- All photo credits: McLaren

It's here: the McLaren Speedtail - here's all the details

7w ago


Some of the more complex cars in this world are designed to be multi-faceted jack-of-all-trades. Then, there are cars like the McLaren Speedtail - and that’s got just the one purpose: straight line speed.

Despite photos finding their way onto Twitter late last night, we’ve had to wait until today to find out the juicy details that feed our curiosity. Unfortunately for my nervous disorder, McLaren has chosen to omit certain details from the car’s premier - like powertrain specifics, and many of the acceleration statistics. There is one stat however that they’re proud to flaunt, and that’s the car’s 0-186mph time of just 12.8 seconds. While that may be a second and a bit slower than its main rival, the Bugatti Chiron, it’s over 7 seconds quicker than its 720S baby-brother.

With a top speed of 250mph, the Speedtail is officially the fastest McLaren ever made. Having previously promised the car would go faster than the 243mph achieved by a derestricted F1, the only question was just how much faster it would go. Despite withholding information regarding the hybrid powertrain, McLaren has been so kind as to say that it produces 1036bhp.

For anybody eager to experience the Speedtail’s acceleration, McLaren has fitted it with something called “Velocity Mode”. What this does is lower the ride height by 35mm, and raise the engine RPM to ensure the batteries are primed and ready to send their full potential hurtling at the rear wheels.

While clear on the car’s top speed bent, McLaren has also been incredibly vocal regarding the grand-touring nature of the Speedtail. The moment you raise the dihedral doors to see three seats bathed in leather staring back at you, you suddenly become aware that this car is just as well suited to crossing continents as it is thundering down a runway.

A bank of screens form your dashboard, with the only buttons to be found above your head. Under each of the two passenger seats sits little cubbyholes to aid the car’s practicality. Such features I image would come in very useful on a trip across Europe - as would the two boots with bespoke fitted luggage. Despite being packed with luxury and hybrid batteries, the Speedtail is far from obese. At just 3153lbs (1430kg) dry, it weighs barely more than the P1.

On the outside, it’s abundantly clear that the Speedtail is designed to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible. While it might be a relatively ugly looking thing, nobody ever said that the laws of aerodynamics catered for beauty. McLaren is insistent that they designed the car to look like a teardrop, as that’s the fastest shape in nature. I for one however think it looks more akin to a snail that’s lost its shell and is dragging its arse along the floor. I guess that’s me off the test drive list!

While the overall shape may be slippery, it’s aided by other smaller touches throughout. For a start, there are front wheel covers to help calm the flow of air down the sides of the car. Then, as you may have already noticed, there are no wing mirrors. Instead, the Speedtail uses a pair of retractable HD cameras that pop out of the doors during regular driving, feeding their images to the interior screens, and then fold flush when the car’s in velocity mode. Instead of the front being an array of downforce inducing skirts, there are merely two vents that are entrusted with relieving pressure at the front of the car, helping it glide through the air more efficiently.

Despite its v-max dedication however, McLaren has not allowed the Speedtail to go out into the big wide world without any ability to corner. At the back, there is a modest defuser designed to prevent the car from reaching for the stars. Then, there are two small flexible ailerons on the rear lip that can work independently of one another - much like what you find on a Pagani Huayra. With a long wheelbase, McLaren say the Speedtail handles well, albeit, in an undramatic fashion.

It’s quite astonishing when you see the Speedtail in its completed form. I and many others alike have been writing about this car for a couple of years now, swimming in the trickles of information dripping from McLaren’s rumour mill. What’s especially impressive is when you consider the origins of the idea. For this incredible car was originally conceived as a one-off special edition for a single customer. Then, after a snowballing process, it ended up being built as a true successor to the legendary McLaren F1 - with 106 examples promised, mirroring the F1’s production.

It is the second car in McLaren’s ultimate series after the Senna. With both of them, McLaren has truly catered to the most important niches in hypercar-land. At £1.75million each, mere mortals like you and me don’t have to worry about how we’re going to afford one, because they’re all sold. If you ask me, I can’t wait to see it in action.

But now, I must ask you guys: what do you think about the McLaren Speedtail? What’s your favourite thing about it, and is there anything that you don’t like? Let me know in the comments.

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Written by: Angelo Uccello

Twitter: @AngeloUccello

Facebook: Speed Machines - DriveTribe

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Comments (2)
  • Dislikes: disproportionate shape. Likes: Same colour as my 1980 928S

    1 month ago
    1 Bump
  • Huge disappointment, quite ugly. All the tech in the world cannot save this car. I think the F1 just got even more desirable.

    1 month ago
    2 Bumps


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