McLaren GT Review & Prices

The McLaren GT is a softer, comfier sort of McLaren, but that doesn’t mean it’s as smooth and soothing as some other high-speed grand tourers. It’s more fun to drive than most, but that does come at the cost of some refinement

McLaren GT alternatives
There are currently no deals for this model on Carwow, but you can find and compare great deals on new and used alternatives to the McLaren GT.
wowscore
8/10
Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Supercar performance and handling
  • Surprisingly practical
  • Gorgeous cabin

What's not so good

  • Fiddly and unreliable touchscreen
  • Not as refined as it should be for long journeys
  • Key tech, like adaptive cruise, is not available

Find out more about the McLaren GT

Is the McLaren GT a good car?

The McLaren GT is a bit like a fancy pair of sunglasses, in that it takes an old-fashioned idea (in this case whipping you and a friend across Europe, with luggage, in comfort) and updates it with a sleeker shape and light weight materials. 

The GT’s carbon-fibre chassis and 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 engine are basically the same as those used by other McLaren products, including the scary-fast 750S, but here they’re tuned to be a little more accessible to mere mortals, as well as being more affordable. And, yes, practical. For a mid-engined two-seat car, at any rate. 

That carbon chassis means that it’s much, much lighter than cars such as the Aston Martin DB12 or the massive Bentley Continental GT, which means that it’s way, way more agile in corners and much sportier to drive. However, the flipside of that is that the McLaren isn’t — can’t be — as comfortable and refined on a long drive as the big Bentley. It kind of depends on where your driving priorities lie — speed? Or silence?

The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine actually uses smaller turbos than the more powerful McLaren 765LT or 750S models — really smaller, physically, not just turned down a bit. In fact, the engine has been redesigned quite a bit to make it both quieter and smaller, to make the GT more refined and roomier. Mind you, it can still rev to 8,200rpm, produces 620hp and 630Nm of torque, and the GT accelerates to 62mph in just 3.2secs.

It feels light, nimble, agile. It might not be the most cosseting long-distance cruiser, but when you can have fun in it like this, frankly all is forgiven

It’s not as wild-looking as some other McLaren models, and you don’t get the active rear wing of S or LT models – instead, there’s a fixed ‘ducktail’ rear spoiler built into the bodywork – but it’s still a very attractive car, and looks striking, arguably better at the rear than at the toned-down front end. It’s nice, too, that every vent or duct on the bodywork is properly functional too, and not just there for decoration. 

The GT is astonishingly practical for a two-seat supercar. Spread around the various ends of the body and through the cabin, there’s actually 570 litres of storage space. That’s almost as practical as an Audi A6 Avant, although the Audi doesn’t make you split your luggage up into lots of tiny bags. You can fit in a full set of golf clubs though, or even a set of skis. 

Inside, you’ll find Nappa leather seats, lots of carbon-fibre trim, and a small, upright touchscreen that uses McLaren’s own in-house developed infotainment system. Is that as reliable and easy to use as those of other major car makers? Er…

Could you actually save money on a rare beast like a McLaren GT? With carwow you can! Check out our McLaren deals page or have a look at the latest used McLaren models available through our trusted dealer partners. And don’t forget to check the resale value of your current car if you’re looking to trade-in. 

How much is the McLaren GT?

The McLaren GT is, by any normal standards, a very expensive car indeed. And that’s in its base form, before you start adding on any optional extras or special paint finishes. In fact, McLaren has an entire bespoke division, MSO, which can turn your GT into precisely the car you want it to be, for a consideration…

However, within the rarefied world of this sort of car, the GT isn’t actually all that badly priced. In fact, it’s ever so slightly more affordable than its most important rival, the front-engined Ferrari Roma. It’s also way cheaper (relative term…) than the new Aston Martin DB12, and significantly undercuts the Bentley Continental GT as well. Plus, you have to consider the fact that you’re getting the same carbon-fibre chassis and the same V8 engine as McLaren’s far more expensive models. So yes, the McLaren GT is expensive, but in relative terms it’s actually a bit of a bargain.

Performance and drive comfort

The McLaren GT is astonishingly good to drive on the right road, with supercar performance and sharp steering and brakes. It’s also surprisingly useable around town, but it trades off too much refinement on a longer run

In town

Town driving isn’t supposed to be what a mid-engined sports car is good at, but the McLaren GT can spring a surprise here. It has a very low-set dashboard and a short nose, especially compared to the likes of the Aston Martin DB12, so you’ve got much better visibility for dealing with awkward junctions. Added to which is the fact that in spite of the mid-engined layout, the GT actually has pretty good all-round visibility, although the dash can reflect really annoyingly in that big, flat windscreen. McLaren has had a reputation – ever since the original MP4/12-C – of producing mid-engined sports cars with uncommonly good ride quality, and that goes double for the GT. Leave the adaptive suspension in its Comfort mode and the GT really is very soothing and easy-going on the spine around town. The steering is well-judged – not to light, not too heavy – while the brakes are don’t jerk when you need to slow down. Even the turning circle’s not bad. On the downside, a reversing camera costs extra, but has rubbish cheap-looking resolution when you do pay for it. What’s good, though, is that there’s a lift-kit, which raises up the nose of the GT for tackling speed bumps, and which gives the car the same approach angle as a Mercedes C-Class saloon. 

