Car Review: 2021 McLaren GT turns heads and is useful off the track

Exotic cars are eye candy, and their performances are spectacular, but usually they’re hard to drive beyond short trips or on the track. The McLaren has built some cool exotic cars over the years. Now it is offering a user-friendly grand touring car that gives the driver a super car that can be driven more often.

The 2021 McLaren GT I drove has that super car look, with those signature dihedral doors that flip up when opened. The McLaren GT is low and wide, and the Papaya Spark paint will add even more flash to this shapely car.

Driving the McLaren GT is a treat, with a twin turbo V-8 that will thrill with its noise and plenty of power. While this car might not be as powerful or as high-strung as other McLaren models, it is still a 200 mph street-carving machine. I spent a day driving the McLaren GT with the Chesapeake Porsche club. Its performance and comfort after 170 miles of back roads and highways was impressive. The ride was docile and firm, but never harsh in sport or track mode.

Handling limits are very high, and the optional carbon ceramic brakes provide amazing stopping power. The forward view is excellent; the rear view is surprisingly good for a mid-engine car. It sits low, so you have to get used to looking at the bumpers of SUVs and trucks.

Inside, the McLaren GT elevates the luxury look and feel and steers away from a pure super car. The power leather seats provide good comfort for five hours of driving. The car sits low and it not as easy to hop in to as, say, a 911 Turbo. However, the GT is easier than other McLarens I have reviewed. The HVAC system works well and is able to keep cool in 95-degree weather. This two-seat GT also has a shallow trunk so you can travel with luggage. If that is not enough room, there is a ‘frunk’ in the front of the car too.

Cost: $215,500; as tested $248,515
MPG: 15 city; 22 highway. I managed 21.3 in 230 miles of mixed driving
Options: $5,500 MSO black pack; $6,000 roof electrochromic; $7,500 MSO defined exterior paint/Papaya spark; $6,500 carbon ceramic brakes; $500 luggage retention strap; $230 battery charger; $100 warning triangle and first aid kit; $3,500 sports exhaust
Safety: Parking sensors front and rear; rear parking camera; emergency fuel shut-off device
Things to know: The McLaren GT is an exotic car that stands out with special looks and offers enough comfort to use it as a special and expensive daily driver

Pros:
• Super car looks and performance
• Leather-clad interior and space for two and luggage
• Fuel economy for a powerful exotic car is good

Cons:
• Sits low; be wary of curbs and steep driveways
• Does not have all the safety features, like some other pricey grand touring cars
• Takes time to find and be acquainted with some of the controls located in different places

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