2019 McLaren Speedtail
McLaren’s spiritual successor to the iconic F1 will debut in 2018by Ciprian Florea, on
With the P1 out of production for quite some time, McLaren replaced it with the radical Senna supercar. However, the Brits are now working on yet another flagship vehicle that will be a more authentic successor to the F1 thanks to its three-seat layout. Known as the BP23 up until July 2018, the new supercar will be called the Speedtail.
As a successful race car builder since the 1960s, McLaren’s decision to launch its first road-legal car in the early 1990s made a huge impact on the British firm. Although the F1 was its sole vehicle for many years, and the SLR and then the MP4-12C stood as McLaren’s only offerings during their tenure, 2013 brought both the 650S and the P1. For the very first time, the Brits had two cars in dealerships. A couple of years later and the Super Series expanded to include more versions, while the more affordable Sports Series arrived to complete a trio of nameplates. Come 2017 and McLaren launched the Senna, a successor to the P1. But contrary to spy shots and rumors, the Senna doesn’t have a three-seat layout like the F1, which means that McLaren is actually working on yet another flagship model.
Okay, it may sound a bit confusing, so let me explain. When word got out of a successor to the P1, reports talked about a car codenamed the P15. It was supposed to be a more radical version of the P1 with a more powerful hybrid drivetrain. Later on, reports started talking about the BP23, also known as the Hyper-GT, a supercar with a three-seat layout with the driver in the middle, just like the F1. With no confirmation that McLaren was actually working on two different cars, the successor to the P1 was eventually believed to be the BP23. Now that the Senna is official, it’s pretty obvious that McLaren had different plans and will launch a new supercar soon. The Brits already launched a few teasers and details, and most recently confirm that the official name will be the Speedtail. Let’s find out more about it below.
Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren P15
2019 McLaren Speedtail
Horsepower @ RPM:789 (Est.)
Torque @ RPM:650 (Est.)
Displacement:3.8 L (Est.)
0-60 time:2.6 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:220 mph (Est.)
October 5, 2017 - McLaren P15 caught testing in the wild
- Teaser photo shows extreme design
- Organic features combined with sharp lines
- Unique styling
- Canopy-like cockpit
- Carbon-fiber body
- Adjustable aero elements
McLaren's teaser shows a pointy nose, flared wheel arches, and a fighter jet-style canopy
The design of the P23 is a complete mystery at this point. Although McLaren did release a teaser photo showing the figure of a car seen from above, it’s far from revealing. All we can draw from it is that it will have a pointy nose, flared wheel arches, a fighter jet-style canopy, and an aerodynamically shaped engine hood. McLaren also said that it will be "flowing and highly streamlined." It’s not much, and even though I’m tempted to say that the new 720S could be used as inspiration, McLaren will probably go with a unique design. As you may remember, the P1 inspired both the 650S and the 570S, so this range-topping supercar will probably introduce a brand-new design language rather than borrow from an existing model. Which makes a lot of sense given that the Senna is also unique.
While I can’t go into specifics without any design direction to cling on, and the Senna isn’t really an option, I think it’s safe to say that the Speedtail will boast a wild design. In addition to the sleek, maybe Le Mans-like styling, the supercar should also sport a number of innovative aerodynamic devices. McLaren has launched quite a few features like this on its recent vehicles, including the radical Senna and I’m sure that the Speedtail will get its fair share of spectacular and advanced aero elements. Of course, the body will be made almost entirely of carbon-fiber, so look for a bare carbon option in addition to the regular color palette.
I think it’s safe to say that the Speedtail will boast a wild design
Autocar, claiming to have accurate renderings of the vehicle, described the Speedtail’s (back when it thought it was the P15) styling as "brutal" and says that the car is said to be the "ultimate distillation of form following function." The outlet’s rendering indeed shows a brutal design, but there is no proof that that what we see here is based on the real deal. As far as I know, the Speedtail has yet to be unveiled to customers and the car has been a well-kept secret until now. But yeah, much like in the rendering, look for a massive diffuser and a huge rear wing with all sorts of adjustable elements.
I know it seems rather difficult to bring out a car that’s more aggressive and radical than the Senna, but if there’s one automaker than could do it, it’s definitely McLaren!