On the motorway

The combo of the GT’s excellent seats and that clever suspension system means that it’s a pretty comfortable performer on a long journey. The ‘seamless shift’ (that’s McLaren’s own term) seven-speed dual clutch gearbox acts smoothly when you leave it in automatic mode, so that helps to take the strain out of long journeys. However, there is an almost constant ‘eeehhhhrrrr’ drone from the exhaust, even in Comfort mode (it gets worse in Sport) which is annoying when you’re just cruising along. There’s a bit of grinding and squeaking from the brakes too, which isn’t great and the GT is less refined than the Bentley Continental GT. One glaring omission — for a car expressly designed to cross continents with ease — is the fact that you cannot get radar-guided cruise control. At all. 

On a twisty road

While a traditional GT car — like a Bentley Continent GT — might be all about the ability to travel very long distances at high speed in grand comfort, the McLaren GT does things a little differently. It concentrates a little more of its effort on the last bit of your journey — that few miles of tight, twisty mountain road leading to your villa in the Alps, let’s say. At that point, the McLaren GT becomes more of a McLaren, and less of a GT. Now it starts to feel like a for-real supercar, with brilliant chassis balance, and steering that is both spot on in terms of weight, and which gives you proper feedback, and feel, thanks to be hydraulically assisted, rather than using electric boosting. The adaptive dampers in the suspension can react incredibly quickly, but they also have a clever electronic ‘brain’ which can kind of predict what kind of bump is coming next, and prepares the suspension to react accordingly. The light weight and carbon construction means that the centre of gravity is at about the same height as your hips when you’re sitting in the car, which makes it feel incredibly responsive. In fact, the whole McLaren GT weighs only 1,600kg — compared to the 2.0-tonnes-plus of a Bentley. 

The engine — which can seem a bit characterless at times, especially compared to Ferrari’s rip-roaring V8 in the Roma — comes to life too, providing dramatic acceleration. The brakes, even the standard steel discs (carbon-ceramic brakes are an option) can haul it all safely to a stop, too. This is a car you can really fling about, and you can’t say that about the Aston Martin or the Bentley (although the Ferrari Roma is a slightly different matter). It feels light, nimble, agile. It might not be the most cosseting long-distance cruiser, but when you can have fun in it like this, frankly all is forgiven. 

Sport is the perfect driving mode for this sort of driving — sharpening up all of the car’s responses compared to Comfort, but still allowing some electronic safety net, unlike Track mode. Actually, in Sport mode, neither the throttle response nor the steering weight actually change as McLaren reckons they’re about right in standard form, and we’re not going to disagree as all you actually want anyway is sharper suspension damping and a faster-reacting gearbox. Sport mode provides these, and everything else is bang-on anyway. 

Space and practicality

The McLaren GT is surprisingly practical – if you’re prepared to meet it half-way, so to speak – but you can’t get it with back seats at all, which might be a limiting factor for some  

By two-seat standards, there’s actually good space in the McLaren GT. Although getting your fingers to the electric seat controls is tricky (they’re under the edge of the cushion, at the front) the seat does go back a long way so taller drivers will be able to get comfortable. Headroom’s OK too, and the steering wheel also adjusts electrically, so finding a good driving position should be pretty easy. 

The central console is pretty slim, so storage space isn’t brilliant but at least there are neat little pockets for holding your mobile phone. There’s also a small storage box under the armrest, and some storage nets on the sides of the console. There’s one small cupholder which, mounted as it is in front of the driving controls and under the touchscreen, is tricky to get at. There’s a bigger, easier to access cupholder behind the driving controls, but that’s going to get in the way of your elbow if you’ve got a tall bottle or cup in there. Unlike the more focused 750S, there actually is a glovebox, but it’s not very big. 

One neat touch is the lidded door pockets. The McLaren’s doors open upward and forwards, which means that with a conventional door pocket, all of your keys and loose change would fall out. So McLaren give the GT little lidded pockets in the doors, and helpfully they’re just about the right size to hold a sunglasses case. The doors are soft-close, too. 

