The McLaren Speedtail has opened the next chapter in McLaren’s Ultimate Series. The three-seater McLaren hypercar has been eagerly anticipated for years. That cockpit layout being synonymous with one of the greatest hypercars of all time; the McLaren F1. Not only does the Speedtail open a new chapter for the Ultimate Series, being the first of 18 new cars or derivatives under the new McLaren Track25 business plan, it holds significance for the brand as a whole!
Just 106 McLaren Speedtails will be produced. That’s the same number of cars as McLaren produced for the McLaren F1. Famously, McLaren had trouble trying to sell the production run of the F1. The Speedtail has no such problems with McLaren confirming that all production slots are spoken for at a minimum cost of £1.75 million plus taxes.
The press release is thin on the ground when it gets to engineering. We are told that the Speedtail will utilise a hybrid drive train, yet the information about what that means is to be announced at a later date. We have some headline figures though. McLaren have confirmed a top speed in excess of 403 km/h (250 mph) and a 0 to 300 km/h of just 12.8 seconds. Details of the 1,050 PS engine will presumably follow in time.
Weight is a key factor for the McLaren Speedtail too. It uses a variety of different types of carbon fibre to keep this to a minimum, achieving a 1,430 kg dry weight which compares favourably to cars like the Koenisegg Agera RS which weighs 1,435 kg and the 1,995 kg Bugatti Chiron. We are hoping that McLaren are simply being conservative in their performance figures!
As you would expect from a three-seater, the cockpit features a teardrop shape. The carbon fibre bodywork has been designed with aerodynamics at its heart, compromising the aesthetics slightly in our opinion. In total, the McLaren Speedtail measures a staggering 5.137 metres nose to tail, the Chiron for example is significantly shorter at 4.54 metres.
The air flow to the front of the Speedtail has been designed so that air enters either into slender air intakes which feed the Low-Tempreture Radiators or two air intakes contained within the upper front clam. From here, the air is ducted through the body and around the wheelarch before exiting out of the lower door vents. A snorkel inlet feeds air into the back for the engine.
Much like the McLaren 720S, the Speedtail features a false bodywork which acts as a channel for the air from the front. The High-Tempreture Radiator intakes suck in the air from here. The silhouette appears incredibly futuristic due to the maximum focus on aero performance. The most noticeable feature being the absence of cumbersome door mirrors.
Perhaps the most controversial element of the design so far is the static wheel covers which hide the 20 inch 10 spoke rims at the front. McLaren claim that they minimise the drag, something we don’t doubt. They are said to remain fixed while the wheel spins. Exactly how much drag they shed remains a mystery, as does the exact drag efficiency of the overall design.
On the chassis side of things, McLaren have utilised a bespoke version of its Monocage system. Something called Velocity Active Chassis Control can lower the Speedtail by 35mm, leaving the highest point of the vehicle just 1.12 mm from the road surface.
The rear features a one piece carbon fibre clamshell. An interesting feature is the central active rear ailerons. They are hydraulically actuated and form an integral part of the rear clamshell. Flexible carbon fibre has allowed McLaren to achieve this. Both the front splitter and side skirts are finished in 1K Titanium Deposition Carbon Fibre which is lighter than most normal carbon fibre weaves. Ultra lightweight Thin-Ply Technology Carbon Fibre (TPT) is also available inside and for the McLaren badge while other parts of the badge are made from 18 carat white gold.
The central driving position is made up with custom carbon fibre seats. A special leather finish makes it easy to slide into the seat. Two passenger seats are integrated into the carbon fibre monocoque. The dashboard looks futuristic with two high definition displays substituting the rear mirrors. The controls to start the engine and to open the doors and mirrors are above the drivers head.
The Speedtail in the pictures is trimmed in Dark Glacier and Cool White leathers supplied by Bridge of Weir Leather Company. It has been developed to be lightweight. It lines the floor of the Speedtail in the colour or colours of the owner’s choice. It looks likely that owners will get a high degree of choice over how their car is constructed and the colour schemes. If you don’t like the example in the photos, chances are that it won’t be produced to the same spec twice!