It’s been nearly three years since the McLaren GT made its global debut during the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Since then, Woking’s grand tourer hasn’t seen many significant changes or updates. However, its closest competitors have certainly been hard at work. Porsche delivered with the 911 Turbo S, Bentley gave us a new Continental GT Speed, and Aston Martin stuffed a V8 under the hood of its DB11.
Coincidentally, I’ve found myself behind the wheel of practically all of the McLaren GT’s closest competitors over the last six months. I got into the British supercar last out of the lot. Thankfully, the GT has plenty going on in its favor, such as its powerful twin-turbocharged V8, silky smooth suspension, and a unique driving position in its segment. Even with a price that easily surpasses $250,000 with options, Woking’s best makes a strong case for why it should be the top dog.
McLaren GT Design
At a glance, it would be easy to dismiss the new 2022 McLaren GT as just another supercar. However, peel back its skin, and you get a car that differs significantly from its closest competitors and its siblings. It all starts with the GT’s carbon-fiber chassis called Mono Cell II-T. While all of the brand’s current road-going vehicles feature a chassis made from this lightweight material, the GT’s is unique. McLaren’s engineers added a new upper structure that expands interior storage and passenger space. The result is 20.1 cubic feet of luggage room, including the front storage compartment. This means more than enough room for luggage during a road trip.
Dimensionally, these changes in the name of interior space also impact the car’s exterior. Thanks to its new structure alongside longer front and rear overhangs, the GT is over 15-ft long, making it one of the largest McLarens currently on sale. Despite its size, the GT is far from heavy. Thanks to lightweight materials, this grand tourer’s chassis only weighs 192 lb, resulting in a total curb weight of 3,384 lb.
Its looks then are less chiseled, more so draped over its purposeful structure. However, that doesn’t mean that the GT isn’t a stunning thing to look at. There’s still plenty of clever aero work tucked away in its bumpers and sides. These elements simultaneously channel air over and through the car, leading into its enormous side pods and rear upper intakes. Despite all the clever science at play, the GT elegantly accomplishes its aero goals. You won’t find a harsh, overly angular line anywhere on its bodywork.
On the flip side, the GT’s styling is somewhat tame, signaling a clear departure from current segment trends. However, this will be a winning strategy in the long run. Thanks to its designer’s show of restraint, the GT doesn’t need to yell or have five spoilers to command attention. Instead, it draws the eye in and invites you to scan around to see if you can spot all of its intricate details, all before you even step in.
McLaren GT Performance
It’s a good thing the McLaren GT looks like a supercar because it certainly behaves like one. Powering it is a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 developing 612 horsepower and 465 foot-pounds of torque. Thanks to its low curb weight, the GT can rocket to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds before continuing to a top speed of 203 mph. Its quick pace primarily comes down to its seamless seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. With its lightning-fast shifts and instant response, it’s one of the best in the business. Like its more powerful sibling, the 720S, the GT’s rear wheels get all the power.
On the road, it’s hard to tell that the GT represents McLaren focusing on anything other than outright speed. The GT is still one of the quickest cars I’ve ever tested. While peak torque comes in at 5,500 rpm, 95 percent of it is available at as low as 3,000 rpm. As you put your foot down, there’s only a split second of lag before the turbos wake up, and you’re into hyperspace. The GT accelerates hard. However, its transmission doesn’t clunk around. The entire experience is seamless. Carving up canyons at the upper end of the rev range is where the GT comes alive. Its turbo V8 is eager to play, delivering instant response, and even singing a lovely song through my tester’s optional upgraded exhaust.
While it impresses in a straight line, the GT is a more than willing dance partner through the corners. Despite being slightly longer than a 720S, you can’t tell on the road. The GT behaves quite similarly to its more powerful sibling. It delivers excellent front-end agility and a level of stability that would make you swear there’s a wing outback. Body roll is also non-existent, thanks mainly to the GT’s proactive chassis control. It scans the road ahead and adjusts the car’s adaptive dampers as quickly as two milliseconds. The result is a car that never seems to lose its composure and thus inspires confidence in its driver.
Speed aside, the GT is an exercise in sensations as well. Thanks to its electro-hydraulic steering, you get constant feedback from the road. As far as modern supercars go, McLaren easily still has the best steering in the segment. The brakes aren’t half bad either. They’re carbon ceramics, as expected for the price point. However, they feel like they’re out of a race car. Push in the pedal, and you don’t get much stopping power. It takes a good confident stomp to slow the GT down. This firmness allows for easy pedal modulation and quick feedback as you start to trigger the ABS. Combine these elements with the power mentioned above and handling characteristics, and you get a car that delivers fun on a silver platter.
While the GT will happily carve up canyons without a care in the world, that’s perhaps not even its most impressive aspect. Despite being properly agile in the bends, a change in drive mode makes it one of the most comfortable sports cars I’ve ever driven. Full stop, the independent suspension, and adaptive dampers are pure magic, even putting some modern luxury cars to shame. Not even Los Angeles’ ruined streets could phase the GT. This is the car you can drive for 10 hours across multiple states in complete comfort. On the highway, this supercar glides over imperfections in a way it really shouldn’t be able to. If I had to plan a cross-country road trip, the GT would be my weapon of choice.
McLaren GT Interior
The McLaren GT’s suspension does all the heavy lifting so its interior can thrive. Thanks to its modified structure, there’s ample space for passengers and luggage alike. I’d wager that most people can find a comfortable driving position aboard the GT. Thankfully my tester featured the most comfortable seat options available. While they lacked a bit of side bolstering, they were nicely cushioned and quite comfortable on long drives. Thanks to big glass windows and an auto-dimming electrochromic roof, the GT’s cabin feels airy and open, getting as far away from claustrophobic as a supercar possibly can.
Build quality-wise; it’s clear that McLaren has nailed its interiors. The last time I drove a GT was back in 2020 during lockdown. That particular press vehicle had more than a few imperfections, especially premature wear on its leather surfaces. It was a significant improvement as I stepped back into a GT in 2022. With no squeaks, rattles, or imperfection, it’s safe to say that the British carmaker has made major strides towards overall quality. There was even low road noise permeating through the cabin. At speed, the GT is as quiet as it is comfortable.
Tech-wise, the GT is lagging behind some competitors, namely in smartphone connectivity. Neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto is available as optional extras. While McLaren’s infotainment system is intuitive and easy to use, it sometimes lags when switching through various menus. On the plus side, the digital instrument cluster in front of the driver is excellent, delivering plenty of information and tons of adjustability through the car’s various driving modes.
McLaren GT Pricing
The McLaren GT starts at $200,000 in the U.S. However, with optional extras, my tester’s price tag surpasses $250,000. This puts it directly in line with the Porsche 911 Turbo S, Bentley Continental GT, and Aston Martin DB11, which start around $200,000. Choosing between these machines is next to impossible at this price point as they’re all excellent at what they set out to achieve.
Within its segment, the GT and the Turbo S are perhaps the most alike, easily tackling twisty roads and big highways in absolute comfort. However, the GT’s form factor helps set it aside. With a more traditional supercar layout, stepping inside a GT feels more special than its competitors. Additionally, the GT is the right car for most occasions, thanks to its ability to tiptoe between a proper supercar and a grand tourer. So while I wouldn’t take it on a track to squeeze out the quickest times, it’s the one that motivates me the most to go out and drive, and if racking up fun miles is the goal, the GT is the right tool for the job.