McLaren’s GT shifts focus toward ride comfort


McLaren Automotive has revealed the GT, a grand tourer model with a greater focus on covering longer distances in comfort at high speed, and with more luggage than the company’s other vehicle ranges. Like the rest of the McLaren range, the GT has a carbon fibre structure for strength, rigidity and weight optimisation, while also enabling excellent driving dynamics. However, the dynamics team has been busy tweaking the vehicle’s setup for a more balanced, everyday feel.

At 1,530kg (DIN), the McLaren GT is claimed by the company to be more than 130kg lighter than its closest core competitor (McLaren does not specify the make and model). However, what we do know is that with 620PS from its 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, the power-to-weight ratio of the McLaren GT is 405PS-per-tonne. We can also confirm that UK pricing starts at £163,000, including taxes.

The bespoke MonoCell II-T monocoque – the T denoting ‘Touring’ – incorporates a carbon fibre rear upper structure that adds minimal weight but allows the creation of a 420-litre luggage area below the front-hinged, full-length glazed tailgate. Reflecting the greater focus on comfort, the tailgate has a soft-close function as standard and can even be optioned as electrically powered. The low height of the engine and positioning of the exhaust system has allowed the volume, shape and usability of the luggage bay to be optimised. A golf bag (natch) or two pairs of 185cm skis and boots as well as luggage can be carried in the space, while a further 150 litres of storage at the front brings the GT’s total luggage space to 570 litres.

As well as vehicle dynamics benefits, the strength of the carbon fibre core structure means that glazed C-pillars and rear-quarter windows can be incorporated into the design, enhancing rearward vision and bringing more light into the cabin. Interior comfort is further enhanced by the electrically adjustable and heated seats, which are optimised for long-distance comfort, with increased padding, shoulder and back support and lateral control.

In terms of dynamics, the suspension, steering and brakes are all bespoke to the GT and optimised for a grand touring driving experience, combining balance, responsiveness and precision with ride comfort. The suspension is an aluminium, double wishbone design, paired with hydraulic dampers to deliver Proactive Damping Control. Governed by the Optimal Control Theory software algorithm developed for the 720S, the suspension uses inputs from sensors to ‘read’ the road, interpreting what will likely happen next and reacting predictively within 2ms.

Body movement is tailored for occupant comfort, with vertical load and contact patch variation optimised to enhance grip levels. Each of the three active dynamics handling modes – Comfort, Sport and Track – has its own distinct set of parameters to reflect the selected preference. The GT also features unique engine mounts that are half the stiffness of those in the track-focused McLaren 600LT, which helps to minimise structure-borne noise, while low-frequency sounds emitting from the carbon fibre structure are reduced rather than amplified into the cabin in the way that they are in the McLaren Senna.

Driving feel is further enhanced by the hydraulic steering system, which uses a single software ‘map’ across Comfort, Sport and Track modes and also provides increased assistance at low speeds to make urban driving and parking a little easier, without loss of feedback at higher speeds.

Comfort features include ambient lighting and an optional electrochromic glazed panel in lieu of the standard carbon fibre composite gloss black roof, which can be darkened or lightened at the touch of a button. Nappa leather trim is standard, which can be upgraded to softgrain luxury leather or Alcantara. Cashmere will become available as an additional choice towards the end of 2019 – the first time that this exclusive material has been used in a production vehicle

“The new McLaren GT delivers the dynamic performance and driving exhilaration expected of a McLaren but is also an exceptionally refined vehicle,” stated Darren Goddard, McLaren’s vehicle line director for the GT. “We’re particularly proud of the Proactive Damping Control suspension, which utilises the next generation of our pioneering Optimal Control Theory to deliver levels of ride comfort that better all previous McLarens. Overall, the breadth of ability demonstrated by the new McLaren GT – especially its everyday usability – is truly remarkable.”

Share this story:

About Author

Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

Comments are closed.