"Even the most frizzy haired sandal enthusiast would welcome the new McLaren."
Top Gear's review of the McLaren P1 is among the very best car reviews ever done. 0-62mph: 2.8secs
Standing quarter: 9.8secs at 152mph
In the time it takes you to read the first half of this sentence out loud, the McLaren P1™ will have accelerated to 100km/h (62mph). Eagerly anticipated data from an exhaustive testing programme that measured every performance facet of the McLaren P1™ was released today – and it confirms the car’s ballistic pace, with a 0-100km/h (62mph) acceleration time of just 2.8 seconds.
Also, the answer to the question you are probably about to ask is yes, the McLaren P1™ can indeed outpace its legendary predecessor, the McLaren F1, which accelerates to 100km/h (62mph) in 3.2 seconds.
For more than a decade the McLaren F1 reigned supreme as the fastest production car in the world. To this day it remains the world's fastest naturally aspirated production car, and presents a formidable yardstick against which to measure the McLaren P1™. Fast-forward to 300km/h (186mph) and you get an even more dramatic impression of the incredible technical progress made by our engineers over the past two decades. The McLaren P1™ storms from a standstill to 300km/h (186mph) in just 16.5 seconds – a full 5.5 seconds quicker than the mighty McLaren F1.
By deploying the combined 916PS (903bhp) and 900Nm might of its efficient V8 petrol engine and lightweight electric motor, the McLaren P1™ can dispense with the standing quarter-mile (400m) challenge in just 9.8 seconds, by which point it is travelling at 245km/h (152mph).
The top speed of the McLaren P1™ has been electronically limited to 350km/h (217mph), but as McLaren P1™ programme director Paul Mackenzie points out, achieving ultimate top speed was never on the engineering to-do list. ‘It may not be the fastest car in the world in absolute top speed, but that was never our goal. Rather, we believe it is the fastest ever production car on a racing circuit – a much more important technical statement, and far more relevant for on-road driving.’
Thanks to the specially formulated, silicon carbide-coated, carbon ceramic discs of its bespoke Akebono brake system, the McLaren P1™ provides phenomenal stopping power. Under full braking from 100km/h (62mph), the car comes to a dead stop in just 30.2 metres – compare that with the UK recommended stopping distance of 102 metres.
Despite its exceptional performance, the McLaren P1™ returns an impressive 34.0mpg (8.3l/100km) on the EU combined cycle, while producing CO2 emissions of 194g/km. Of course, the McLaren P1™ can also be driven solely in electric mode, during which it delivers a range of 11km (6.8 miles) on the NEDC cycle and emissions are reduced to zero. And as Paul Mackenzie points out: ‘It’s pretty cool to turn up, silently, in a million-dollar McLaren.’
The first McLaren P1™ customer to collect their car from the factory already knows what it is like to experience that feeling, having taken delivery of a striking Volcano Yellow car with contrasting visual carbon fibre at the beginning of October.
‘Owners will become part of the McLaren family, if they aren’t already,’ confirms McLaren Automotive Sales and Marketing Director Greg Levine. ‘To maintain exclusivity we have closely monitored demand, and the production number of just 375 units will ensure that the McLaren P1™ will remain a rarity and, if spotted on the road, an unforgettable sight.’
Production of the McLaren P1™ in the state-of-the-art £40 million Foster + Partners-designed McLaren Production Centre in Woking, England began in July, with the first car coming off the line in September. Fittingly, this rounds off the month in which we celebrated 50 years since Bruce McLaren began building racing cars in a dirt-floored workshop in South London. Today, it takes a carefully selected team of 82 highly skilled technicians 17 days to craft a McLaren P1™. Once the line is running at full capacity, the 375 cars scheduled will be built at the rate of one a day, with production due to run until mid-2015.
And already the McLaren P1™ is on its way to achieving iconic status, having won the Supercar category in the Sunday Times Top 100 Cars and received high praise indeed from one of the harshest critics in the business. While testing the McLaren P1™ at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, Jeremy Clarkson tweeted: ‘Right. The P1. Complete game changer. The next chapter in motoring. Speed like you simply would not believe.’
You can quantify the McLaren P1™ by using sophisticated performance recording data, or you can judge it from the amount of adrenaline it generates behind the steering wheel. Either way, the result is the same. ‘We believe the McLaren P1™ is the most exciting, capable, technologically advanced and most dynamically accomplished supercar ever made,’ sums up Mackenzie.