Probably All You Need And Want To Know About the New McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT

Facts about the new McLaren Speedtail will reveal just how much of a technological marvel the new car really is. It is like the opposite of the Senna, which is all about downforce, cornering, and track abilities. The Speedatail, also known as the Hyper-GT, is a long distance cruiser made to make impressive speed runs, create a luxurious ambiance for its three occupants, and be the fastest thing on the road. Previously, we have seen it in the BP23 prototype guise. Now, however, McLaren delivered something extraordinary - a true McLaren F1 successor. At least a spiritual successor as this one doesn’t have a naturally aspirated V-12, and it is built of materials so advanced that the F1 feels like a relic in comparison.

Nevertheless, the looks of the Speedtail just reveal how dedicated designers were to creating the fastest car possible. No wonder it looks a bit like a Jaguar XJ220, or a bit like a puffed up Volkswagen XL1.

It is Not Street Legal in the U.S.

You read that right. The most amazing McLaren that ever existed is illegal in the U.S. Well, not entirely so.

Actually, 33 percent of all buyers of the new McLaren Speedtail come from the U.S.

Obviously, some of them do intend to drive the car on the road at one point in time. And they can do so, but not via regular means of registration. Instead, they will be able to drive the car under the "Show or Display" rules that have been imposed since 1999. These rules enable certain specialty cars, prototypes, concept cars, and cars that do not conform to the NTHSA rules to be driven up to 2,500 miles per year on the road. Plenty enough for a car with the status of the Speedtail. Track driven miles aren’t included here. In fact, you could drive your Speedtail on the track as you like and for as long as you like.

Nevertheless, I am listing here all the reasons that make it illegal to drive the McLaren Speedtail on public roads in the U.S.

First of all, the McLaren Speedtail does not have side airbags that would conform to the NTHSA rules.

The rather unusual three-seat layout hindered McLaren’s efforts to create new side airbags for the car. As this is a specialty model, the development of an all-new side airbag system simply was not logical, nor financially feasible.

Side cameras on the new McLaren Speedtail actually project images on the interior mounted displays, obviously acting as rearview mirrors. This technology is illegal in the U.S as of yet, which makes it the second technological issue that does not conform to the rules in the U.S.

Static wheel covers on the front wheels

16 Astonishing Facts About The New McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT Exterior
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One of the biggest peculiarities of the new McLaren Speedtail are definitely the covers on the front wheels. While they can be removed, McLaren strongly suggests that you don’t.

These, in fact, are stationary units connected with the car through the wheels and made of carbon fiber.

Static wheel covers are installed to dramatically reduce air turbulence, to smooth airflow around the sides of the car, keep the air close to the car, and guide the air to the “blades” on the side to make it literally cut through the air. This is just one out of a number of amazing aerodynamic features employed in the intricate design of the Speedtail.

Three Seat Cockpit

16 Astonishing Facts About The New McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT Interior
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It’s back. For years enthusiasts (those with the money) have been asking the Woking-based manufacturer to produce something as astonishing as the F1, with an emphasis on the three-seat layout. Well, this is it - the Speedtail.

The front carbon-fiber seat is centrally positioned with the side seats actually incorporated into the carbon fiber tub.

So, they cannot move at all but are covered in the finest leather. Plus, those who have actually sat in them say that it is quite cozy.

Nevertheless, the two seats on the sides prove that McLaren is willing to go the extra mile with the creation of its cars. When you think about it, the Speedtail may be the most amazing car in the world - with an incredible predecessor, with technology never seen on a road car, with the power of a hypercar, and speed comparable to that of the fastest cars of today.

Now, the three seat cockpit does mean you will be able to bring your friends. You will, undoubtedly, also need some luggage compartments. In that regard, McLaren offers front and back luggage compartments and the owner can even purchase bespoke luggage bags that fit perfectly into the compartments. Aside from the boot up front and at the back, small compartments can be found under both side seats. One interesting fact about the practicality inside - you can have cup holders in there as well.

