So what do you do if somebody decides to park their tanks on your lawn? Send your own armoured column to grind up their front garden, of course.
At the Geneva motor show in March, Aston Martin told us about its plans to launch a series of mid-engined models that are clearly aimed at the established supercar hierarchy.
McLaren seems to be getting its retaliation in first with the GT. As its name suggests, it's being pitched as a grand tourer capable of carrying its fight into a segment that has seen few mid-engined challengers.
There’s some cold, green logic behind the decision. As McLaren’s global product manager Tom Taylor says, the grand tourer segment is considerably larger than that of traditional supercars.
But buyers looking for a tourer also come with expectations the McLaren isn’t going to fulfil: those of having more than two seats and an engine at the front being the most obvious ones.
The GT sits on the same core architecture underpinning every other McLaren model, with a carbon-fibre tub and a mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V8. It's been given an evolved version of the MonoCell II, now incorporating the mostly carbon-fibre rear structure necessary to mount the sizeable rear tailgate.
Like the 570GT it effectively replaces, the GT has a second luggage compartment above the engine cover, but it's now much bigger and easier to access. Indeed, by McLaren’s reckoning, the GT has pretty much everything this side of a compact wagon beaten for sheer lugging capacity, with 420 litres of room under the rear hatch – enough for a set of golf clubs and two flight bags – plus another 150L at the front.
The tailgate also gains the option of power operation, another McLaren first.
The cabin feels far plusher than any previous McLaren. There aren’t any of the clichés often found in upmarket British sports cars – “we thought about wooden trim for about 30 seconds,” McLaren design director Rob Melville told CarAdvice, “but then realised it just wasn’t right for us.”
Instead there is lots of high-quality hide – Nappa is standard, softer grain an option – as well as Alcantara surfacing. There are still some visible carbon parts, but not many of ‘em, and cashmere will also be offered as a vegan-friendly choice of seat trim.
Melville’s team have made the cabin feel modern and upmarket with various bits of trim incorporating “hidden until lit” lighting elements. The new 12.3-inch portrait touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard controls a new UX system, one we’re promised is vastly smarter than the chugging infotainment fitted to the current range.
It will also be possible to have the rear luggage compartment in an extra tough 'SuperFabric'; one for those who actually choose to regularly sully it with loads.
Of course, the extra luxury has added weight. On McLaren’s numbers the GT is 1530kg, although that still compares well to more traditional members of the segment. Much of the mass has come from plusher sound insulation, with Tom Taylor boasting – despite having an engine behind the rear bulkhead – the GT is 4db quieter than an Aston Martin DB11 V12 at a cruise.
We’re told the GT’s exhaust note has been specially tuned to suit the car, with a bass-heavy spectrum as that is apparently what people expect to find in a GT.
The GT doesn’t have the interconnected hydraulic dampers of the more expensive 720S, but it does have active shocks under the management of what McLaren calls its Proactive Damping Control system, with this setup blend the best-quality ride with the ability to adapt to changing conditions in as little as 2 milliseconds.
“Light weight and a stiff structure makes it easier to create a car that deals with rough surfaces well,” Taylor says. “I think people are going to be surprised how well-insulated it is.”
Of course, she’ll still be able to lift her skirts when the call comes. The GT gets the bigger 4.0-litre version of McLaren’s twin-turbocharged V8; the Sports Series has a slightly less powerful 3.8-litre version.
It has also been given new, smaller turbochargers to improve response at low speeds. While the peak 456kW comes at 7500rpm and the maximum 630Nm of torque arrives at 5500rpm, 95% of peak twist is already on deck at 3500rpm and the engine has been tuned to be as easy to drive as possible at low speeds.
McLaren claims a 3.2-second 0-100km/h time, 9.0-sec to 200km/h and a top speed of 326km/h. So it’s hardly the fat kid at a sports day.
The car is available to order from now, with deliveries due to start in some markets later this year.
We're waiting for clarification as to exactly when we can expect to see it touching down in Australia, as well as final pricing. If it follows the example of the UK and US we can expect to see a final asking close to that of the existing 570S Coupe, meaning around $400,000.
As for the more existential question as to whether buyers have been waiting for a plusher and more comfortable McLaren, I guess we’ll find out shortly.