Of course, there’s one major limitation and that’s that you can’t get back seats at all. All of the McLaren GT’s major competition from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Bentley, and Porsche are available with small back seats, which may not be the biggest, but which can make the difference between leaving people or extra luggage at home or not. 

Boot space

Being a mid-engined car, the McLaren GT’s luggage space is split around the car. Open up the rear hatch, and you’ll find a sizeable 420-litre space on top of that low-slung engine. It’s useful, in terms of its outright volume, but the space is very shallow so your bags will have to be the right size to fit, and you’ll need to use the straps, which are included, to stop things sliding about behind your head. You actually can fit a set of golf clubs back there, but you’ll have to fork out for a special McLaren-designed bag to do that. You can fit a set of skis though, so your Alpine skiing holiday is well and truly sorted! You’d expect a luggage area above an engine, and beneath a big sheet of glass, to get really hot but McLaren manages the temperature both with heat resistant materials and neat little air intakes, and claims that the temperature in there never gets above 40-degrees Celsius. 

Up front, in the frunk (froot?) there’s another 150 litres of space, which makes this GT much roomier in the nose than a Porsche 911. McLaren claims you can fit a golf trolley in the front (do all supercar owners do nothing but play golf all day? We’d be out driving…) but to be honest, if you can afford a McLaren GT, you can also afford a caddy. There is a 12-volt socket in the frunk, which is helpful. 

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

Interior materials and overall quality is excellent, although the same can't be said for the infotainment system

As you’d expect, the McLaren GT feels more like a supercar than a grand tourer when you sit in. Everything looks and feels sporty and pared-back, rather than the conspicuous wood-lined luxury of a Bentley Continental GT. The layout is good, with the driving controls — from the gear selection to the driving mode switch — neatly grouped on a small panel down by your knees. The infotainment and climate control systems are grouped onto the small, upright screen in the centre of the dash, which looks sleek and which uses McLaren’s own in-house software, but it’s neither as impressive to look at nor as easy to use as those of a Porsche or a Bentley. You do get some very nice digital instruments for the driver, though. The materials used in the cabin are top-drawer — although some of the ‘Piano Black’ trim is less than lovely — and the way items such as the speakers for the optional Bowers & Wilkins stereo are integrated into the doors are fabulous. There’s ambient lighting, which you can change the colour of, but which isn’t as versatile as what you’d find in a Mercedes-AMG GT. Build quality feels solid, and there’s a neat little detail in the sun visors, which have a little vanity mirror that gets its own hinge so that it flips up out of the way. The rear-view mirror feels alarmingly cheap, though. It could have come off a Dacia. That’s made up for by the gorgeous, optional, solid-aluminium paddle shifters for the gearbox.   

However, the infotainment system is not the best by a long stretch. In fact during our test drive, on more than one occasion, it froze up completely and left us unable to access things like the air conditioning controls, or the sat-nav. The Bentley Continental GT’s infotainment may well be related to that of a humble VW, but at least it works reliably, unlike McLaren’s bespoke system.

Fuel economy and tax

The McLaren’s light weight sadly doesn’t seem to lead to anything in the way of improved economy. 23.7mpg is the quoted figure, which is worse than the bigger, heavier, just-as-powerful BMW M5 Competition. Even the Bentley Continental GT, which weighs almost half as much again, is about as frugal. 

CO2 emissions are also pretty high — 270g/km — which means you’ll pay what's currently £2,605 in Vehicle Excise Duty for the first year, as well as the extra £390 for cars costing more than £40,000 in years two-six. That’s unlikely to vex your average McLaren owner all that much, but their accountant might faint at what you’ll pay in BIK if it’s a business purchase.

Safety & security

The McLaren GT hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP but it seems safe enough to assume that the car’s super-strong and super-light carbon-fibre chassis will keep you safe in an impact. The fact that it’s so low, light, and agile might also keep you out of danger when a bulkier, heavier car might not be able to swerve away. You do get stability control, traction control, hill hold assist, and cruise control but there’s no radar guidance for that cruise control, and nor do you get lane-keeping steering or a speed-limit reading camera. 

Reliability and problems

As standard, McLaren offers its cars with a three-year warranty, and a ten-year anti-corrosion warranty (then again, carbon-fibre doesn’t rust…). That warranty allows for unlimited mileage, and you can optionally extend it out for up to 12 years, but that does come with an annual limit of 12,000 miles.

That’s all good, and the GT is reckoned to be the most reliable McLaren yet, but that’s not much of a boast — the brand has built up an unlovely reputation for reliability, and on our test, aside from the touchscreen failures, we also experienced a parking brake fault so clearly there’s work to be done yet to make a McLaren as reliable as a Bentley or Porsche.

McLaren GT alternatives
There are currently no deals for this model on Carwow, but you can find and compare great deals on new and used alternatives to the McLaren GT.