MSO’s first crack at the McLaren grand tourer will take center stage at Pebble Beach

McLaren isn’t going to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance empty-handed. The British automaker is bringing a special edition McLaren GT with McLaren Special Operations’ (MSO) imprints all over it. This isn’t your typical McLaren GT, folks, even if describing the GT as “typical” in it of itself sounds weird. This McLaren GT is the product of MSO’s latest design exercise, a showcase of the group’s ability to turn a $200,000 supercar into what amounts to a one-off creation that’s beaming with exclusive touches. There’s no name for this particular MSO project — perhaps we can just call it the “McLaren GT by MSO” — but that’s fine. This McLaren GT is more like a canvas for MSO to play around with. And play around it did. The McLaren GT doesn’t go on sale in the U.S. market until the fourth quarter of 2019 so you can understand why McLaren’s showcasing this special edition GT at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Timing is everything, so they say. Pricing for the McLaren GT starts at $210,000.

I suppose it’s not a coincidence that McLaren has turned August 2019 into “MSO Month.” I don’t personally know why it picked this month of all months, but it hasn’t wasted any time rehashing a lot of MSO’s previous custom creations on social media. From the looks of it, this isn’t some random celebration that McLaren is throwing for its personalized division; there’s a method to why Woking did it, and the result of that method will bear fruit at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this weekend.

McLaren GT by MSO - The Exterior

McLaren GT by McLaren Special Operations
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On the surface, this looks like your typical McLaren GT. No fancy aerodynamic bits are sticking out from the car. There’s no obscenely large rear spoiler at the back. There aren’t even any graphics plastered on the body of the supercar. It looks like your typical McLaren GT, albeit one that’s wearing what looks like a faded gold paint finish. It’s a nice look for the GT, albeit one that doesn’t explode off the page like some of MSO’s past works.

Then you get into the details and the script inevitably flips. Take that paint finish, for example.
McLaren GT by McLaren Special Operations
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Mind you, it’s not just an ordinary paint finish. It’s a new and exclusive paint called Flux Silver that MSO created specifically for this model. Knowing this gives us a new-found appreciation for MSO’s level of detail when it comes to ensuring that each of its creations fit the mold of a true exclusive. Visually, the Flux Silver finish works as a nice contrast to the Bespoke Satin Graphite paint that MSO used on door skirts, front splitter, side mirrors, rear bumper, brake calipers, and rear diffuser.

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The electrochromic roof and the MSO Bright Pack add more layers of exclusivity to the McLaren GT. The latter, in particular, comes with a bright chrome upper window surround, polished exhaust finishers, and a set of Gloss Black Diamond Cut wheels. Put these elements together and you have a classy-looking McLaren GT that exudes the kind of confidence you’d expect from a model of its caliber. It demands your attention, not in a flashy or flamboyant way, but in a classy and sophisticated way. That, in many ways, is what the McLaren GT is all about. It still carries McLaren’s performance DNA, but unlike other Mac models, it does so in a subtle and refined manner.

McLaren GT by MSO - The Interior

McLaren GT by McLaren Special Operations
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Now, let’s move to the interior. It’s incredible that MSO can still build on the things that McLaren has already done and turn what can already be considered a premium and refined cabin into something more premium and more refined. In this case, MSO started by dressing up the seats in a metallic Flux White leather that takes a unique shape in part because of the MSO Bespoke Geoform Stitching. The latter takes inspiration from the geometric canopy design that you can see on the roof of the Great Court at the British Museum in London, England.

Something as trivial as that is what makes MSO one of the best personalization divisions in the business today.

No detail is too small for these guys. The unique stitching can be seen throughout the cabin of this McLaren GT, from the seats to the sun visor, and from the armrests and door panels. Satin Graphite leather accents were also thrown in because MSO could do it.

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The headrests also feature debossed MSO logos while the gear shift paddles are now made from Silver Infused Carbon Fiber. And, of course, no MSO program is complete without the bespoke floor mats. Cargo space remains the same at 14.8 cubic feet in the rear, a product of having some space available just above the engine. McLaren says that this layout provides enough breathing room to fit a set of golf clubs or a pair of skis. If you run out of space in the back, there’s an extra 5.3 cubic feet of cargo room in the front trunk, or “frunk” as most people refer to it these days.

McLaren GT by McLaren Special Operations
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Like most McLarens that have gone through MSO’s hands, this McLaren GT does not come with any engine upgrades. No surprises here, too.

There are no parlor tricks when it comes to the GT’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine. What you see is what you get. Fortunately, what you do get is an engine that produces 620 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. The V-8 is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which, in turn, sends the engine’s output to the two rear wheels, enabling the GT to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and 0 to 124 mph in 9.0 seconds. It also boasts a top speed of 203 mph, which isn’t the fastest in the McLaren lineup but still fast enough to shame some of its chief antagonists.

McLaren GT Specs

Engine V-8, twin-turbo
Displacement 4 liters
Output 620 hp
Torque 465 lb-ft
0-60 mph 3.1 s
0-124 mph under 9 s
Top Speed 203 mph

Final Thoughts

McLaren GT by McLaren Special Operations
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This particular McLaren GT is one for the books. Not only does it provide a clean look at the customization possibilities for the GT, but it does so a few months before the GT hits the market. That’s next-level strategy and product-planning. As a result, this GT will have a huge audience to showcase its wares at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. A lot of people will be in attendance during the festivities, and most of them will likely have enough money to spend on a brand-new McLaren GT as soon as it becomes available later this year.

What better way to give these potential buyers a taste of what’s to come than to bring this MSO-created McLaren GT to what is arguably one of the most prestigious auto shows in the world. If people end up liking this MSO-created McLaren GT, that creates even more buzz for the actual McLaren GT, especially when a lot of people already know what to at least expect from McLaren and, by extension, McLaren Special Operations (MSO). If this McLaren GT is an indication of what’s to come from MSO, then it’s a job-well-done for McLaren’s personalization division.

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