Revolutionary aerodynamics, central driver’s seat

The McLaren Speedtail is the latest iteration of the Ultimate Series. Although it follows the Senna, it actually replaced the P1, the spiritual successor of the F1. But unlike the P1, the Speedtail features a three-seat layout with a center-mounted drivers seat, just like the F1. Powered by a hybrid drivetrain, it’s the fastest, most powerful, and most aerodynamic McLaren built to date!

Dubbed a Hyper-GT and previously referred to as the BP23, the Speedtail is somewhat of a new concept from McLaren. While it has the output of a hypercar, it looks more like a super-streamline vehicle than a race-inspired supercar and sports a luxurious interior packed with innovative materials. Arguably the coolest thing about it is the central driving seat, a feature borrowed from the iconic F1. It’s the ultimate McLaren road car!

Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren Speedtail.

  • 2019 McLaren Speedtail
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8(Est.)
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    1035
  • Torque @ RPM:
    1000
  • Displacement:
    4.0 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    2.6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    250 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.8/10

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior

  • Longer than P1
  • Sleek, aerodynamic design
  • Teardrop shape
  • Front wheel covers
  • Huge diffuser
  • No rear wing
  • Cameras for mirrors
  • Bespoke paints
  • Tons of options
2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801985

The Speedtail looks unique, yet familiar. While it longer and sleeker than any other McLaren to date, it retains some of the styling cues seen on the 720S. This is most visible up front, where we can see the same V-shaped nose and slim, angled headlamps, and big cutouts toward the edges of the bumper. However, there are no vents other than the slim openings in the lower apron. Down below, the big splitter made from exposed carbon-fiber boasts an aggressive, V-shaped center section.

Move onto the sides, and that’s where you start to notice why the Speedtail is the most aero-efficient McLaren yet. Not only the roof is shaped like a teardrop, but the entire body boasts a similar design.

It has an unusually long rear deck and a sharp rear end that's basically a massive diffuser with a fascia so narrow that it barely has room for the extremely thin taillights.

The deck lid spoiler is also as sharp as they get.

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801979

The rear end is a one-piece clamshell that begins from where the doors meet the body. The design disrupts neither the visual continuity of the body or the flow of air over it. The carbon-fiber front-wheel covers further improve aerodynamics by reducing air turbulence around the wheel arches. Incorporated into the 20-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels, they remain fixed in position as the wheels rotate. The larger, 21-inch rear wheels don’t have covers, but they seem mounted deeper in the wheel arches. What’s more, the shape of the doors and the rear fenders route the airflow around them.

Unlike conventional production cars, the Speedtail doesn't have side mirrors.

Because traditional fixed door mirrors create a big amount of air turbulence, McLaren went with small cameras that project images of the sides inside the cabin, just like seen in concept cars. The cameras retract into the body when you activate the Velocity mode for top speed.

Around back, the Speedtail looks simple yet intriguing. Although it lacks a big wing, the deck lid is cleverly shaped to force the air into the spoiler, which creates extra downforce. The supercar also boasts twin ailerons here, which adjust to move the center of pressure and provide the required level of downforce when it is needed most. It also works as an air brake when decelerating and increases stability at high speed.

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801991

The fascia is just a narrow section above the massive diffuser. It incorporates very thin taillights and a "McLaren" badge at the center.

The diffuser is not only tall and deep, but also extends well in front of the fascia.

It’s also paired to a flat underfloor to diffuser the air flow before introducing it back into the free stream rather than separating it from the rear of the vehicle. It also works in conjunction with horizontal blades to reduce base pressure and drag.

Interestingly enough, the Speedtail is also narrower than the McLaren P1. But at the same time is almost half a meter longer, coming in at 5.13 meters from nose to tail. The shape, the dimensions, and the aero features make it the most aero-efficient McLaren road car ever. Given that the British have already unleashed the incredible Senna, a race car of the road, the Speedtail is damn impressive in the aerodynamics department.

