The ultimate McLaren road car, the Speedtail, has been revealed to its future owners, each of whom paid £1.75 million ($2.93 million Canadian), sight unseen, to pick up one of the 106 cars to be produced.
McLaren’s first “Hyper-GT” features a unique carbon-fibre Monocage, creating a teardrop cabin that seats three, with the driver sitting in the centre of the cockpit. The carbon-fibre body is elongated to 5,137 mm (that’s 17 feet!) to help make the new road-going McLaren the most aerodynamic and fastest ever (capable of 403 km/h).
Further aerodynamic enhancements include front-wheel 20-inch static covers (they don’t turn with the wheels), rear-view cameras in lieu of side mirrors (retractable in Velocity mode), and active rear ailerons (flaps), while a weight of 1,430 kg helps speed and efficiency.
“McLaren has never built a vehicle like the Speedtail before. As our first ‘Hyper-GT,’ the Speedtail is the ultimate McLaren road car; a fusion of art and science that combines an astonishing maximum speed with an iconic central-driving position and a truly pioneering approach to bespoke personalization,” said McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt. “A ground-breaking hybrid powertrain sits within a lightweight carbon fibre body reminiscent of sleek ‘streamliners’ that once set world speed records, while the luxurious 3-seat cockpit offers a sublime combination of an incredible driving experience, unmatched individualism and innovative materials never seen before in a road-going vehicle.”
The car’s hybrid powertrain generates a net 1,035 hp, with the top speed achieved with the aid of a Velocity mode that optimizes the hybrid powertrain, sets the angle of the ailerons and lowers the body by 355.6 mm.
“The McLaren Speedtail is a vehicle unlike any other, not simply because of the astonishing visual drama, extreme speed and aerodynamic excellence that distinguish it, but because it sets unprecedented standards in technical luxury and bespoke customization,’ said Rob Melville, McLaren’s Design Director. “The same boundless innovation and creativity that drives McLaren to push the limits of physical performance have challenged us to craft an exquisite interior defined by pioneering design and the absolute pinnacle of materials quality.”
Among the technological advancements, a new way to manufacture carbon-fibre (fusing it with a micron-thin layer of titanium) enables its colour to be easily manipulated without compromising the material’s structural integrity and visual clarity. Leather is also treated to make it easier to work with in creating bespoke interiors, while also helping reduce weight.
The “directional” leather upholstery makes it easy to slide into a seating position and then it subtly grips the occupant during driving (theoretically, it also makes it more difficult to slide out of the seat when exiting the car). The driver’s seat is custom made out of carbon-fibre, while the carbon-fibre passenger seats are integral to the car monocoque.
Other advancements include electrochromic glass at the top of the windshield darkens to eliminate glare for the driver without the need of a sun visor (glass that integrates into the roof, such as the top of the doors, is also electrochromic).
The touchscreen instrument panel is devoid of the traditional buttons and switches, while those for essential functions (such as the push-button ignition, the transmission shifter, and window and door controls) are located in panels over the driver’s head.
The car also comes with a set of bespoke carbon-fibre/leather/metal luggage, which can be stowed in nose and/or tail luggage compartments.
“As an Ultimate Series model, at the pinnacle of the McLaren range, the Speedtail pushes the limits of what is possible technically,” said Andy Palmer, McLaren Ultimate Series Line Director. “Just as the McLaren Senna is the embodiment of extreme aerodynamic technologies and weight saving, so too is the Speedtail – but for this McLaren, the purpose was to achieve a new level of design sophistication and weight reduction in the pursuit of low aerodynamic drag, breath-taking acceleration and extreme velocity.”
The Speedtail is the first in a series of 18 new or derived cars to come from the company as part of its Track25 business plan. Planned delivery of the Speedtail is at the start of 2020.