Rear View Cameras Instead Of Mirrors

16 Astonishing Facts About The New McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT Exterior
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Cameras are finally being installed instead of rearview mirrors. At least in the developed world, not in the U.S. as this is still an illegal proposition here. The McLaren Speedtail has the technology with the high-res cameras actually sticking out of the car on retractable carriers.

As the Speedtail is all about low drag, using cameras instead of mirrors will greatly help with lowering the drag coefficient.

McLaren did not report how much of drag it managed to slash using the cameras. However, Audi reported that by installing cameras instead of rear view mirrors on their E-Tron SUV, it managed to lower the drag coefficient by 0.02 Cd. The cameras on the McLaren are even smaller compared with those on the Audi, and I am sure they contribute even more.

The picture from the cameras is transferred to displays inside. Two of them are sitting at the very edge of the dashboard on each side. Compared with standard mirrors, these cameras actually do provide a far wider view at the back.

The Curved Glass Window Is The Largest Ever On A McLaren

16 Astonishing Facts About The New McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT Exterior
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Every single piece of the McLaren Speedtail seems to be a story for itself. The windshield is actually the largest curved glass section ever used on a McLaren. However, apart from being big, McLaren also made it quite smart. The windshield extends far above the head and makes up a lot of the tear-shaped canopy that McLaren formulated for a car like this. Now, instead of using classic sun visors and breaking the seamless ambiance of the cabin or actually distracting the driver from,... well, driving, McLaren included electrochromic glass that can become opaque at a touch of a button.

The glass on the roof and on the upper side of the doors also uses electrochromic glass.

You are basically able to control the amount of light entering the cabin by making the glass surfaces opaque.

Apart from this, the glass section has tiny LED lights installed. These provide light and create quite an amusing and astounding ambiance in the exterior. These lights do actually act as ambient lighting. Having them installed into the glass section only makes the McLaren Speedtail ever so more dramatic and exclusive.

Velocity Mode

16 Astonishing Facts About The New McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT Exterior
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The McLaren Speedtail’s top speed and best performance is available only upon summoning the so-called Velocity Mode. Available for activation via a button located on the roof (that is where McLaren located most of the buttons to keep the dash free of all the hustle), Velocity Mode activation makes three fundamental changes to the Speedtail.

First of all, it makes the car hunker down by more than an inch; then it releases all the fury of the electric motor and the internal combustion engine.

In fact, the RPM’s are intentionally increased by some margin to increase its capacity for the battery recharge.

Finally, the aerodynamics of the car is improved by retracting those little cameras. This makes it possible for the McLaren Speedtail to achieve its top speed of an amazing 250 mph.

Now, the Bugatti has that special key you insert in the special opening between the door and the seat. This one activates the Top Speed mode which allows the car to achieve its top speed of 261 mph. Obviously, Velocity Mode is something similar, only easier to select and it does not actually require any conditions to be met. The Bugatti’s top speed mode does.

Aerodynamics

16 Astonishing Facts About The New McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT Exterior
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The Speedtail design makes for the least possible drag coefficient. This does mean that it does not have the downforce of the mad Senna or even of some older McLaren cars. However, this also means that the Speedtail is able to touch a top speed no other McLaren has managed to hit before. Obviously, the look of the car reveals enigmatic enthusiasm in creating a beautiful, yet extremely slippery car. The rear end with that awesome tail is only a part of the aerodynamic proves the Speedtail obviously externalizes.

The Speedtail is exactly 21.6 inches longer than the P1, yet it is narrower. With a length of 202.2 inches, it’s big. For a reason.

The teardrop design of the canopy leads the air towards the engine mounted behind the rear seats.

Yet, thanks to the slippery body without any interruptions, the air can reach the engine compartment even without massive intakes.

