Ending a long and enticing tease that began in Paris last fall with the unveiling of its original design study, the full-production 2014 McLaren P1 makes its official world debut in Geneva. Capturing virtually all of the visual and visceral excitement first evidenced in its high-profile precursor, this 903-horsepower ultra-performance hybrid supercar is destined for instant star status in the automotive universe.
True to its design brief, the new McLaren P1 features a full carbon-fiber/composite MonoCell structure derived from the automaker's current MP4-12C model that helps give it strength while reducing mass. Similar lightweight material is used for the car's dramatically shaped bodywork, which has been extensively tweaked in the McLaren Racing wind tunnel to optimize the P1's overall aerodynamic efficiency. McLaren says every line, contour and element -- including the new air ducts ahead of the front wheels -- plays a functional role in helping enhance the handling and stability of this this ultra-spec road warrior.
Of particular note is the P1's prominent "active" rear wing that functions much like the DRS (Drag Reduction System) found on a modern Formula One racing car. Abetted by a pair of articulated flaps behind the car's front wheels that also help channel airflow more efficiently, it can generate over 1,300 pounds of downforce at even moderate triple-digit speeds, significantly boosting the P1's at-the-limit cornering capabilities.
As previously confirmed, the mid-engine McLaren P1 packs a serious bit of hybrid motivation. On the gasoline side, its bespoke version of the automaker's M838T twin-turbocharged V8 used in the MP4-12C has been upgraded to develop 727 horsepower. The added electric kick - called IPAS for Instant Power Assist System - is provided by a 176-horse motor energized by a high-efficiency lithium-ion battery pack located behind the passenger compartment. Collectively the pair turns out an awesome 903 horsepower and 603 lb-ft of torque, while the low-end IPAS enhancement also ensures instant throttle response by effectively eliminating all vestiges of turbo lag.
Shipped to the rear wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, that combo gives the McLaren P1 stunning acceleration as well as the ability to travel a respectable distance in zero-emissions mode. Under full-flog conditions, McLaren says the car can streak from 0-62 mph (100kph) in less than 3.0 seconds, hit 124 mph (200kph) in less than seven and streak on to an electronically limited top speed of 218 mph. Driven at a more sedate 30 mph with the battery fully charged, it will reportedly travel up to 12.4 miles in pure EV mode.
The P1's aluminum-intensive suspension is a racing-derived pushrod design that includes sophisticated active dampers and anti-roll controls. Custom-designed Pirelli P Zero Corsa performance tires provide the ultimate stick for this new McLaren dream machine while Akebono-designed brakes that use a unique carbon-ceramic rotor material deliver F1-style stopping power.
Raise the McLaren P1's semi-gullwing doors and you enter cabin that celebrates its race-bred pedigree with loads of exposed carbon fiber set off with a full digital dash, flat-bottom racing wheel with control buttons for the DRS/IPAS and light --and lightly padded -- fixed-angle racing seats. While function definitely rules in this realm, the car also comes with top-line navigation/audio packages as well as climate control.
To maintain its exclusive character, McLaren will build only 375 examples of the P1 supercar with orders starting in March and first deliveries set to begin sometime late this year. In case you were wondering, U.S. pricing for the 2014 McLaren P1 will start at $1,150,000.
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