Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins, Photos by Garvin St Villier & Logan Visuals
Oh yes, the latest 2021 McLaren GT arrived at Automotive Rhythms (AR) presented in an epic Papaya Spark hue and outlined with the menacing Black Pack for perfect contrasting. The British Grand Tourer offers the comfort required for extended drives and the performance of some of McLaren’s more prestigious models. The sleek and elegant GT is the gateway vehicle into the McLaren family and adds another dimension to the brand’s Super Series, Sport Series, and Ultimate Series.
AR’s weekend tenure with the GT was short but glorious, especially since my model was outfitted with an array of enticing amenities and upgrades for supreme excitement. The rear mid-mounted Grand Tourer pumps out 620-horsepower and blazes 0 to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds. Our McLaren GT loaner also featured carbon-ceramic brakes and staggered 15-spoke Gloss Black forged-alloy performance rims wrapped in jointly engineered 295/30 R21 Pirelli P ZERO tires in the rear and 225/35 R20 Pirelli P ZERO rubber upfront. One notable factor many supercar owners fail to realize is how much braking power and distance is required to deaccelerate a vehicle that can top 203 mph, therefore the upgraded 6-piston and carbon-ceramic package is what I prefer. However, you must depress hard on the pedal for full effectiveness, even at slower speeds.
Like most McLarens, the GT is hypnotically gorgeous and magnetically attracts crowds, as I experienced over the three days of evaluations. The vehicle is definitely pleasant on the eyes. It starts with the Black Pack that includes a choice of wheel finishes, Gloss Black door mirror casings, Gloss Black exterior upper window surround, Gloss Black standard exhaust, or Satin Black sports exhaust finisher. Of course, the intriguing Papaya Spark paint scheme (orange) is striking. And the traditional McLaren butterfly or dihedral doors are as light as a feather. The GT is designed and engineered from bespoke techniques, with 2/3rds of its componentry entirely new for this model. Moreover, it is tailored with a carbon fiber MonoCell-T II chassis, aluminum body panels, a rear tailgate that opens up to showcase storage space (4-piece custom luggage set available), full LED headlamps, and front and rear LED running lights. Also, a front splitter and rear diffuser both attach to the fully enclosed under panel. Lastly, the front trunk is deep and held four large backpacks with ease.
“The new McLaren GT combines competition levels of performance with continent-crossing capability wrapped in a beautiful body and stays true to McLaren’s ethos of designing superlight cars with a clear weight advantage over rivals,” stated Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive. “In short, this is a car that redefines the notion of a Grand Tourer in a way that only a McLaren could.”
With an optimized lightweight chassis, customized engineering, and a new exhaust system with active valves, expect memorable road experiences from behind the wheel. McLaren empowered the GT with a 4-liter all-aluminum twin-turbo V8 stacked in the back and paired it with a 7-speed McLaren Dual-Clutch Gearbox. Clicking the elongated brushed aluminum paddle shifters never felt so good upon acceleration. An “ACTIVE” button switches on the Active Dynamics Panel and allows you to adjust the transmission and suspension characteristics into Comfort, Sport, or Track mode. But keep in mind this is not a track-specific GT; it is purposely built for public road usage. I kept the vehicle in Sport mostly because there was always a reason for quick takeoffs. Operators can also select “Manual” mode which allows you to shift the long gears without the transmission automatically and prematurely upshifting. Amazingly you can fly up to 95 mph in 3rd gear before hitting redline. For downforce, the spoiler receives needed air from the massive side intakes embedded in the GT’s hips. They also create an air blanket to chill the luggage bay (since it covers the engine) and cool off the rear.
Once you slide under the doors into the GT, the cockpit conforms to your physique with a clean, sporty steering wheel, racing seats, an electrochromic panoramic glazed roof, machined and knurled aluminum switches and controls, and Nappa leather, softgrain leather or Alcantara. The portrait screen of the McLaren audio system and 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system provide your infotainment. When reversing, imagery from the backup camera shows on a screen over the steering wheel. I was also fond of the “Vehicle Lift” feature that is essential for supercars and their lowered bodies. It made me feel much more confident riding up steep driveways and over speed bumps.
Expect an MSRP of $215,500, excluding the $3,195 transportation and port processing charge. Our model totaled $248,525, including all available options and fees. With highly touted British sprinters such as the 570S, 720S, Senna, and the P1 on McLaren’s Olympic relay team, the GT adds a formidable runner that can take the first leg of the 4×100 and perform admirably for the creator of luxury high-performance sportscars and supercars.