The TopSpeed Rendering
We kept some familiar McLaren features, starting with the swoopy beltline
In creating this rendering, our artist took all the details above and combined them into a virtual design that we think is pretty close to what the supercar will look like. As you can see, we kept some familiar McLaren features, starting with the swoopy beltline that goes high above the front wheels, then descends above the doors, only to ascend again toward the rear fascia. We also kept the trademark side intake with the black detailing on the doors.
The front fascia combines some familiar features, like the organic trunk lid and boomerang-shaped headlamps with a huge grille fitted with active aerodynamic elements and thin LED stripes for daytime running lights. Granted, the boomerang lights might not be a thing now that the Senna came out with different details up front, but the design was conceived long before the new flagship was unveiled.
The canopy-style cabin is inspired by Le Mans prototype cars
The canopy-style cabin is inspired by Le Mans prototype cars and it’s more aggressive than anything else seen on a McLaren so far. The British firm will probably offer two roof options: a standard carbon-fiber top and a full-glass option for those who want to enjoy natural lighting during the day.
In case you’re wondering why this extreme supercar doesn’t have a rear wing, I think that the aerodynamic element will sit flush on the rear decklid when not use. When the car goes into track mode, the big wing will move away from the body to enhance aerodynamics and improve cornering. Also, it will tilt forward during breaking. Based on the latest aero features unveiled by McLaren on the Senna, the Speedtail could get a two-tier wing and a complex retracting system. Of course, there’s also the possibility that McLaren will also build a track-only version with a fixed wing.
- Prototype based on 720S
- Wider body
- Revised air vents
- New side mirrors
The British firm is already testing the upcoming hypercar in the wild using a prototype based on the 720S
While no one outside McLaren has seen the PB23 yet, the British firm is already testing the upcoming hypercar in the wild using a prototype based on the 720S. McLaren has already released photos of the car on social media, and our paparazzi spotted it on public roads recently.
But, how do we know this is a test mule for the upcoming PB23 and not just a new version of the 720S? For starters, it has a three-seat layout with the driver seat placed in the middle. But that’s something we will discuss in the next section. Second, while it may seem identical to the standard 720S on the outside, this prototype is actually different.
Two new features stand out, starting with the side mirrors, which are significantly wider and placed in different positions. Then there’s the wider body. The latter is quite obvious in McLaren’s very own photo, which shows a wider center section and rear haunches. What’s more, the intakes carved into the upper doors and the rear fenders are much larger than on the standard 720S. This could very well mean that McLaren is already testing a new drivetrain.
- Three-seat layout
- Centered driver seat
- Race-inspired cabin
- Carbon-fiber everything
- Lightweight seats
- Rotating instrument cluster
The three-seat layout is borrowed from the iconic McLaren F1, which had a driver’s seat in the center
The interior of the Speedtail was an even bigger mystery up until now, but McLaren confirmed that the supercar will have a three-seat layout. This configuration is borrowed from the iconic McLaren F1, which had a driver’s seat in the center and two passenger seats on each side, but placed toward the back in the cockpit.
Note: McLaren F1 pictured here.
An identical configuration is being tested in the 720S mule, but footage suggests that the cabin design is far from finalized. The dashboard appears to have been designed for a full-fledged race car, with the steering wheel flanked by an array of buttons and switches. The configuration is a bit rough though, and it feels as if the cockpit should get a more welcoming appearance once all the features are installed. On top of the dash sits a flat instrument cluster that’s similar to the Folding Drive Display in the 720S and the Senna. It’s very likely that it will be used in the production model, as the slim display mode would come in handy at the race track by minimizing distractions.
It’s also safe to assume that the Speedtail will be heavily oriented toward track performance
Another interesting feature seen in the prototype are the large displays hanging from the roof at each corner of the windshield. These are used to display images from outside the car, but the photos suggest they show what the driver can already see in the side mirrors. So whether these are actual production parts or just a monitoring system for track testing is still a mystery.
Much like in the F1, the driver seat of the Speedtail will be custom fitted to the specifications desired by the customer for optimal fit and comfort. So regardless of height and weight, all buyers will feel comfortable behind the steering wheel. All three seats will most likely be made of carbon-fiber.
It’s also safe to assume that the Speedtail will be heavily oriented toward track performance, so it should have a wide range of race-inspired features. On the other hand, McLaren confirmed that the Speedtail will deliver an "unparalleled blend of extreme performance and sporting luxury" and that it will feature "exquisite new materials encouraging boundless tailoring through McLaren Special Operations." So it won’t be a stripped-out supercar, but a highly luxurious one aimed at the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini.
