The new McLaren P1™ is engineered to offer more driving enjoyment and faster lap times than any road car ever built. Thanks to its Formula 1™-derived aerodynamics, it has more downforce than any rival. This helps track speed and also gives greater driver confidence.
Other Formula 1™ touches, learnt from almost 50 years of McLaren Grand Prix racing success, include all-carbon construction, new carbon ceramic disc brakes, KERS-like power boost and DRS to give extra straight line speed. It previews tomorrow’s Formula 1™ technology too, including a petrol turbo V8 engine mated to a powerful electric motor (mandatory in Formula 1™ from 2014). There is some superior ‘yesterday’ Formula 1™ technology too, including active aerodynamics and active suspension (both now banned for conferring a clear performance advantage). The result is the most exciting, capable, technologically advanced and dynamically accomplished super sports car ever made.
The amazing aerodynamic performance – allied to the carbon fibre construction, advanced suspension and powerful petrol-electric engine – puts the McLaren P1™ in a different league from any hyper sports car that has gone before. Absolute top speed was not a priority – although with an electronically limited v-max of 350km/h (217mph), the McLaren P1™ is not short in that department. Rather, our goal for the McLaren P1™ is for it to be the fastest-ever production car on a racing circuit, a much more important technical statement and more relevant for road driving. We expect that owners will also use their cars on the circuit, at special track and test days.
Naturally, such a technologically advanced car will be built in small volume. Just 375 examples will be made, ensuring exclusivity as well as desirability.
All McLarens are engineering-led. Form follows function. Like a Formula 1™ racing car, everything is designed for a reason. The McLaren P1™’s design began life in the wind tunnel and was optimised using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) aerodynamic tools – just like a Formula 1™ car. The shape of the body is determined by the path of the air flowing over and around the car. This means a low rear deck, sculpted doors and a teardrop-shaped glass canopy to make the body as slippery as possible and to generate maximum downforce. The McLaren P1™ is dramatically low and ground hugging. Its long rear deck – like a Le Mans racer’s – has a prominent wing which can extend by up to 300mm. The brief was to design a car that was ‘light and agile’. Even the number of body panels – all made from lightweight carbon fibre – was kept to a minimum (five main panels only). Aerodynamics
The McLaren P1™ generates an astonishing 600kg of downforce at 257km/h (161mph). We believe this is the most downforce ever offered by a road-legal series-production car. More downforce gives greater speed but also more driver control. It helps balance, stability and driveability at all speeds. The aerodynamics are active. The rear wing automatically changes pitch to optimise stability. Under-body flaps change angle, optimising aero performance. On the track, the McLaren P1™ can be lowered – at the touch of a button – to hover 50mm nearer the road, producing ground-effect suction, boosting grip and downforce, and also increasing driver confidence. DRS (Drag Reduction System), as used on Formula 1™ to boost straight-line speed, is also used on the McLaren P1™. It is selected by a button on the steering wheel and reduces the angle of the rear wing to zero.
McLaren is the global automotive carbon fibre pioneer. We introduced the first carbon Formula 1™ car (the MP4/1 in 1981) and the world’s first all-carbon bodied road car (the McLaren F1 of 1993). Every McLaren road car has had a carbon fibre tub, just like modern Formula 1™ cars. The McLaren P1™ uses a new carbon fibre MonoCage structure, including floorpan, roof and the distinctive snorkel air intake. The whole structure weighs just 90kg. This high-tech tub gives numerous dynamic benefits. The low weight improves performance and reduces emissions, agility is enhanced and the high torsional rigidity ensures accurate suspension geometry, boosting ride and handling.
Formula 1™ carbon fibre technology is also used for the body panels. They are light as well as immensely strong. As they are moulded, they can have complex shapes, allowing them to do as many jobs as possible and further reducing weight. The front clamshell includes the moulded luggage bin. The wheel arch liners double as air intake ducts and as mountings for battery, charge air coolers, oil coolers and the clutch.
Petrol-electric power was chosen to boost driving enjoyment and all-round performance. An electric motor delivers maximum torque instantly, so it’s superb for good throttle response – a prerequisite for a great driver’s car. Allied to a powerful twin-turbo V8, it gives both instant power and tremendous top-end performance, the best of both worlds. The 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine produces 737PS (727bhp) at 7500rpm, while the electric motor, developed specially by McLaren Electronics, produces 179PS (176bhp). Together maximum power is 916PS (903bhp) while maximum torque is 900Nm.
In the normal ‘default’ mode, or IPAS (Instant Power Assist System),the petrol and electric engines work seamlessly together. There are Normal, Sport and Track modes (selected by a rotary switch) and a Race mode (push a button). A separate Boost button – similar to Formula 1™-style KERS – instantly adds the maximum power and torque of the electric engine. A Launch mode gives extra fast standing-start acceleration. In addition, an E-mode enables the car to drive on silent electric power, free of any tailpipe emissions. The plug-in electric power helps give the McLaren P1™ astonishingly low emissions for a car with so much performance: CO2 is less than 200g/km.
