Have you been longing for McLaren’s ‘grand tourer’ with the 570S’s sprinkling of chassis magic? Thankfully, Woking has obliged…
Let’s be honest about McLaren’s 570GT: no one has ever considered it to be a bona fide GT car. Certainly not in the sense of a Bentley Continental GT, Aston DB11 or a Mercedes-AMG S63 or S65. It may have softer spring rates and less direct steering than a 570S, but the 570GT is really a supercar with a small, leather-lined luggage shelf. And a very good supercar at that.
The second bodyline addition to McLaren’s Sports Series range, the 570GT arrived in 2016 with its more cohesive and prettier rear half that features a side-opening opening glass hatch reminiscent of a Series 1 Jaguar E-type’s. Beneath it and the additional storage area it gives access to is the same 3.8-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 as in the 570S coupe and Spider, producing 419kW and 600Nm. Weighing 1486kg (56kg more than the coupe), the GT reaches 100km/h in 3.4 seconds and 160km/h in 6.6, and runs out of steam at 328km/h. I think you’ll agree that it’s more supercar than grand touring sports car.
Anyway, while McLaren’s customers have been enjoying their GTs with their two per cent reduction in steering ratio and 15 and 10 per cent softening of the front and rear springs respectively, others, evo included, have been asking for the GT’s looks to be available with the S chassis. And McLaren has obliged with the offering of a Sport Pack for the 570GT.
Designed to align the GT with the S coupe and Spider, the Sport Pack provides the same steering and chassis settings as the aforementioned models. So the steering rack, damper actuators and uprights are now the same as they are on the S, with the adaptive damping and stability control recalibrated to match those of the coupe, too. You can also have the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyre fitted, and carbon-ceramic brakes are now standard.
The cost of the base GT has recently increased in Australia to $415,000, and the Sport Pack will add to this. McLaren has also taken the opportunity to offer an MSO-developed electrochromic roof that allows you to adjust the tint level, and five new design packs are available that consist of popular exterior colours matched to ‘By McLaren’ interior design themes.
Drive a 570S coupe and a standard GT back-to-back and what look like minimal chassis changes on paper stack up to be noticeable changes from behind the wheel. Instantly the GT tracks better, mastering poor surfaces where the coupe becomes a little fidgety. The GT’s steering wheel is less active in your hands, too, but at the expense of the smallest amount of feedback and feel.
Drive the GT Sport Pack and all of the aforementioned is replaced with the coupe’s responses. The steering wheel writhes in your hands, tugging left and right, expecting you to take complete control. In today’s world of electrically assisted systems, McLaren’s hydraulic set-up remains an example of steering purity bettered by very few.
The Sport Pack returns an edge to the GT’s ride that isn’t there in the standard car, but only to the same level of that of a 570S, which means harsh ridges work the MonoCell II carbon tub harder, where the regular GT absorbs them with more finesse. You’ll need to have regular and Sport Pack GTs to hand to spot the differences in this respect, though, or be a McLaren engineer.
Neither the steering nor chassis changes dull any of the GT’s shine: it still devours a road with startling competence. The stiffer spring rates eliminate the dive and body roll that a 570GT could exhibit when really pushed, and deliver the confidence and reassurance all of McLaren’s Super Series chassis offer.
On track is where the Sport Pack advantages really take hold. The more solidly controlled chassis and body perform as their coupe counterparts, with slack all but eliminated, and as on the road the nose still refuses to dive under braking or rise under acceleration. Combine this with those carbon ceramic brakes and the 570GT Sport Pack performs to the equal of the coupe.
With no mechanical locking differential, this 570GT, like all McLarens, can be a bit Jekyll and Hyde when you start to take liberties with it. There’s always more front-end grip than you expect, providing the encouragement to lay on more throttle. Get it right and the GT is yours to balance as you wish. Apply a fingernail’s thickness too much throttle, however, and the V8’s turbos will spool up, and despite their best efforts the Corsas will light up in spectacular fashion as they vaporise some rubber and become the chief suspect in your fall. For all the duality McLaren has engineered into its cars, the 570GT Sport Pack’s supercar credentials still demand a degree of respect at the limit, as they should.
There is much to admire about the 570GT in standard form, but for us, and I suspect many an evo reader, the Sport Pack gives it the edge that makes the 570S such a compelling package. The 570GT is still not a great GT car, but in this trim it’s an even better supercar.
Engine: V8, 3799cc, twin-turbo
Power: 419kW @ 7500rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 5000-6500rpm
0-100km/h: 3.4sec (claimed)
Top speed: 328km/h (claimed)
Weight: 1486kg (285kW/tonne)
Basic price: TBC