IT may not be as rich in features as cars even half its value, but a supercar is just so full of character with its loud presence and aggressive styling, you are more forgiving of any inadequacies it may have.
That’s certainly the case with the McLaren GT, considered the not-so-fierce model of the fleet. Its shape, still unmistakably that of a supercar, is perhaps a little less over-the-top intimidating and flashy, but only just by a little bit.
After the initial roar of waking, that rouses the neighbourhood, the 4-litre V8 settles into a less ferocious beast. The mid-engined 2-seater sits low, but is not so low that you’re going to scratch the underside on the slightest of road imperfections.
Designed for street running, the practical inputs include a reasonable ground clearance, although, once you’re on the comfortable napa covered seat, just about all the other vehicles on the road seem to be much higher up, as you zip by them with a chortling gurgle.
Far From Perfect
The McLaren GT may not have mirrors on the sun visors, blind spot monitors, head up display, electric seats or Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but it does have those wonderful doors that lift up like welcoming wings, and a definite presence on the road.
It sports a super price tag to match, just short of the million-dollar mark*, jacked up no doubt by the latest round of luxury taxes kicking in after the recent Budget 2022 measures.
Ah, but this is enjoyment that only money can buy.
The entry-level McLaren GT delivers a balanced performance that makes it almost practical as a daily car. The mid-engine layout allows for storage at the back and in the front, which should be more than adequate for the two occupants in the car.
Weighing in at just 1,530kg the McLaren GT is built around a lightweight carbon fibre chassis. Hence, the 4-litre M840TE engine delivers 456kW of power, which gets you from 0-100kmh in just 3.2 seconds. That’s about the blistering speed of a high-end electric vehicle, except it comes with full-on surround sound to celebrate its V8 engine, accompanied by that momentous momentum. It’ll hit 200kmh in 9 seconds, quicker than many cars can get to half that speed.
The exhilaration of acceleration is thus a total package as you charge ahead, if you can, to a top speed of 326kmh.
Equipped with enough real-world gear to allow for a comfortable drive on public roads, the GT is driver-skewed. The floating touchscreen is functional and efficient, even if its design isn’t as snazzy as the rest of the car.
The clean steering wheel, devoid of buttons and gadgets, means you still have to rely on switches on the centre console and a small touchscreen on the dashboard. There is also a small screen that pops up on the display when you’re reversing, but that might have been better placed on the centre dash, since the steering wheel obscures your view of what the cameras are showing you.
Everything is neatly laid out using attractive buttons and switches that are large enough to be handled without being out of place. The buttons on the centre console offer clear options for how you’d like to set up the car. You can press the desired button and switch to your preferred setting, and there’s the sweet Launch control button to set your pulse racing and adrenaline flowing. Get busy with the paddle shifters and enjoy the drops in gears as the GT readies itself for the next corner.
The rear-wheel-driven GT confidently flies into corners, no twitching nor uncertainty about how it will negotiate the twists and turns. The more, the merrier…maybe not for the passenger. The swift, measured response to stepping on the accelerator results in some smooth power delivery that allows for hassle-free handling.
But it’s also good to note that while the engine offers a great accompanying soundtrack to the drive, it’s not overpowering and intrusive, which allows you to appreciate the Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
But when the auto engine on/off kicks in at a traffic light, the silence can be sudden, and unexpected. You soon miss the palpable throb of the engine, and quickly get it up and running again, such is the infectious appeal of the McLaren GT.
McLaren GT RATING
*Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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