On the other hand, isn’t it amazing that McLaren was so dedicated to removing all possible shut lines and gaps from the body? That is why this McLaren has a one-piece rear clamshell. Heck, even the rear active spoiler is actually made of flexible carbon fiber. It can raise or lower to change the shape of the rear end without actually being a separate piece. It’s amazing, to say the least.

The aerodynamics is the only reason McLaren made those massive carbon fiber bodywork panels without any gaps. While this does not make a lot of sense for a car that can do 124 mph, it definitely makes sense for a car that can double that.

It Has Special Tires

Shmee150 Takes a First Look at the McLaren Speedtail
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As with any other part of this magnificent technological exercise, the tires for the McLaren Speedtail had to be special.

McLaren partnered with Pirelli in an effort to create tires that will be able to withstand extreme speeds - 250 mph - provide exceptional comfort, last long enough, and be usable at slow speeds.

That is a hard job and McLaren officials actually said that they could have made something to go even faster than 250 mph, but the tires would have to be much different.

The company settled for 250 mph and bespoke Pirelli P-Zero rubber. Interestingly enough, this car shares a whole lot of features with magnificent machines like the Bonneville Speedsters, for example. The front tires measure 20 inches in diameter but are actually quite narrow. Obviously, the rear tires transfer all the power to the ground and are much wider.

It Has a 1,036 Horsepower Gasoline-electric Hybrid Powertrain

16 Astonishing Facts About The New McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT Exterior
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McLaren is rather coy on specifications for its propulsion system.

We do know that power for the Speedtail comes from a hybrid system with a combined estimated power output of 1,036 horsepower.

Bear in mind, the Speedtail, while certainly efficient, doesn’t try to be so. That is why I doubt it has any electric-only drive capacity. I don’t see a charging point on the outside, so I doubt it is a plug-in hybrid either. It is, in fact, a machine that is focuses on top speed and will transfer all the imaginable power to the rear wheels.

Unfortunately, details about the propulsion are nonexistent, but considering this is yet another machine in the Ultimate Series of McLaren, I’d say it has a 4.0-liter, V-8 engine with 780+ horsepower and a 300ish horsepower electric motor.

Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer at McLaren, said that “a ground-breaking hybrid powertrain sits within a lightweight carbon fiber body reminiscent of sleek ‘streamliners’ that once set world speed records.”

Not a lot of words about the system is there!? Except for the word “ground-breaking”! Can’t wait to learn what that really means!

Dry Weight Of 1,430 kilograms (3,153 pounds)

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Making a powerful car is one thing, but making it light is a whole another set of challenges. Built entirely from carbon-fiber, the Speedtail takes lightweight design to a whole new level. McLaren even built a unique Monocage (a carbon tub basically). It is of a different design compared to the ones in the 720S, the Senna, or the P1. Add to this an aluminum suspension and carbon brakes, and you have yourself a car built of so many cool materials, you’d be a champion in any pub talk.

But, you don’t go to pubs. You go to Golf courses. And you’d be a champion there too. You know why?

Because this thing is up to 1,300 lbs lighter than a freaking Bugatti Chiron.

And that is the car many would compare your Speedtail with.

The Speedtail is the Fastest and Quickest McLaren Yet

Shmee150 Takes a First Look at the McLaren Speedtail
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McLaren Speedtail performance:

  • 0-62 mph in 2.5 seconds (not confirmed)
  • 0-186 mph in 12.8 seconds (confirmed)
  • Top speed of 250 mph (confirmed)

Well, numbers like these do tell us a lot about the McLaren Speedtail.

Not only is it dramatically quicker to 186 mph compared to the P1, which needs 16.5 seconds to reach that speed, but it is also 0.3 seconds quicker than the Chiron.

On the other hand, it is slower to 186 mph by almost a second compared with the Koenigsegg Agera RS which does the job in 11.9 seconds.

