In my humble opinion, the McLaren F1 is still the greatest supercar ever produced. Yes, I know that the VAG rolled out something called the Bugatti Veyron that goes 253 mph, but it does that with quad turbos and 16 cylinders. The McLaren F1 did 230 mph with a naturally aspirated motor borrowed from BMW…and did that over 20 years ago. To put that into perspective, no one else even came close to matching the F1’s performance. Plus, the F1 was ground-breaking on numerous fronts, the most obvious being the centre driving position.
But out with the old, and in with the new. Fast forward to today…the environment’s changed, and the stakes are much higher, but if anyone can top the F1, it’ll be from the same folks that brought it into the hearts and minds of automotive enthusiasts all over the world…McLaren.
First and foremost, let’s start with the engine. McLaren’s moved on from borrowing engines from established manufacturers to developing one of their own. Taking from what they’ve learned from their massive success in Formula One (rumour has it that they’ve won a few World Championships), they’ve put their own mid-mounted 3.8L twin-turbo V8 into their latest flagship. Combined with the innovative Instant Power Assist System (IPAS), this small V8 cranks out an enormous 903 bhp, with a monstrous 900Nm of maximum torque going to the rear wheels. The performance numbers are truly on another level:
- Naught to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 3 seconds
- 0 to 200 km/h (124 mph) in less than seven seconds (or about as long as it takes a VW GTi to get from naught to 62)
- 0 to 300 km/h (186 mph) in no more than 17 seconds
- Top speed is electronically limited to 350 km/h (217 mph)
One really cool feature of this more environmentally responsible supercar is that thanks to the IPAS, the P1 can be driven entirely in electric mode. If the driver were to average around 30 mph, the maximum range could be up to 20 km, just enough to run a couple of errands close to the house.
As fast as the P1 is, what’s just as important is that the vehicle can reign it all in. For that, McLaren has turned to Akebono (not the sumo wrestler) to come up with a braking system that’s truly out of this world…and when I say that, I literally mean that. Utilising a carbon ceramic disc that was first seen out in space, the system helps dissipates heat, while keeping the brakes cooler and more fade-resistant…ultimately resulting in shorter stops. On top of that, the bespoke ceramic layer coats both friction surfaces, and the whole system itself is significantly lighter than a conventional braking system. Basically, it’s everything that you could ask for and more. Helping to keep the vehicle on the road are the P Zero Corsa tyres that were especially designed for the P1, in conjunction with Pirelli.
As far as the styling goes, very little has changed from the well-received concept, and continues on the overall design language first seen in the MP4-12C. In fact, only one change has been made: the addition of LTR ducts ahead of each of the front wheels to further aid cooling and optimise downforce.
On the inside, although there’s no centre driving position, the bespoke interior can be had with a dizzying array of colours and trim levels, as well as visible carbon fibre laden throughout the cabin. Of course, fitted luggage can be had as well.
All of this awesomeness does come at a hefty price though…the McLaren P1 comes in at only £866,000, which roughly translates into 1.3 million dollars. Is the price of a typical two-story home in Los Angeles worth spending on the latest from Woking? More importantly, is this the proper successor to the almighty F1? The answer to both questions is a resounding yes, because it’s not just any supercar…it’s a game changer.
Photo Credit: Newspress