The world’s newest super-sports car company, McLaren, is going old-school with its next new model. After hitting the high notes with a battery of Ferrari fighters, from its original rapier-sharp MP4-12C through to the exotic and super-quick Senna road rocket, McLaren is easing back on the throttle. The result is a car that’s currently known only as the ‘Grand Tourer’.
McLaren promises its GT will be quieter, roomier, more comfortable and more practical than any previous model since the champion Formula One team turned its attention to building road cars.
The company is reacting to feedback from owners, who are asking for something more than a weekend speed machine. It has already tested the potential with its 570 GT (below), which sits in the middle of its range with a price tag starting at $415,000, and is going all-out with the GT.
“Our 570 GT was the toe-in-the-water car in this area. Customers loved it, but they told us they wanted even more comfort, even more refinement, more power and more space,” the global product spokesman for McLaren Automotive, Wayne Bruce, tells Australian Business Traveller.
He rejects any notion that the GT will be more like a softie Maserati than a feisty Ferrari, confirming the car will have the same sports car DNA as the existing McLaren line-up. “Are we going soft? Absolutely not,” Bruce asserts.
“(The GT) is going to drive just as well as any of the other McLaren cars. But, because it’s a GT, it will be refined and reasonably comfortable over long distances. This car will deliver on all of that, but with a price that’s not much different from the current 570 GT. And it will have more luggage space than any McLaren yet.”
McLaren is doing a progressive reveal of its Grand Tourer, firstly with fully-disguised pictures of the car and now with fresh images that strip away much of the camouflage to show a car which looks considerably longer - particularly around the cabin area - than any of the Sport or Super series cars.
Bruce refuses to reveal anything meaningful about the car but is keen to emphasise the move away from existing McLarens.
“It will sit in a space of its own. The GT customer is not the same as the Sports series customer. It is the most elegant and traditionally beautiful McLaren you’ve ever seen,” he says.
The GT teaser campaign will continue next month and culminate in July, when the car will be driven up the Goodwood hillclimb at the Festival of Speed, the biggest rolling motor show in Britain and the world. “We will be revealing it online in the middle of May, and the global debut with be at the Goodwood Festival,” Bruce says.
The GT will be then be fast-tracked to customers, including those in Australia. “This is a global car. And we would expect Australia to be a strong market for the car, given the long driving distances there. We would hope the first deliveries would be in 2019 for Australia.”