- Hybrid drivetrain with V-8 engine
- Likely more than 1,000 horsepower
- EV drivetrain possible
- Less than 2.7 seconds to 60 mph
- At least 220 mph
It could either use a beefed-up version of the 4.0-liter V-8 or a brand-new V-8 engine
A while back, Autocar claimed that the upcoming supercar will use a tweaked version of the company’s acclaimed twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8. The engine was reportedly rated at 789 horsepower, a 72-horsepower increase over the P1. The source also said that even though it will be less powerful, the supercar will have a better power-to-weight ratio, due to a curb weight of less than 1,300 kg (2866 pounds). These figures proved to be true, but for the Senna, which cranks out 789 horsepower from a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 and tips the scales at only 2,641 pounds.
As a result, the Senna is expected to match, if not beat the P1’s performance figures. As a reminder, the P1 needs 2.7 seconds to hit 60 mph and 10.2 clicks to complete the quarter mile, to go with a top speed of 217 mph. The Senna could (performance ratings aren’t available as of this writing) reach 60 mph in 2.6 seconds and run the quarter mile in less than 10 ticks. Top speed should increase too, but not by much. My best guess is a new top speed of around 220 or 221 mph.
*** While the gasoline mill is still a mystery, it’s already official that the Speedtail will have a hybrid setup ***
With these figures matching that of the Senna, the speculation leaves us with no info for the Speedtail. Of course, it makes sense for this supercar to be quicker than the P1 (and maybe even the Senna), but I’m not convinced that McLaren will use the same V-8. McLaren has already created a bigger, 4.0-liter unit for the 720S and Senna and it’s no mystery that the Brits are working on new drivetrains.
While the gasoline mill is still a mystery, it’s already official that the Speedtail will have a hybrid setup. But whether McLaren will use a V-8 or a new V-8 engine, the Speedtail should arrive with at least 1,000 horsepower combined. In this case, the 0-to-60 mph sprint could drop below the 2.5-second mark.
This where we also got contradictory information before the Senna’s. Whereas a report from March 2017 said that the supercar will cost around $2.5 million and spawn 106 units, Autocar quoted a price tag of around £840,000 (about $1.1 million) and a production run of 500 examples. The latter was actually for the Senna, which retails from £750,000 (around $1 million) and will hit public roads in 500 units. A $2.5 million price tag for the Speedtail is definitely plausible given the hybrid drivetrain, the far more exotic look, and the extremely limited production run (identical to the F1).
Given the exclusive and track-focused nature of the Speedtail, there aren’t many competitors to talk about. While the Bugatti Chiron is too heavy and not so agile at the race track, the Koenigsegg Agera is no longer in production. This leaves us with the next-generation Ferrari supercar, which will succeed the already iconic LaFerrari. Although nothing more than a rumor and a rendering right now, the LaFerrari successor should sport a wild exterior design with race-inspired features and active aerodynamics. The drivetrain will most definitely feature some sort of electrification, with most hints pointing toward a gasoline V-12 paired to a few electric motors. However, it’s not out of the question for Ferrari to create an all-electric supercar. With some modern EVs good for at least 1,000 horsepower, an all-electric Prancing Horse would be more than capable of competing against the McLaren P15. And much like any Ferrari supercar, it will cost a fortune and will become available in very limited numbers. As usual, sales will be restricted to Ferrari owners that already own a handful of Maranello-made sports cars.
Read our speculative review of the Ferrari LaFerrari successor.
Needless to say, we don’t know that much about the next-generation McLaren hypercar. The Speedtail hasn’t been spotted on public roads and McLaren has managed to keep the paparazzi away, which makes matters a bit frustrating, especially with so many rumors flying. We will find more in due time, but what I can label as certain at this point is that the Speedtail will be the wildest, quickest, most powerful McLaren ever built. And if that’s not exciting enough, be sure that it will be followed by a track-only GTR version.
Read our full review on the 2014 McLaren P1
Read our full review on the 1993 McLaren F1
Read our full review on the 2017 McLaren 720S.
Updated 08/07/2017: We created a rendering for the upcoming McLaren P15 supercar. Check the exterior section for more details on it.