McLaren Turns to the Tourer

Sam Kessler (Online Editor)
The British supercar marque try their hand at that holy grail of automotive excellence, the GT

Before the launch of the new sports series, McLaren and practicality didn’t exactly go hand in hand. McLaren and performance, blistering speed and consummate British design yes, but everyday functionality no. That’s never been a bad thing of course and it certainly didn’t slow the P1’s ascent to iconic status. It does however limit how easily you can enjoy it.

But then, if the launch of the sports series has shown us anything, it’s that McLaren understand the limitations of a hypercar. It’s a misnomer to call the 570S a downsized version of its older sibling the 650. It’s just a car with a different overall goal, one that allows you to drive it on a regular basis.

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Yet while sports cars can be made more practical, there’s one type of car that sums up that perfect, precarious balance of performance, comfort and design – the Grand Tourer. A sports car is built for speed, an SUV for practicality. The GT is designed to travel long distances at speed and look good doing it. A much harder brief indeed.

At this year’s Geneva Auto Show McLaren will be showcasing the third and most ambitious addition to their new sports series, the 570GT – the ‘everyday’ McLaren, insofar as any of the marque’s creations can claim that title.

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First of all, it looks the part. Whereas other McLaren’s look like stallions tethered with a piece of string, the 570GT is a lot cooler, calmer and more collected. It’s sleeker and more refined, opting for curves instead of sharp edges, sophisticated bodywork rather than gaping vents.

The panoramic glass roof gives another subtle indication of its intentions. Previous McLarens have always seemed to be headed to the track and, when you’re going at racing speeds, a glass roof isn’t something you would notice, let alone want. As you’re cruising around the winding roads of the Alps however, it opens up the panorama around you, making the most of the drive.

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It’s not just the view that’s different inside; sumptuous leather seats in a range of colours to compliment the exterior, adjustable, heated seats with plenty of support on sharp corners and a spacious, airy feel combine to create a space you’d happily cross continents in. It even has an eight speaker McLaren Audio Plus if you want to soundtrack your road trip.

Not that you need to drown out all that much noise. Sound damping has been added to the cabin so that, even when revving, you don’t get the same raw, animalistic rumble as the sports versions. This is helped further by, surprisingly, the tyres; specially developed Pirelli P Zero™ tyres, to be precise, which reduce in-cabin road noise by up to three decibels.

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There’s one obvious question that needs to be asked: has this emphasis on comfort, of attempting to tone down McLaren’s more outrageous signatures, affected the performance? Not in the slightest. The V8 Twin Turbo is still a frightening force to behold and, even with the extra noise damping, bellows the marque’s signature roar at the slightest press of the accelerator.

This engine, along with the carbon fibre chassis and weight-saving innovations that define a McLaren, can push the GT to incredible speeds. Able to hit 0-62 in just 3.4, climbing to 124 before ten seconds are up, it’s a car that can break the 200mph mark – something only a scant handful of grand tourers can claim.

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That said, with those kind of speeds McLaren need to be careful. A grand tourer needs to be comfortable in every situation and lightning fast speeds aren’t entirely conducive to that, no matter how exhilarating.

The GT has all the same technologically advanced systems as the 570S just tuned to a more relaxed drive, with a particular emphasis on comfort over rough surfaces. Suspension is softer and less jarring, while the electro-hydraulic steering system has been specifically designed to smooth out driver inputs at high cruising speed. The result is a car that can eat vast stretches of road without a bump.

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McLaren’s heritage has been built on bringing the technology and performance it’s dominated the track with over the years to the road. Yet there’s more to the marque than racing speeds; an uncompromising emphasis on hand-assembly and craftsmanship, innovative solutions and technologies and a grasp of the exceptional, all of which have been distilled into the McLaren 570GT.

If there’s ever going to be a McLaren for every occasion, this is it.

The McLaren 570GT will start from £154,000 and will be available later in the year. To make an enquiry, CLICK HERE.


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