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New 2019 McLaren GT revealed to take on the Bentley Continental GT

The McLaren GT is the Woking brand’s new Grand Tourer, combining 612bhp with 570 litres of storage and cashmere seats

This is the new McLaren GT: a car which, according to the Woking brand, will deliver the same continent-crossing comfort of the likes of the Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin DB11, but in a lighter, faster and more exciting package. 

The GT is the first McLaren model to be classified as a Grand Tourer, joining the existing Sports, Super and Ultimate Series models. As the name suggests, it places greater emphasis on refinement and practicality than any previous McLaren.

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But, on paper at least, the extra comfort hasn’t come at the expense of performance. The GT will accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds, 0-124 in nine and on to a top speed of 203mph. Those figures come courtesy of a mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 - the unit used by the flagship 720S, albeit in a lower state of tune.

Peak power stands at 612bhp, while the 630Nm maximum torque is spread from 5,500rpm and 6,500rpm. Illustrating the new unit’s driveability, McLaren says 95 per cent of that peak output is available between 3,000 and 7,250rpm. To maintain the Grand Tourer brief, it’s attached to the chassis with engine mounts that are half as stiff as those in a 600LT, reducing noise and vibration. The gearbox is a seven-speed, twin clutch unit, sending drive exclusively to the rear axle. 

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There’s a raft of other features designed specifically to make the GT as usable as possible every day. The brakes and steering are calibrated to operate with ease at low speeds, while a 110mm ground clearance should allow for fairly stress-free urban driving. A hydraulic lift system for the suspension can raise that further to 130mm - saloon car-levels of clearance, according to McLaren.

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A proactive adaptive damping system can scan the road ahead and prime the supenson for bumps to give the smoothest ride possible in Comfort mode. However, Sport and Track modes are still on hand for when the road gets exciting.

Like the rest of the McLaren range, the GT uses a carbon fibre ‘MonoCell’ monocoque tub. As well as contributing to a kerbweight of just 1,530kg - over 200kg lighter than an Aston Martin DB11 V8 - its inherent rigidity boosts practicality, too. The opening for the glass tailgate can be made wider, granting access to a 420-litre boot that’s large enough to store, among other things, two pairs of 185cm skis. Combined with a smaller front boot, the GT offers an overall storage capacity of 570 litres.

Design wise the GT gets the latest evolution of McLaren’s nose, utilising a slimmer pair of headlights similar to the ones equipped on the Speedtail hypercar. Elsewhere, the engine is fed air by large, boxy vents sitting ahead of the rear axle. The glasshouse is large and features a long rear window, while the GT’s rear end differentiates itself with a set of slimp horizontal LED strip taillghts and a body coloured rear fascia.

Inside, the cabin is linked closely to the 570S the GT shares its DNA with. Unique to the GT, however, are a pair of electrically adjustable and heated seats, which can be trimmed in leather, alcantara or - for the first time in a production car - cashmere. 

The seven inch infotainment system sits in a portrait layout, but is installed with McLaren’s latest software which incorporates real time traffic info and more accurate mapping data. Audio duties (beyond the V8 engine) are catered for by a 12-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system.

Orders for the McLaren GT are open now, with prices starting from £163,000. First deliveries are due in late 2019.

Would you pick the new McLaren GT over the Bentley Continental GT? Let us know your thoughts below...

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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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