A Brand New Feature
And What A Way To Start!
By Ron Amadon
KENT ISLAND, MD. – “It was like being a kid in a candy store,” said one friend.
I recently had the chance to spend an entire day sampling a number of cars and trucks along Maryland’s picturesque Chesapeake Bay. Staged by WAPA, a local auto writer’s group, it was an extraordinary event that I want to share with you.
So in the Saturdays ahead, there will be a series of “First Drive” reports on a van (of all things), a favorite German sports car, a bold new truck, and a Swedish sedan with an interior that should keep German automakers awake nights.
But first, an incredible beginning! Come along as we scissor ourselves into the McLaren GT!
Here the maker of high performance mid-engine delights decided it was time to make one that owners could use as a daily driver and also be more comfortable on a long trip. The goal was to preserve all the handling, performance and verve that make McLaren a much desired “Powerball” winner’s car while giving it touches of refinement.
One still has to be a bit athletic to climb on board over a wide sill and then close the “dihedral doors” that open with a more upward arc. A pair of eight way electrically adjustable and heated sport seats are covered in high class leather.
Looking up there was a large sunroof covered with film designed to absorb solar radiation while providing additional noise insulation. The specially designed Pirelli P Zero tires reduce noise by up to three decibels, and a quieter exhaust system was also fitted – all to make long distance travel more pleasant.
Controls came quickly to hand. The driving position was laid back, there was a smallish steering wheel, and more than enough roof for my 6’ frame.
A nifty addition was the side-opening rear glass hatch that offers storage on the leather-lined “Touring Deck.” Other features included front and rear parking sensors, an electric steering column with entry/exit function, and soft close doors.
Yet even with the extra refinement there was a satisfying rumble from the mid-mounted V8 upon takeoff.
After all, this is still a high performance car. That 3.8 liter twin turbo V8 that resides just behind your head packs 562 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, that can be ignited with just the slightest twitch of your right foot. The seven speed “seamless-shift” transmission was a delight in my short drive.
How fast is it? Zero to 62 in just 3.4 seconds the maker said and I have no reason to doubt that. Not enough you say? How’s about 0-124 in just 9.8 seconds with a track day top speed of 204 miles per hour. This effort was aided by the GT’s ultra-light weight of just 2,963 pounds thanks to lots of carbon fiber. One G plus on the skid pad is standard.
Why ooooooh why, was there a local with Pentagon approved radar gun on the way back? ARRGH!!!
Operators can tailor their drive with Normal, Sport, and Track operating modes. Dash mounted buttons allow drivers to select their preferred steering, suspension, brakes, and transmission settings.
As Americans, we have a yearning to “have it all.” The GT combines luxury touches, a slightly softer ride, with all the handling and fury, not to mention competition grade brakes that an owner would demand in an exterior design that will turn heads everywhere.
Price? With anything on it, and there will be things you want on it, look for something over $200K.
Best comment: “So it’s a car that you can drive to work in every day. Given its looks you probably don’t want to take it in on a day the shareholders are meeting.”
Full disclosure: I have had a passion for the McLaren brand since their first product hit the showrooms mainly because it tingles all the senses of those who love to drive.
V8, Twin Turbo, 3.8 Liter
562 @ 7500 RPM
443 @ 5000 RPM
Fuel Economy (like this matters)
City 16/Hwy 23/Comb 19 MPG
Bore x Stroke
3.66 x 2.75
Dual Overhead Cam
Valves Per Cylinder
Total Number Valves
Automatic, 7-Spd Seamless Shift Gearbox
Width with Mirrors
Tires / Wheel Size
Rear Tires / Wheel Size
62-0 mph 108 ft
124-0 mph 436 ft