Headline figures on McLaren’s new flagship read as follows: 0-100kph in less than three seconds, 0-200kph in under seven seconds and 300kph coming up in less than 17 seconds. Then there’s the matter of top speed which, for some unseen reason has been electronically limited to 350kph.
In order to achieve those figures the P1 makes use of two engines, a 3.8-litre V8 with two turbochargers that will whack out 542kW on its own. That petrol engine has been teamed with an electric motor capable of 131kW on its own. That totals 673kW and that can be accessed together with 900Nm of torque at the push of a ‘KERS’ button. McLaren calls it IPAS which, when pushed dispenses as much power as it can from the electric motor whilst also engaging the petrol motor in tandem.
The electric motor will also run for around 20km on its own before the petrol motor will jump in to help it out when power gets low.
Another feature brought from the Formula One car is DRS or drag reduction system. When a top speed run is attempted or if you want to put the car into its ‘slipperiest’ form then the DRS button can be pressed that drops the rear wing down and thus reduces the drag by 23%.
Because the P1 makes use of both petrol and electrical power it manages to cheat the Euro combined fuel cycle into thinking it can produce just 200g/km of CO2. In truth the electric engine is really only there to add shove to the low end of the rev range while the enlarged turbos on the petrol engine deal with the continuous thrust once it gets higher up the revs. It’s an ingenious solution to turbo lag if you think about it.
McLaren has preserved the exclusivity of the P1 by keeping production limited to just 375 units, each one carrying a price tag of around R12-million.