Andy Palmer, McLaren’s Ultimate Series Vehicle Line Chief commented on the Speedtail performance:

“This is the first car that we’ve felt we could comfortably go beyond [the F1’s top speed] with. The 250mph speed is due to a balance of comfort and tire [capabilities],” he said. “It’s still got to be a usable GT car, and there’s a trade-off.“

The legendary F1 could achieve 243 mph, which is amazing by any standard. Despite being faster by just seven mph than a 25-year-old supercar, the McLaren Speedtail does many other things better than any other supercar or hypercar. It is luxurious, comfortable, seats three, and can beat almost anything on the road anywhere in the world.

The McLaren Speedtail is Part of the Ultimate Series

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The McLaren Speedtail is the third entry into the McLaren Ultimate Series of cars.

It joins the P1 and the Senna, however, it takes a fundamentally different approach, and is more similar to the original F1 we all like than both of its brothers.

“McLaren has never built a vehicle like the Speedtail before. Like our first ‘Hyper-GT,’ the Speedtail is the ultimate McLaren road car; a fusion of art and science that combines astonishing maximum speed with an iconic central-driving position and a truly pioneering approach to bespoke personalization,” Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

It’s a McLaren’s Special Operations Car

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McLaren Special Operations, aka MSO, is one responsible for the production of each Speedtail. This means that the car truly is a special proposition and that every single one will be tailored specifically according to any whims of the buyer.

Heck, McLaren plans to fly each customer to its company so that the car can be produced precisely to the customer’s liking.

“Customers have been asking us for a new F1 since McLaren Automotive was born eight years ago,” says Andy Palmer, Vehicle Line Director for the Ultimate Series. “The Speedtail is the car they have been waiting for. When we showed it to them in early October, the reaction suggested we had delivered what they had been expecting.”

The McLaren Speedtail will Change Before Production Begins

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The car you can see in these pictures is basically a pre-production prototype. Some changes can be expected before the start of production in late 2019. Of course, you can’t expect some fundamental changes happening to it.

Nevertheless, production will commence as soon as production of the McLaren Senna GTR finishes.

The first cars are certain to reach the streets in 2020, so don’t expect any in-depth reviews before then. As a homage to the original McLaren F1, the Woking manufacturer will produce exactly 106 units of the Speedtail. That is the number of F1s produced back in the day.

The Mclaren Speedtial is One of Just 18 New Cars to Come

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McLaren revealed something called the “Track 25” business plan.

This plan includes the introduction and production of 18 all-new cars by the year 2025.

The McLaren Speedtail is the first vehicle to be produced by the guidelines of the Track 25 business plan. Interestingly enough, the last one to be introduced will be a successor to the McLaren P1. We can’t even imagine what that thing is going to look like.

The McLaren Speedtail is Expensive

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Expensive?

You bet it is! With planned production of only 106 units, the Speedtail is one of the most exclusive vehicles ever produced.

Considering it is also the fastest, the quickest (and probably the longest) road car the company has ever envisioned, I am not even surprised by the price of $2,240,000.

Yet, despite such a massive price, each unit has already been spoken for. In plain English - the Speedtail is sold out. As I was saying above, a third of the production will end up in the garages of U.S. customers. That despite the fact that the Speedtail is practically illegal on our roads.

Conclusion

The McLaren Speedtail is basically a concept car, dressed up to be a fantastic luxury cruiser for the road. It has a futuristic cabin, looks that would pass as a Bonneville speed racer, technology never seen before on a production car, and has more than 1,000 horsepower. It is a concept car. One that will be comfortable at 250 mph. It is the best McLaren yet.

Further reading

16 Astonishing Facts About The New McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT Exterior
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The McLaren Speedtail Sets a New Company Standard that Will Be Hard to Beat

16 Astonishing Facts About The New McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 McLaren Speedtail.

The first McLaren Senna shipped to the U.S. Is drop dead gorgeous Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 McLaren Senna.

2014 McLaren P1 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2014 McLaren P1

1993 McLaren F1 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 1993 McLaren F1

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