Cruising for the first time in the 2022 McLaren GT in midtown Manhattan and over the river to Hoboken on a recent balmy evening was like being the loaf of bread a school of fish has just spotted.
The mania didn’t stop for the whole 24 hours I had the ride. Wherever I appeared − road, parking lot, street − Elvis had entered the building. Passerby temporarily removed their phones from their faces and aimed them towards yours truly – the car, actually, not me.
Soon, very soon, I realized there was no dwelling peacefully, anywhere, without an avalanche of questions, nay, demands from strangers who had seen the McLaren only on line, and now beheld the real thing.
I answered as best I could, and will repeat here the statements I made dozens of times over the day this jewel was mine.
It’s $217,555 with all options.
It’s got a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine mounted in the middle of the vehicle.
612 horsepower, and 465 pound-feet of torque.
It’s got a seven-speed automated manual gearbox and rear-wheel-drive.
It gets about 17 miles to the gallon on paper, but you’ll probably get less because whenever there’s a wee bit of open pavement in front of you, you tend to mash that pedal.
Its tank holds 19 gallons of the red stuff.
It can go from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds.
Its top speed is about 208 MPH.
I had my first “Big Mac” last year – the 2021 McLaren 720S Spider. That $360,000-plus ride was built for the true connoisseur, the race driver or the deep-pocketed wildman or woman. The GT is of course, a blistering ride as well, very much so, but it’s more for someone who also goes grocery shopping in it, or to Walgreens. The suspension is smooth, the convenience and comfort apparent.
You don’t feel so compelled to screech everywhere you go, but screech you can and will when you get the urge, as well as accelerating out of tight spots on the freeway at a moment’s notice. Its mighty roar and rumble is as satisfying as Fourth of July fireworks, except it doesn’t freak the dogs out.
It’s also got particularly good storage space, unlike a lot of vehicles of this type. It’s practical in ways other supercars are simply not, and that’s on purpose.
A carryover for 2022, it holds its own next to its Italian brothers with its carbon fiber chassis and open differential, and it includes a deactivation mechanism, saving you the wee bit of gas over time.
You’ve got adaptive dampers and four drive modes – Non-Active, Comfort, Sport, and Track. Its brakes are iron and aluminum, which brings me to my main criticism of the car; you have to stamp that pedal with all your might, both to get the vehicle to start and to keep the car from banging into the driver in front of you at red lights. The first time that happened, it scared the ever-lovin’ life out of me, and I started shifting to neutral at every stop. One gets tired of that pedal-mash.
And the drive? Splendid. Insane acceleration, great handling, a thrill, a buzz, a gas. This was a very short test, so no track, no winding, forested Westchester roadways. Just a visit to the scenic bridge in Yorktown Heights, where I was raised, and a stop at the Croton Dam, then out to Hoboken to pick up a pal and enjoy the night, as one was meant to do in a car like this.
You have a plethora of available options, of course, such as a wide assortment of paints – I actually wasn’t crazy about my orange because some people mistook me for a Lamborghini. The blue I had last year suited the brand better, methinks.
You can also choose the color of the brake calipers as well as “aniline premium leather.” The Practicality Pack is essential, giving you a suspension lift for going up driveways and other hilly pavements instead of scraping the devil out of the bottom of your front bumper. The package also includes front and rear parking sensors, Homelink, and power-folding heated mirrors.
Safety features, too, deliver goodies like parking sensors, a backup camera, anti-lock braking, advanced stability control, traction control and cruise control. Pampering extras include Nappa leather upholstery, leather/leatherette trim, soft-close doors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, voice-activated infotainment touchscreen, navigation, a USB port, keyless entry and start, and Bluetooth.
Despite my petty complaints, the McLaren GT was one of the most great-looking, fast and satisfying sports cars I’ve driven this year.
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