“GT” seems to be the most popular two letters in motoring. Mustang GT, Nissan GT-R, Toyota 2000GT, Pontiac GTO, Ford GT, Bentley Continental GT, VW Golf GTI. Hey, you’re making a premium model? Better throw a “GT” on the end so people know it’s more expensive! But what does GT really mean?
It stands for Gran Turismo, and while that is an excellent series of videogames, I’m afraid that I don’t quite understand why there’s been hundreds of cars named after them. Gran Turismo also happens to be Italian for Grand Tour which basically means ROAD TRIP! Traditionally, a GT car was designed as a sort of livable sports car, adding things like a roof to keep out the elements, larger storage capacities to hold more luggage, maybe a 2+2 seating arrangement for more interior breathing space, while retaining the powerful engine and sophisticated (albeit usually softened) handling characteristics of the sports car counterpart. A grand touring car should be all about traveling a long distance in a short amount of time, all while being comfortable.
From the MP4-12C’s introduction in 2011, to the P1 which has gained “Holy Trinity” status alongside the revered Porsche 918 and Ferrari LaFerrari, and the roughly half-dozen-or-so models in between, McLaren has gone from being those guys who built the F1 a quarter century ago to a full-fledged mainstream supercar manufacturer. Recently the British automaker announced another addition to their “entry level” Sport Series line, the the 570GT. I’ll give you three guesses as to what the “570” and the “GT” stand for.
Barring the 12C, P1, and F1, McLaren’s naming conventions dictate that the first three numbers represent the metric horsepower output that the motor is rated at. In this case that would be, shockingly, 570 PS. If you’re American you’re probably more familiar with the British Horsepower, of which the 570GT has 562 of, But that isn’t important. We already have the 570S with the same motor, what we really want to know is why this one gets the GT designation. At a glance, the 570GT probably just looks like the 570S, but McLaren has implemented some changes to make the 570GT better at what it’s name implies, going on grand tours around the country.
Walking up to the car, the most obvious change should be the silhouette. The 570GT trades the flying buttresses and flat, supercar-inspired hood belonging to the 570S in favor of a side hinged glass hatch. This leads to a cavernous compartment which is open to the cockpit, giving the interior of the 570GT a more spacious feel as well as greatly increasing the cargo space. The GT retains the S’ “frunk”, which displaces 5.3 cubic feet, and now combined with the hatch’s (which McLaren has dubbed the “Touring Deck”) 7.3 cubic feet of empty air, brings the 570GT’s luggage capacity up to a respectable 13.1 cubic feet. For a point of reference, the 2016 Honda Accord coupe’s trunk has room for 13.7 cu.ft. worth of stuff. Since nobody will be cross shopping the 570GT against the Accord, it’s probably worth pointing out that the Porsche 991 911 has a cargo space good for around 4.7 cubic feet, and the Audi R8 is only good for a mere 3.5 cu.ft. in its front trunk.
Adding to the spacious atmosphere is a panoramic tinted glass roof, drawing a bit of inspiration from the P1. Having a giant glass panel over your head can sometimes create an uncomfortable situation on a hot and sunny day, and being a GT car, McLaren decided that they will not tolerate any level of discomfort, so they’ve included an automatic dual-zone climate control system. What if you find the fan’s whirling sounds annoy you as you cruise along French country roads? Showing an almost comical level of detail, McLaren engineers gave the car two different automatic modes, regular, and a low mode designed to reduce noise and air disturbance in the cabin (I’m pretty sure this is just McLaren’s marketing team trying to sell us a “turn the fan down a couple notches” feature).
Further cementing the 570GT’s dedication to being a true grand touring car are what McLaren calls soft closing doors. McLaren cars are well known for their dihedral doors that lift upwards, I’ve never had the pleasure of opening a McLaren’s door so I can only assume that closing one is abrasive enough to warrant the inclusion of doors specifically designed to close softly. Adding to the quiet and refined experience are special Pirelli P Zero tires, which McLaren claims reduces interior road noise by up to three decibels. Rounding off the quiet cabin list is a myriad of various noise absorbing materials throughout the cabin and storage area.
Moving to the interior, it’s again very obvious that the 570GT is closely related to the 570S. The basic design of the cockpit remains the same, with the 570GT having a much less offensive color palette to choose from compared to the S’ bright reds or screaming yellow accents. The GT seems to have a bit less exposed carbon fiber than the S, but it’s still seeing heavy use in the door sills, exposed tub areas, center console, and trim pieces. The interior of the 570GT does take much more liberal use of leather when compared to its sportier stablemate, adding to the premium feel. Electronically adjustable leather wrapped heated seats come standard, along with an electronically adjustable steering column, which includes a quick entry and exit feature.
You can’t just throw some leather seats and a hatch at a sports car and call it a grand touring car, so there are a few more key differences between the 570S and 570GT. A GT car should be more relaxed and leisurely to drive over long distances, and the 570GT accomplishes this by having the spring rate reduced 10% in the rear, 15% in the front. The suspension can be adjusted through settings, with Normal, Sport, and Track modes available, although it isn’t yet clear how big of an impact the different settings make. The steering has been changed to have a more relaxed feel along with a 2% slower ratio. Keeping with the quiet theme, the 570GT is said to have a softer exhaust note than the 570S, despite having the same engine specifications otherwise. The 570GT makes up for its aerodynamically lacking butressless body with a small rear lip, which McLaren claims makes up for the lack of flashy bodywork you can see in the 570S.
Assuming you do want to get loud every now and then, the 570GT comes standard with the 8 speaker sound system which is considered the optional premium speaker set up in the 570S. Upping the audio bar results in a new option, a 12 speaker Bowers & Wilkins, which I’m sure will tickle the fancy of many audiophiles in the market for a new grand touring, mid engined British car.
We’ll touch on the engine briefly, although I’m not sure there’s much point, it appears to be identical to the unit sitting behind the cabin of the 570S. It’s the same twin turbo 3.8L V8 that McLaren has put in every production car since their reboot in 2011, in this configuration it’s producing 562 horsepower at 7500RPM and 443 pound feet of torque when the needle hits 5K. The engine is backed by what I assume is the same 7 speed dual clutch found in the 570S, as I’ve found no mention of it being differently tuned. The 570GT has a 204mph top speed, same as the 570S, with the GT’s 0-62mph time being 3.4 seconds compared to the S’ 2.9, according to McLaren.
It would appear that McLaren actually has a pretty decent idea of what it means to build a grand touring car. It may be slightly different in configuration than your typical GT car, such as an Aston DB9 or a Maserati Gran Turismo, but I’m sure it’ll get the world’s wealthy folk from Point A to Point B just a quickly, just as comfortably, and with just as much style.
The 570GT is expected to be publicly revealed on March 1st at the Geneva Auto Show, backed by a starting MSRP of $198,950 USD.