October 26, 2018 12:55 CET
McLaren Automotive’s next step in its push for electrification is its most extreme vehicle yet.
The Speedtail, a 1,035-hp gasoline-electric hybrid pays homage in many ways to the iconic F1 of the 1990s.
First is the seating configuration. Inside the teardrop-shaped cockpit are three carbon-fiber seats — one in the center for the driver, flanked by two set slightly rearward for passengers. The F1 was similarly arranged.
Next is the scarcity: Just 106 are planned for production. The number is significant: that’s how many F1s were sold.
All Speedtails have already been reserved. Prices start around $2.1 million, and deliveries from McLaren’s production center in Woking, England, should begin early in 2020, the automaker said.
Due to the seating layout, as well as high-definition digital cameras in lieu of door mirrors — features that do not comply with U.S. safety regulations — a McLaren spokesman said each Speedtail will have to be imported individually under a “Show or Display” rule that limits driving on public roads to no more than 2,500 miles (4,023 km) annually.
About one-third of the Speedtails are headed for North America, the spokesman said.
McLaren’s first foray into hybrids was the P1, which launched in 2013. The plug-in hybrid had a combined 903 hp.
McLaren says the Speedtail can reach 186 mph (300 kph) in a blistering 12.8 seconds and can top out at 250 mph (402 kph), making it the fastest McLaren ever.
A carbon-fiber body, aluminum suspension, carbon ceramic brakes — even lightweight leather — all help minimize the vehicle’s heft. McLaren says the Speedtail weighs only 3,153 pounds (1,430 kilos) dry.
Speedtail buyers can specify seating features right down to the stitch pattern and hand-mixed paint used to trim edges of the leather.
Another design element unique to the Speedtail is the location of the engine start button, as well as the controls to open the windows and doors: all are in panels above the driver’s head.
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