Featured | McLaren Speedtail

It looks, sounds, and reads like an absolute distillation of everything McLaren Automotive has learned over decades of finely tuned design and manufacture.

A pure fusion of art and science, the McLaren Speedtail hypercar – or ‘HyperGT’ as McLaren would insist – is quite simply the most powerful and aerodynamically efficient car that the famed brand has ever built. With its 403km/h top speed, it is also the fastest.

While there is clear emphasis on the Speedtail’s dramatically elongated rear section, with its crisp leading edge, the entirety of the hypercar’s 5.2m-long carbon fibre Monocage body structure (unique to the Speedtail in McLaren’s ranks of impressive supercars) is working to enable it to push, liquid-like, through the air at speed. Its teardrop-shaped cockpit and aerodynamically optimised body are supported by other features, such as carbon fibre front-wheel aero covers, retractable digital rear-view cameras (in lieu of mirrors), and patented active rear ailerons in order to achieve ultra-low drag efficiency.

To help with this dynamic slipperiness even further, the driver can even engage Velocity Active Chassis Control, lowering the Speedtail by a further 35mm, leaving the highest point of the hypercar just 1120mm above the road surface.

Other innovations? The Speedtail boasts double-skinned, power-operated dihedral doors with single-piece ‘wrapover’ lightweight glazing, while electrochromic glass darkens at the top of the windscreen at the touch of a button, removing the need for sun visors. There is also a ‘next level’ approach to bespoke customisation, including interwoven carbon titanium deposition materials and digitally embossed, full-aniline and lightweight leather. Even the tyres are unique to the Speedtail, the results of a collaboration between McLaren and Pirelli. The manufacturer states that no two examples of this amazing petrol-electric hybrid hypercar will be the same.

Here’s how much stock McLaren as a manufacturer place in the Speedtail: while many assumed the fire breathing P1 was the natural successor to the carmaker’s iconic F1, it isn’t. Rather, this car – with its three-abreast seating configuration – has formally ascended the dais to sit alongside the F1’s throne in McLaren’s ‘Ultimate Series’.

The McLaren F1 still casts a long shadow though: its top speed of 390km/h remains within reach of the Speedtail’s. And McLaren’s latest creation will sprint from zero to 300km/h in an astonishing 12.8 seconds – only 3.7 seconds faster than the F1. The F1, we should remind you, debuted nearly 30 years ago.

Still, that is to take nothing away from the amazing Speedtail. With combined power of 1035hp/772kW from its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and hybrid electric power unit, it takes a sledgehammer blow to anything McLaren has ever designed before, and signifies the road ahead for this legendary car company with an indelibly innovative Kiwi spirit at its core.

Only 106 Speedtails will be built, at a starting price of £1.75million each. But what price art?

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