If you’re one of the few people that thought the McLaren 12C was a bit too tame then rest assured, the company’s new flagship, the McLaren P1, is going to be madder than a blender full of winged spiderfrogs. McLaren has just revealed some key information that paint a picture of a high-tech, high-octane monster of a thing ahead of its world premier at the Geneva Motor Show.
Beneath the McLaren P1’s stunning (and still camouflaged) exterior lies not one engine but two, the first being a new version of the 3.8-litre, twin-turbo unit found in the McLaren 12C. Thanks to “optimised cooling” and increased durability under higher loads, this monstrous lump produces an incredibly potent 727bhp and 720Nm of torque from 4,000rpm.
Incorporated directly into the petrol engine is a small electric motor that produces a further 173bhp and 260Nm of torque, creating a total output of 903bhp and 900Nm. Suffice to say, it’ll be fairly rapid.
The McLaren P1 can use its electric motor in a number of ways. Drivers in need of extra grunt can hit the The Instant Power Assist System (IPAS) button on the steering wheel and the electric motor will deploy to help the engine ferry the car along – quickly.
The motor can also slow the engine. It creates negative torque at the point of an upshift, ensuring the revs drop rapidly enough to have the correct engine speed at the point of changing gear. Shifts are taken care of by a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
More impressively, perhaps, the P1’s electric motor can also propel the car along in a battery-only, zero-emissions ‘E-mode’ for 10km at a time. Once that range is exhausted, the battery can be recharged in two hours from an ordinary electrical outlet. Its plug-in charger can be stored in the luggage compartment, or stored off-board to save weight.
The Mclaren P1 has other F1-inspired tech in the form of a Drag Resistance System, or DRS for short. Push another button on the steering wheel and that giant wing on the rear reduces its angle to reduce drag by 23 per cent, allowing for faster straight line speed. Release the button or hit the brake and the wing reverts to its normal position, increasing drag and downforce.
McLaren has promised to release more details ahead of its world debut, which means we hopefully won’t have to wait long to see the finished article.