250mph McLaren

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

Current page

182

Current page

183

Current page

184

Current page

185

Current page

186

Current page

187

Current page

188

Current page

189

Current page

190

Current page

191

Current page

192

Current page

193

Current page

194

Current page

195

Current page

196

Current page

197

Current page

198

Current page

199

Current page

200

Current page

201

Current page

202

Current page

203

Current page

204

Current page

205

Current page

206

Current page

207

Current page

208

Current page

209

Current page

210

Current page

211

Current page

212

Current page

213

Current page

214

Current page

215

Current page

216

Current page

217

Current page

218

Current page

219

Current page

220

New 1035bhp hybrid Speedtail edges close to Bugatti Chiron territory

McLaren has launched its fastest car to date. It’s called Speedtail and will reach at least 250mph, just 11mph below the top speed of the world’s fastest car, the Bugatti Chiron.

Thanks to its three-seat configuration with a central driving position, the Speedtail will be seen by many as the spiritual successor to the iconic 1994 McLaren F1, though unlike its vaunted ancestor the car is positioned as a ‘hyper GT’ rather than an ultra-light supercar. This means that the design direction was influenced more by concerns of ride comfort, refinement, practicality and outright top speed than paring away the last gramme of mass or setting a lap time. Just 106 will be built (the number of both road and race F1s of all kinds constructed), each pre-sold for £1.75 million plus local taxes.

The Speedtail comes with what is described as ‘a pioneering petrol-electric hybrid powertrain’ developing a mighty 1035bhp, fitted into an all-carbon fibre teardrop body of quite extraordinary proportions. Most notable is its length: at 5137mm this low-slung hypercar is fractionally longer than a Mercedes-Benz S-class limousine. The reason is drag reduction and, to that end, the Speedtail is also fitted with retractable cameras in place of door mirrors and static front wheel covers that dramatically reduce aerodynamic turbulence around the wheel arches.

Top speed aside, just one performance figure has been released but it is quite revealing. The Speedtail will cover 0-186mph (300kph) in 12.8sec, while the most powerful McLaren prior to the Speedtail, the P1, required 16.5sec. At approximately 1530kg, the Speedtail is not significantly lighter than the P1, while its powertrain develops about 132 additional horsepower, not nearly enough to explain the enormous apparent performance gap between them. So something else is going on. Suggestions that this might be related
to an electrically driven front axle are not correct, so the time has been achieved with the inherent traction disadvantage of rear-wheel drive.

Clearly this vast disparity is accounted for in the main by the Speedtail’s wildly more slippery shape. Even so, it’s worth mentioning now that the Speedtail is not just vastly quicker than the P1, but quicker over that measure even than the 444bhp more powerful, all-wheel-drive Chiron.

The Speedtail is likely to have a significance far beyond the 106 examples to be built. McLaren boss Mike Flewitt is on the record as saying that the next generation of widely available McLaren street cars will come with hybridisation designed in from launch, so by the middle of next decade it is unlikely that any purely petrol-powered McLaren products will be available. The Speedtail is in the vanguard of that process, so expect elements of its hybrid technology to be transferred to the less unaffordable McLarens of the future.

BUSY TIME FOR BMW

In the month since the last road car news pages were written, BMW has launched three new cars. Not variations of existing product, or three new models based on one new car, but three genuinely brand-new cars. Not that long ago it would have taken Aston Martin a quarter of a century to launch that many new products. Such is the world in which we live.

Taking centre stage at the Paris Motor Show was the new 3-series, still probably the most important car in the BMW range despite the ever-growing importance of its SUVs. Based on the same architecture as the 5- and 7-series models, the new 3 is longer and wider than the car it replaces, but lighter too. BMW says its main focus was to ensure it set the class benchmark for driving enjoyment without compromising ride and refinement.

The car is more spacious, said to be better built from higher-quality materials and goes on sale in the UK in spring. Initially there will be a 320d diesel and a 330i petrol six, but you can expect the range to soon include a 330e hybrid too. Whether the 320d can retain its position as range favourite depends on the increasingly precarious position of diesel. As it is and probably thanks to new emissions rules, the new 320d has 27bhp less than its predecessor.

Next to the 3-series on the show stand sat an all-new Z4, a return to form, it is hoped, after the lacklustre current generation. This is the car that has been developed from scratch in a joint venture with Toyota, which will use it to underpin its new Supra. But not only will the cars look entirely unalike, the Supra will have a folding hard-top while the Z4 returns to its roots with a fabric roof. BMW says this is not only lighter and more space-efficient than the metal top of the current Z4, but also lowers its centre of gravity, crucial to the new car’s goal of improving dramatically the uninvolving driving experience offered by Z4s of late, and getting it back on terms with Porsche’s 718 Boxster. Two 2-litre petrol engines will be offered from launch next spring, one with 197bhp, the other with 258bhp, but all eyes will be on the 3-litre six in the Z4 M40i. With 340bhp it directly rivals the current Boxster S.

The final BMW to be unveiled this month is not just a new car, but a new market segment for the Munich company. The X7 is a pure luxury SUV, aimed at cars like the Range Rover but with the added versatility of three rows of seats. At more than five metres in length it should offer space to spare for up to seven occupants, along with a level of comfort and refinement hitherto only seen in
the 7-series limousine. Whether you can live with the looks, though, is a matter for the individual.

MERC’S NEW SUV

Not to be outdone by its rivals to the east, Mercedes-Benz also revealed its all-new GLE SUV in Paris. This is significant for the Stuttgart brand, and for two reasons. Firstly, it introduces technology not previously seen on a Mercedes, including the promise of a hybrid version with an extended electric-only range of up to 50 miles and the next generation of road-reading suspension offering unprecedented levels of wheel control based on road information ‘seen’ by cameras mounted to the car’s front. But this is also the car that will spawn the new GLS (direct rival to the BMW X7), which itself will be the first Mercedes to be given the Maybach treatment. This will ensure that Mercedes joins the likes of Bentley, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce among the makers of ultra-luxury SUVs.

LAST CHANCE SALON

Elsewhere, Paris appeared to be a show in decline, following the trend already seen in Tokyo and Detroit. The number of no-shows was alarming, as was its range. For it was not just glamour marques like Rolls-Royce, Bentley and McLaren choosing not to invest time and money, but also the biggest of the big hitters, brands like Ford and Volkswagen, Vauxhall and Volvo. Even the locals who should have been making hay in the absence of so much competition preferred instead to major on concept cars. Even the all-new Renault Clio, which many had hoped and expected would make its debut on home turf, was nowhere to be seen and is now likely to be revealed next year, possibly at Geneva in March.

 
 

You may also like

Related products