Supercars, over the course of the last decade or so, have become almost boring. Not because of the baked-in performance or styling. There’s been some great designs and the modern supercar or hyper car is capable of throwing down wild metrics. But there’s nothing out there that captures the imagine quite like the old-school machines used to do. McLaren is changing that with the arrival of its new first-ever hyper GT; the Speedtail.
An evolutionary step forward over The Original supercar, the McLaren F1. The Speedtail is shaped like a concept car, opts for a center-seat layout, and is the fastest car McLaren has ever built. Mis-matched wheels, a low production run, and a high price-tag are just a small part of the puzzle that makes up the truly intriguing Speedtail. So let’s hop on past the jump and dive into this future fantastic sled that’s equal parts technical marvel and preferred ride of Zaphod Beeblebrox.
The doors open upward, taking part of the roof along with them. They’re attached to a carbon fiber Monocage body, which is unique to the Speedtail. It’s in the cabin space where the driver will seat in that central seat, just ahead of the two passenger seats on either side. To provide proper visibility from this spot, the Speedtail ditches sideview mirrors for a set of cameras on the outside and monitors on the inside. This is a cockpit that is less race or road car and more private jet or spaceship.
The full details on the powertrain haven’t been released yet, but we do know that it’s a gas-electric hybrid setup. In total, we’re talking about 1,035 horsepower and that’s enough to propel the Speedtail on to a 250 mph top speed. If you want to blast from 0-186 mph, you’ll only need 12.8 seconds to get there. By comparison, the McLaren P1 needed 16.5 seconds to hit that same velocity. So saying the Speedtail is fast is an understatement.
McLaren have done some amazing engineering on the body itself. This is a long, narrow, and low machine meant to slip through the air. On the trailing edge of the Speedtail you’ll find a pair of hydraulically actuated active rear ailerons. These are part of the rear clamshell, which itself is a singular piece of carbon fiber. Further aiding the quest for aero gains are the carbon fiber front wheel covers. These are static pieces that remain in a fixed position as the wheels spin. The Speedtail benefits from reduced drag in this area thanks to those rad looking super spats.
There’s no question that the Speedtail represents a polarizing approach at hyper car design. But function and form are working together here to deliver the next level in super and hyper car performance. McLaren will use the Speedtail to begin their ambitious Track25 business plan, which involves a ton of new product. This is the first of 18 new cars slated for production and development.
It’s expensive ($2MM). It’s insane looking. It’s utterly ridiculous. It’s the first proper hyper car to arrive on the planet it decades, and that makes it a glorious thing to behold.
[Images courtesy of McLaren]