a supercar really cut it as a true GT? Read on to find out. And don’t forget, even if you’re not in the market for a McLaren, there's a good chance we can save you a few quid on your next new car if you check out our New Car Buying pages.