Opinion: Can a McLaren SUV still be a supercar? Car News

So there it is: with a McLaren SUV on the cards, the last bastion of sports cars has finally fallen.

The numbers are hard to ignore, as we’ve pointed out many times. But I think with this news there’s hope that we’re not all going to hell in an SUV-sized handcart – because of all the sports car companies, McLaren might be best placed to maintain the strongest connection between what made him famous and what will now allow him to survive.

I say this from a personal experience, having spent 24 hours in (and slept in) a McLaren GT recently. Lifestyle ambition met the cold truth of sports car seats, and my back hasn’t been the same since. But the experience has been interesting in what it tells us about McLaren’s attitude. This is not a company that lets practical reality stop it from delivering what it believes to be the best car.

McLaren wants to give you a grand tourer, but it refuses to let go of some of its character traits, so it’s still mid-engined and still has dihedral doors. Both of these compromise what could otherwise be an excellent grand tourer.

And yet, the way it handles a flowing back road melts away all those discomforts. Management is a particular asset. It’s still hydraulic, despite the trade-off with fuel economy, so it’s beautifully smooth and engaging with the kind of natural feedback that even the best electric-assist setups have yet to match.

If the McLaren SUV can maintain the same duality of ride comfort and superb steering (and that same obsession with sweating the details), it could very easily deliver a McLaren lifestyle.

I will miss Woking’s stubborn refusal to go the cliched path, but hopefully an element of that pure bloody spirit survives the SUV transition.

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This notice was published: 2022-06-14 23:01:22

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