McLaren unveils lighter, more powerful GTS

The GT is gone – say hello to a faster and more focused GTS

By Matt Bird / Tuesday, 19 December 2023 / Loading comments

Confusing car, the GT. Despite its continent-crushing aspirations, retaining a mid-engined layout and McLaren’s carbon tub meant it couldn’t really grand tour with the best of them – and yet in softening the supercar recipe, it dulled the edge that one might’ve expected from a 620hp McLaren. This is apparently the solution to that quandary, the GTS, a successor that appears to lean more heavily into the supercar side of the old GT’s character. McLaren says it’ll deliver ‘supercar driving dynamics alongside daily usability and comfort’. Notably, there’s no mention of this car being the McLaren of Grand Tourers’ any longer. With the Sports Series conflict gone, the V6 PHEV Artura offering a very different prospect and the 750S doing unhinged V8 rocketship, perhaps now the GT – sorry, GTS – can properly establish itself in the lineup. 

Performance gains are modest, though there were never really any qualms with the wallop of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. The GTS is 15hp more potent than the GT, at 635hp, and 10kg lighter at 1,520kg DIN (so 418hp per tonne); that means 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and 0-124mph in 8.9 seconds, with 203mph possible – certainly supercar performance. As with the 750S, McLaren has ramped up the drama for the Sport mode of the GTS, with ignition cut on the upshifts of the seven-speed dual-clutch. An optional sports exhaust delivers ‘a raw supercar soundtrack’, in case there was any doubt about the new direction taken by the GT’s replacement.

McLaren says that the tuning of the steering, proactive damping and ceramic brakes are all unique to this car, promising ‘an authentic supercar driving experience’. Seemingly this won’t just be a GT with a little extra power, new wheels and Lava Grey paint. Not that the old car has been entirely abandoned, however. The calibration of the springs and dampers, while emphasising the mid-engined excitement when required, won’t be ‘at the expense of comfort and ride quality when this is beneficial.’ There’s still 570 litres of boot space (150 at the front, 420 at the back), and the nose lift does its thing in just four seconds. All useful stuff for an everyday supercar. 

While clearly a GT-derived car, the GTS does boast a few design changes that – you guessed it – make it look a little more supercar-y. The look of the front bumper is updated, the intakes gape like a proper mid-engined exotic, and they’re are also taller air scoops at the back. Perhaps the GTS still isn’t a stop-and-stare kind of supercar, but this seems an improvement. The wheel you see here is a new, optional lightweight forged Turbine; they’re shod in a Pirelli P Zero bespoke for this installation, promising ‘high-performance and levels of grip, alongside refinement in equal measure’. The really keen can even spec titanium locking wheel bolts, to force home the supercar thing. 

The GTS is recognisably GT inside, best evidenced by releasing just one image looking at the seats – expect a familiar layout to before from the driver’s seat, which may not look a tad old with cars like the Artura out there. Still, an ‘ambience of performance and luxury’ is promised, with lots of expensive materials and plenty of personalisation possibilities: carbon can go pretty much everywhere, the recycled composite roof can be swapped for a panoramic alternative, and there’s ambient lighting on the extras list. A Bowers & Wilkins audio upgrade, with 12 speakers, carbon subwoofers and Kevlar mid-range drive units, will likely be a box well worth ticking. 

McLaren Automotive’s CEO Michael Leiters said: “The new McLaren GTS offers an unmatched blend of McLaren driving dynamics and performance, with refinement and practicality. When you want a true supercar driving experience, the GTS delivers that; when you want to relax on a longer journey or with luggage for a weekend away, the GTS is an ideal companion. This is a car that is true to McLaren’s racing DNA but with multiple layers of ability.” The GTS is available to order now for delivery in 2024 – the configurator is live, too, for those still stuck at a keyboard – but there’s not a publicly available price just yet. When PH last drove a GT a couple of years ago, it was £165k; expect a modest uptick from that figure for a GTS. And if a new McLaren has you thinking about old McLarens, welcome to the club; just over £100k buys a 2020 GT with 17,000 miles.

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