Performance Figures Are in for the McLaren P1 Hypercar
As Nic wrote last week, most hypercars are expensive, overwrought pieces of automotive machinery whose existence is made possible by insecure millionaires and billionaires measuring their manhood by who has the biggest…hp/weight ratio. This year and the next will find the market crowded with examples, as the SSC Tuatara, Porsche 918, and Ferrari F70 are all expected to hit the streets before the end of 2014. When the McLaren P1 is delivered later this year, it will appeal to a different sort of owner than the playboys who buy hypercars for their exquisite beauty or simply because their neighbor isn’t likely to own one. How do I know?
For one, the P1 is not exquisitely beautiful. Like its predecessor, the legendary F1 from the 1990s, form definitely takes a backseat to function. While certainly good looking, both the SSC and Porsche I mentioned earlier, and especially the Pagani Huayra, are far more extroverted and showstopping. The interiors of those cars range from a technophobe’s worst nightmare to a steampunk fan’s wet dream.
Instead, McLaren has taken a borderline obsessive-compulsive weight saving approach to the interior: while the idea behind having almost every touchable surface covered in carbon fiber is not necessarily insane, McLaren shaves off the top layer of resin to save just over 3 pounds. Interior sound deadening is also completely absent, so this hypercar will be completely unsuitable for GT work. Foam support material is kept to a minimum in the extreme carbon-backed bucket seats, but the overall combination means each set of seats, brackets, and runners only weigh 23lbs each. Those seats are tailor-fit for each customer, by the way, just like the F1, and secondhand owners can always ship the cars back to McLaren for adjustments. Carpets add weight, so they’re optional, and when ordered they come with extra lightweight backing. I’m surprised the P1 even has a radio, but satellite navigation and A/C are actually standard. So, a nice Meridian sound system comes with the car, but carpet doesn’t. OK then…
Surprisingly, the P1 sports a glass roof, which makes for a stunning aerial portrait but I assume is heavier than a carbon roof. No matter, as every exterior panel is made from the lightweight material, which in turn wraps a carbon tub that made its first appearance in the MP4-12C supercar. The P1 will be nearly identical to the original concept car save for the addition of LTR ducts ahead of the front wheels for generating additional downforce and cooling the tires. The usual vents and scoops adorn the exterior of the P1, along with a hood-mounted tunnel that sucks air into the mid-mounted 3.8L V8.
Speaking of figures, today McLaren has released the final set of performance data and pricing info for the P1, the last piece of the puzzle before the company begins taking orders next month. The engine is similar to the one found in the “lesser” McLaren, so expect a twin-turbo V8 that by itself produces 727hp, or 109hp more than the F1. Although 727 sounds like a hell of a lot, in McLaren’s world it is actually rather pedestrian, barely enough to push the car to the supermarket and back. Thankfully, the engineers added an electric motor that adds an extra 176hp, making total engine output 903hp. All this in a car that, according to Autocar, weighs just under 3100lbs (McLaren has not yet published official weight figures). Formula 1-derived IPAS and DRS triggers are the only buttons attached to the steering wheel, which temporarily boost engine output and manually reduce drag, respectively.
Here’s what that means in the real world:
-0-60mph in less than 3 seconds.
–0-200km/h (124mph) in less than 7 seconds, and 0-300km/h (186mph) in less than 17.
-Top speed electronically limited to 217mph.
That last one is the way I know that the P1 isn’t for people looking to one-up everyone else. That’s what the Bugatti Veyron SS is for. The P1 is made to go around a track like a bat out of hell and to showcase McLaren’s engineering superiority, not to secure a place in the Guinness World Records book.
At a price of £866,000 (and $1,150,000 in the U.S.), the P1 is not an inexpensive machine, but it falls pretty much in line relative to what other hypercars cost. Only 375 P1s will be produced, with exclusivity in mind. If the F1 is any indicator, the P1 may be another investment-quality vehicle, although the F1 was a record-setter with a unique interior layout and similar attention to detail; it truly earned its way into the Olympus of automotive achievement. It’s unclear whether the P1 will be remembered as fondly, but one thing is for certain: it is not meant to be a garage queen.