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801987
Like any recent McLaren, the body is made entirely from carbon-fiber.

The presentation car is finished in Speedtail Silver, a Nano-metallic, molten-effect" paint developed specifically for this car, but McLaren will probably offer a bare carbon finish too. As a premier for the brand, the "McLaren" badge and "Speedtail" lettering are made from 18-carat white gold, with each letter individually pressed, clipped, and polished. Take that, Rolls-Royce!

2019 McLaren Speedtail Interior

  • Three-seat layout
  • Central drivers seat
  • Massive displays on the dash
  • Fine leather
  • Exposed carbon-fiber
  • Jet-inspired features
  • Custom luggage and bags
  • All the luxury you need
2019 McLaren Speedtail Interior
- image 801975

The Speedtail is built around the same Carbon Monocage body structure as the P1 and Senna, but McLaren made extensive modifications to make room for the three-seat layout.

Yes, you read that correct: the Speedtail has three seats and the driver sits right in the middle, just like in the iconic F1.

Similarly, the passenger seats on each side are set slightly rearward and integrated into the Monocage structure.

All three seats are decidedly race-inspired, featuring heavy side bolstering and integrated headrests. Not surprisingly, they’re made from carbon-fiber. Just like in the F1, the driver’s seat is highly customizable. Specifically, if you bought a Speedtail, you need to go to McLaren to have it tailor to your shape and size so you’ll feel comfortable at all times.

Get into a Speedtail — which let’s face it, many of us won’t get to do — and you’ll feel like in a spaceship. The dashboard is made exclusively of touchscreens, with three big displays stretching almost the entire width of the unit. There’s a massive display just in front of the steering wheel, and two slightly smaller screens on each side. The central display shows information on performance and car functions, while the side screens seem to provide access to air conditioning, navigation, and entertainment features.

2019 McLaren Speedtail Interior
- image 801992

You’ll also notice two more screens, place at each corner, behind the dash. There show images from the fender cameras that act as side mirrors.

The screens are placed in carefully selected spots so that they mimic the positions of the traditional mirrors mounted on the doors.

Unlike regular cars, the controls to start the engine, turn on the Active Dynamics Panel and engage Velocity mode -– as well as those to open the windows and doors -– are placed in carbon-fiber panels above the driver’s head. The controls are milled from aluminum, and then hand-brushed and polished. Obviously this design is borrowed from jet fighters and and to the cabin’s futuristic design.

Both the door and floor panels look as high-tech as they get. Most McLaren cars are usually either very sporty, while some are race-inspired and almost devoid of convenience features. The Speedtail’s cabin is a big step away from that idea. Although it remains loyal to the usual McLaren sportiness, it’s decidedly more luxurious in appearance. But even though McLaren covered most surfaces in aniline and lightweight leather, plus plenty of aluminum and carbon fiber, it’s not overly plush. It’s dramatic and soft at the same time, combining the rugged sportiness of the iconic F1 with a modern premium feel that’s not as obnoxious as a Bugatti Veyron or a Rolls-Royce Ghost.

It looks and feels just right!

2019 McLaren Speedtail Interior
- image 801976

McLaren paid careful attention to making the Speedtail as comfortable as possible. The seats come wrapped in directional leather that makes it easy to slide into but holds you in place when you drive, while the transparent roof allows plenty of light to enter the cabin. However, if you don’t like too much sun, the porthole, glazed upper section of the doors and rear-quarter windows feature electrochromic technology that allows them to independently turn opaque. The top of the windscreen is also made from electrochromic glass, thus eliminating the need for sun visors. Clever!

In addition, McLaren offers a range of new materials and customizing possibilities via MSO.

You can order lightweight leather as floor lining and you can have it in any color you like. It can also cover the storage compartments beneath the seats, allowing them to open like a piece of luxury luggage.

