Parkers VerdictShould you buy a McLaren GT Coupe?

From the moment the power-close door motor seals you in, it’s obvious this is an entirely different sort of McLaren. Usually a maker of focussed, restrained machines that give nothing away to unnecessary weight in the pursuit of ultimate performance, here is one that closes your door for you, Like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Even so this grand tourer is still significantly lighter and more balanced than its rivals, with a construction based around a carbonfibre tub and with its engine mounted in the middle for better weight distribution and agility. As a driver’s car it’s in a different league to a Bentley Continental GT.

That layout should completely harpoon the GT’s practicality, but somehow it manages to offer more capacity between its two boots than its front-engined rivals. It also offers more luggage space than McLaren’s first attempt at this type of car, the 570GT, which was really more of a 570S with a alternative type of boot. This GT feels significantly different to the sports car it is loosely based on.

Then there’s the performance, which is nothing short of ballistic – as you’d expect from a lightweight car powered by a 620hp, 4.0-litre V8. With two turbos. But it’s the delivery of that power that really impresses – it’s so laid back at low rpm that gathering enormous pace is an easy, satisfying and low-stress experience. No need to wring out every last spin of the flat-plane crank, just prod the throttle and go.

So is this the ultimate grand tourer? That largely depends on how you define what is a particularly tricky genre. So is it the last word in wafty comfort, a four-wheeled Orient Express for the road that will whisk you to your destination is lavish luxury? Resolutely no. The GT is the comfiest McLaren, that’s for sure, and an accomplished coupe that impresses in many regards – but it doesn’t feel like a traditional GT in the sense that the Aston Martin DB11, Ferrari GTC4Lusso, never mind the Bentley Continental GT do.

To try and position this car, consider a typical ‘grand tourer’ journey – a long motorway haul to an alpine pass before a week’s skiing trip, or something of that nature. The McLaren will function just fine on the boring miles and then blow you away on more challenging terrain, while rivals offer more comfort between service station stops but can’t hold a candle to the way the GT drives.

So what does this mean for people the real world? Forget the grand tourer marketing image and the GT is simply the most easy-to-live with McLaren on sale. Consider it positioned somewhere among the everyday supercar continuum alongside the Porsche 911 Turbo and Audi R8 and it makes a bit more sense.

Overall it’s still a slightly confusing offering, not least because certain elements like the engine and gearbox still feel stubbornly sports car-like as opposed to long distance mile-muncher, but it ultimately rewards drivers who prioritise outright ability over luxury. Think of it as a slightly more practical gran turismo-ised version of McLaren’s entry-level performance cars and you’re nearer the mark. It goes like a supercar and handles like one, albeit with plenty of space inside for all the necessities for a weekend away.

2019 McLaren GT rear driving blue

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