Attempting to disrupt the GT-car market is no straightforward task. Mention the Rolls Royce Wraith, Bentley Continental GT, Aston Martin DB11, Mercedes AMG GT, or Ferrari Roma to a knowledgeable petrolhead and you’re bound to receive a thumbs up or an approving commentary. Each one is, in their own way, beautifully engineered and masterfully designed. But, undeterred by such a flurry of exceptional competition, British supercar manufacturer, McLaren Automotive have set about reinterpreting the formula, crafting their vision of contemporary ‘grand-touring’ with the exquisite McLaren GT.

Building on a successful recipe, the GT possesses the well-known Ricardo-manufactured four-litre twin-turbo V8 that has powered every McLaren road-car in one form or another since the MP4-12C in 2011. Generating 612bhp, 630Nm torque, and with a top speed of 204mph, the GT gives you all the performance you’d expect from a company that utilises so much race-derived technology in its road cars. And this is arguably what differentiates McLaren from its peers. It has racing baked into its DNA.

When racing-fanatic Bruce McLaren first set foot on British soil, he quickly made a name for himself not only as an epic driver, but an incredibly competent engineer. Following a long list of victories driving for the Cooper Grand Prix Team, the Kiwi set up Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in 1963 – an outfit that would go on to win multiple times in both Europe and the States. Whether it was Cam-Am, Le Mans, or Formula One, McLaren at times dominated all of them. This is a legacy that has contributed to McLaren giving its drivers the metal to win twelve F1 world championship titles. Impressive stuff.

While it would be a step too far to suggest that the GT is some kind of ‘reincarnation’ of Bruce’s career, it is important that we view it in the context of McLaren’s whole identity. The company themselves state that its cars are developed in such a way as to enable racing-learnings to help to shape the driving dynamics and driving ‘feel’ of its vehicles.

With a bespoke MonoCell II-T carbon-fibre tub, the GT separates itself from its rivals by deploying technology which is technical, expensive, and time-consuming to produce. The length that McLaren goes to ensure that its cars hold the highest levels of chassis composure, rigidity, and, most importantly, lightness, is what makes its cars so confidence-inspiring down a British B-road.

In addition to the complex carbon architecture, dihedral doors that swing open, swan-like, not only add theatre, but, surprisingly, make it easier to get out of a tight parking space compared to conventional doors. And although the GT does without the 720S’s complicated hydraulic suspension, an all-new Proactive Damping Control which predicts the road ahead and adapts accordingly makes the GT sufficiently comfortable for a longer-trip whilst giving you the opportunity to attack a twisty country road should the occasion arise.

McLaren is an enigma. Its history is not as long as that of Ferrari or Aston Martin, which some might argue gives its cars less charm and character. But they’re wrong. As a unique take on the GT-car, the McLaren GT offers up a truly sporty, pure, theatrical, useable package, allowing its owner to leave their SUV in the garage and take the sports car instead. Sure, it’s something a bit different, but you’re not saying that McLaren achieved all those world titles without innovation…

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