Tuesday, July 26, 2022


GT is more than just a name and badge, but life with a supercar is not always as good as it looks.


How many times do you want to sit at the lights, going quietly about your business, while someone alongside fills the memory on their smartphone with pictures?

And what about the wannabes who crave a drag race from the wheel of their home-built beater?


And then there is the need for somewhere special, most probably a racetrack, to properly exercise a car that will likely crack the 100k/h limit in Australia in first gear.


Once you get past the gee-whizzery of the sights and sounds that dominate any drive in a Lamborghini or Ferrari, well …


They are hard to park. The cabin access is tight and complicated for anyone with a few years on their bones - and, let's face it - they love petrol the way a politician loves a debate.

It’s true that Ferrari and Lamborghini owners, and I’m not remotely qualified, are likely to have something much more mundane in the garage for their daily drive. 

                                Perhaps a Bentley … 


But there is an antidote to supercar strain.


It’s called the McLaren GT and it’s a daily driver as well as an exotic speed machine.

I have just spent a week with a GT in the UK and I have very few complaints - apart from knowing it will take the thick end of $400,000 to park one in my garage. It’s not a traditional GT as there is not even a dream of back seats and the luggage space is tight, but it’s a car to enjoy for the long haul.


Yes, it can - and will - crack on at a dramatic pace from a 0-100km/h sprint to 3.2 seconds to a top speed of 326km/h (that’s 203 miles-an-hour) and it corners like a white line painted on the road.


But the GT is equally comfortable at a consistent 110km/h cruise, or winding down a narrow country lane, with the ability for an occasional blat to clear its cylinders and the driver’s head.


Confessions first, because I have been a McLaren booster since I drove the company’s original supercar, the 12C, soon after its global debut. It helped that McLaren hosted me at Dunsfold Aerodrome, a deserted airfield that’s best known as the Top Gear test track and hot laps by The Stig.


I was captivated by the car’s restrained design, its twin-turbo V8 engine, the brilliant view from the cabin, and a sublime ride that was more like a luxury car than a track-day speedster.

Now, back at the McLaren Technology Centre just outside of London, there is time for a deep dive into the McLaren road car factory before I get the keys to the GT.

It’s an impressive place, more like a movie set than the Broadmeadows factory that used to crank out Falcons, and the cars are almost totally hand-built with no sign of any robots.


And the car?

It misses the instant impact of a McLaren Senna or sporty Longtail, but the basics are great. It has a carbon-fibre centre section, the same basic bespoke V8 that I remember, old-school rear-wheel drive and a frunk - that’s a front trunk - that swallows plenty of soft luggage.

The layout of the GT puts more carrying capacity over the engine room, so you don’t have the visual impact under the tail or the top-exit exhausts of some McLarens, but it’s worthwhile and welcome.


As for rear seats, that will have to wait for the upcoming SUV. Yes, after a decade of denials and a focus only on sports and supercars, McLaren is now talking openly about a future family hauler.


But back to the GT, as the first few miles - not kilometres - pass in comfort and calm. 


The cabin is roomy for a car like this, the seats are supportive, noise levels are commendably low apart from some road roar from the tyres, and the steering wheel - without a single button or knob - is beautifully crafted and comfortable. I would have this wheel, happily, on every car I drive.

Yes, I give it a couple of cracks. And it romps. It’s not as joyously soulful as a Ferrari, or as flat-out outrageous as a Lamborghini, but it also doesn’t attract attention like a Hemsworth doing the shopping at Byron Bay.


And that’s what I like most about the GT.


It’s an everyday car that has comfort and class, with the ability to go as fast as you like - or dare - on a Sunday fun run.


Frustrations? The satnav is worse than the one in a basic Hyundai and there is no CarPlay, the brake pedal is too close to the accelerator for a left-foot braker like me - something I whinged about in the 12C - and access to the cabin is predictably challenging.


But the ride is sublime in all conditions. You can switch - literally - from mumbling to supercar in a couple of seconds, and the styling allows you to drive without attracting too much attention.

So a Ferrari would be fun, and a Lamborghini is - well - a Lamborghini - but a McLaren is just what you need to combine real-world convenience with serious supercar speed.

Goldilocks? Quite likely.



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