Suspension and Brakes
The McLaren P1™ has probably the most advanced suspension ever fitted to a road car. It has active ride, roll and pitch control, and is height adjustable. Lowering the car allows the McLaren P1™ to produce astonishing levels of ground effect suction, clamping it to the road. The advanced hydro-pneumatic RaceActive Chassis Control (RCC) gives major advantages in ride, handling and grip, and can be changed to suit the driver’s personal preferences. Damping is adaptive. As with the 12C, metal anti-roll bars – which invariably reduce ride quality and the car’s ability to ‘flow’ over the road – are redundant.
There are four suspension settings. Normal, Sport and Track – selected by rotary control – ensure the ideal behaviour for comfortable cruising, dynamic road driving or track activity respectively. In Race mode, the McLaren P1™ becomes a fully focused racing car. Roll and heave stiffness are almost rock hard – the spring rates stiffen by 300 per cent – and ride height is now wafer thin. The car can corner at more than 2g. The McLaren P1™ has the same braking capability as a GT3 sports racing car, a step ahead of any super sports car sold today. Akebono, McLaren’s Formula 1™ and Automotive braking partner, developed bespoke carbon ceramic disc brakes, lighter and smaller than previous discs. Tyres are specially engineered by McLaren Automotive partner, Pirelli.
The cabin is cocooning, efficiently packaged, comfortable and free from clutter. It was inspired by fighter jet, complete with glass canopy overhead. It focuses on the needs of the driver. As with the exterior, it looks shrink-wrapped, free from flab. The carbon fibre structure is clearly on display. Why clad it with unnecessary (and weight wasting) trim? It’s minimalist in design, yet offers luxuries such as satellite navigation, climate control, decent stowage space and the convenience of high-tech TFT (thin-film transistor) instrumentation, whose display changes as you scroll between the different driving modes.
Weight saving, a priority throughout the car, is much in evidence. Even the top layer of resin on the carbon has been excluded, saving 1.5kg. There is no sound deadening. The thin racing seats have carbon shells and minimal padding, as in a sports racer. As always for McLaren, good visibility was a priority. The deep windscreen gives particularly good front vision. The front wheels sit directly below the highest point of the wings, to enable the car to be positioned precisely. You could easily imagine Formula 1™ tyres there instead.
The most thrilling supercars are usually the most compromised: their suspension is rock solid, road noise invades the cockpit and creature comforts are removed to reduce weight. The new McLaren 650S breaks the mould: it is sensational to drive yet generously equipped and extraordinarily comfortable. It’s the world’s ultimate luxury sports car.
Like every McLaren road car, carbon fibre sits at the core of the 650S. Stiff, strong and incredibly light, the MonoCell provides a solid platform for optimum chassis dynamics, ultra-responsive steering and exceptional ride comfort. Three adaptive chassis modes specially tuned for the 650S exploit this duality: select Track and you’ll feel hardwired to the road surface; switch to Normal and you’ll be almost entirely isolated from it.
Positioned behind you for optimum weight distribution and thrilling dynamics, the acclaimed M838T engine combines 3.8 litres and twin-turbocharging technology to produce an astonishing 650PS at 7250rpm, while 95% of its 678Nm is spread from 3000-7000rpm. That means the 650S revs like a racing car but retains low-speed flexibility.
This remarkable engine sends its power to the 650S’s rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with near instantaneous gearshifts. Pull the rocker shift paddle at full throttle and a new ‘inertia push’ function harnesses the engine’s torque for a feeling of positive acceleration throughout the shift. Change gear at part throttle and a fuel-cut punctuates the transition, adding an audible crispness. Whereas the Automatic mode ensures silky smooth shifts whatever your speed.
Every time you approach your McLaren 650S, you’ll feel the same tingle of excitement as when you first set eyes on it. Every panel, every surface, every detail has been painstakingly designed to take your breath away and enhance the thrill of the drive.
The 650S’s dramatic exterior styling was inspired by the iconic McLaren P1™. The assertive front end, with its LED headlights and aggressive splitter, optimises downforce, as do the door blades, which help to push the 650S into the road surface for maximum feedback and security. Large side intakes cool the potent V8 engine.
The 650S Spider features a class leading retractable hard top. It stops raining, the sun comes out, you don’t want to pull over… no problem. Press one button and the McLaren 650S Spider’s retractable hardtop folds gracefully into the bodywork in under 17 seconds, and it’ll do so at speeds of up to 30kph(19mph). The Airbrake not only helps the carbon brakes to stop you quickly and safely from extreme speeds, but also adds aerodynamic stability: automatically extending to add downforce whenever required but flattening on long straights to minimise drag, much like the Drag Reduction System on our Formula 1™ cars.
Forged alloy wheels fitted with Pirelli P Zero™ Corsa System tyres make the 650S even more exciting to drive, providing huge reserves of grip to complement its intelligent aerodynamics.
Open the dihedral door and it’s clear that the 650S is no stripped-out road racer: a lightweight, hand-stitched Alcantara interior is both comfortable and luxurious yet grips you hard on the racetrack. Satellite navigation, DAB or SIRIUS radio and air conditioning are present as standard equipment. Those desiring an even more bespoke experience can choose from carbon fibre race seats, an extended leather pack and further use of carbon fibre trim throughout the interior. A rear-view camera and electrically adjusting steering column can also be specified for maximum convenience.
Every surface and control has been optimised so that you get the most from driving your McLaren 650S.