My Electric-Blue California Super Car Weekend in Beverly Hills

“You Look Simply Outrageous in That Car!”

That proclamation, from the driver of one of the ubiquitous open-air tour buses on Santa Monica Boulevard, greeted me as he pulled up alongside. “Well, who wouldn’t?” I responded. Forget Ozempic and a trip to the salon. Competition for attention is tough in Beverly Hills, where the people, shops and—yes cars—are known for their glamour. But if you want to stand out above the rest, try driving one of these… a McLaren GT. And it doesn’t hurt to opt for this crazy electric blue number that we were lucky enough to test out for a few days.

We were quite simply impossible to miss, even on a rare cloudy weekend in Southern California.


A sweeping tinted moonroof illuminates the cabin, making it feel more open and spacious.  Photos by Karen Hori

Aside from its whip-smart super car looks, the McLaren GT is the real deal: a top speed of 203 mph; a carbon fiber chassis; a Launch control button that, when activated from a standing start, might just rearrange your internal organs. Price: $204,990. Yes, pricy. But one drive and you, too will think, “Hmmmm, worth it!”

Of course, none of this automotive prowess should ever be experienced on the streets of well-mannered Beverly Hills. I feel obligated to say that since this beast made me think twice about being a responsible driver. But you wouldn’t want to let all this talent go to waste. That’s why the McLaren GT begs to be slogged on a racetrack.


With a svelte curb weight of just 3,384 pounds, and that crazy engine, a tap on the accelerator gets you from 0-60 mph in a heady 3.1 seconds.

This brings up another curious point. How many cars come standard with a “track” setting on the center console? This beauty does. The track mode setting disables the dynamic safety features like skid control. All the better to slide around a racetrack’s tight corners and truly experience the GT’s extraordinary acceleration and dreamy taut handling.

But here’s the plot twist. The McLaren GT is shockingly comfortable in both the driver’s and passenger’s seats. It’s also roomy inside. Really. And there’s a frunk (front trunk) and a rear hatch. Plenty of room for a weekend getaway’s worth of luggage. The drive mode dials on the center console allow for your choice of comfort, track and sport. And each one really does behave differently. It’s like a bag of Skittles. You’ll want to try them all.

During a weekend driving around Beverly Hills, we felt at once, incredibly safe and exhilarated. I’m happy to report that none of the city’s famous police officers had to take time away from their rounds to lock me up for misbehaving or impound my pretty blue wheels! But I confess that I was constantly secretly compelled to be naughty, egged on by the siren song of that resonant engine.


Pirelli P Zero tires and quick-stopping/heat resistant carbon ceramic brakes come standard.

Trying out the McLaren on the famously windy hills north of the city was another adventure. Avoiding the myriad cavernous potholes – no easy feat – I made Mulholland my little test track. The McLaren’s go-cart-like honed steering is other-worldly. Just the slightest pull on the wheel is enough to point the car to follow Mulholland’s rapid-fire S curves.

And then there’s the McLaren’s g-force-inducing acceleration, coupled with the brut wonderful engine sound of the car’s V8 engine. Certainly no one needs power at the ready like this. But it sure is fun. I had a wicked little run on the 10 Freeway, which was a bit intimidating. Not because the McLaren GT wanted to gallop. Oh no, it was because the car sits a mere few inches above the tarmac, so low as to almost disappear. While gunning at freeway speeds, surrounded by sky-scraper-tall SUVs and even taller semi-trucks, it was a tad disconcerting to thread the lanes, hoping no one would step on me. I shudder to think how invisible this fun-sized racer would have been in a more muted color.

Back up on Mulholland, where ironically, I felt safer, I don’t think the smile left my lips for the entire stretch between Coldwater Canyon and Beverly Glen. If you saw a turquoise blue blur rush by last week, it was likely me. Sorry!

What a car!  


A satin-feel carbon fiber-look steering wheel is sporty and fits perfectly in the hand. Though the McLaren GT’s performance stats are glorious, it’s the car’s surprising cabin comfort that caught us off guard. Seats (heated, of course) that seem to cradle and support without annoying compression spots, an interior cocoon that seems to block out city and road noises but allow the full acoustic range of the engine to fill the ears, and a Bowers & Wilkins sound system to delight. A 7-speed, dual-clutch gearbox serves up razor-sharp shifts smoothly and quickly and makes a raucous engine blip on downshifts. Meanwhile, the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine cranks out an extravagant 612 horsepower.
Photo courtesy McLaren
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