The full-aniline leather trim on the dashboard and passenger seats is made from fine Scandinavian hides treated to a five-week tanning process using vegetable oils. Of course, you can also order this leather in any desired color. Finally, you can select unique stitch patterns in any color, as well as painted and hand-polished trim edges.

So is there any room for luggage in this supposedly comfortable supercar? Definitely! Both the nose and long tail have room for a few bags. And much like the F1, you can order the Speedtail with a bespoke luggage set that features carbon-fiber, leather, and metalwork matched to the interior specification of the car. Unfortunately, there aren’t any luggage compartments in the side fenders and side skirts like the F1 had, but it’s still cool that you can carry some stuff.

2019 McLaren Speedtail New Carbon-Fiber Technology

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801982

McLaren went to great lengths to revolutionize the supercar market with the Speedtail and did so by creating new materials starting from carbon-fiber, which the British firm has been using in every car it has built since 1981.

McLaren says it has found a way to combine carbon technology with traditional Italian textile knowledge to develop a "digital loom" process that results in an even lighter material.

Formed from an intricate carbon-fiber weave that's just as strong as traditional carbon but lighter, McLaren used this technology to develop a carbon-fiber and titanium weave, but it's mostly to change the dark color of carbon.

Called Titanium Deposition Carbon Fiber, it incorporates a micron-thin layer of titanium that gives the material a chrome-effect shimmer. Fused directly into the weave to become an integral part of the carbon’s construction, it maintains the strength of the composite and doesn’t compromise the structure like traditional methods to change the color of carbon-fiber do.

McLaren used the carbon-titanium weave in the front splitter, rear diffuser, and side skirts. These elements have a transparent finish on the presentation model, but the titanium in the weave can be anodized in any bespoke color or to create interwoven images, symbols or words. One such example is the "McLaren" logo on the rear of the driver’s seat. Of course, you can add images on words on any components made from this material by ordering through McLaren’s MSO division.

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801988

But that’s not all.

McLaren also teamed up with Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille and created a much finer carbon-fiber weave.

A world-first for automobiles, the material is called Thin-Ply Technology Carbon Fiber (TPT) and comprises countless ultra-thin carbon layers only 30 microns in depth, each positioned at a 45-degree angle. The surface is then milled to expose a stratified weave that resembles flowing water. This material can be found in the overhead control panel, gearshift paddles, and steering wheel clasp. TPT is also used in combination with 18-carat white gold to create the "McLaren" badge on the nose.

2019 McLaren Speedtail Drivetrain

  • Hybrid drivetrain
  • 4.0-liter V-8?
  • New electric motors?
  • 1,035 horsepower
  • More than 1,000 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 186 mph in 12.8 seconds
  • Top speed at 250 mph
  • Fastest McLaren ever
  • Most powerful McLaren to date
  • Aluminum suspension
  • Carbon-ceramic brakes
2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801991

Just like its predecessor, the P1, the Speedtail features a hybrid drivetrain. McLaren describes it as "pioneering" but it doesn’t provides actual specs. However, there’s a big chance that the gasoline engine is the familiar twin-turbo V-8 found in all McLarens. The British firm recently enlarged the mill from 3.8 to 4.0 liters for the 720S and we know it’s capable of at least 710 horsepower.

McLaren didn't say whether the V-8 works with one or two electric motors, but mentioned that the Speedtail comes with a whopping 1,050 PS, which converts to 1,035 horsepower, on tap.

That’s 132 horsepower more than the P1. No word on torque yet, but it should exceed 1,100 pound-feet on both the V-8 and the electric motor(s) are running.

It’s the electric part that’s probably "pioneering," but we need to wait for more info to find out why.

What we do know for certain is that the Speedtail is the most powerful McLaren ever built.

And it's also the fastest, as it hits a top speed of 250 mph in Velocity mode.

That’s seven mph more than the F1, the world’s fastest production car before the Bugatti Veyron.

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801981

McLaren says the Speedtail is also the quickest, as it needs only 12.8 seconds to hit 186 mph from a standing start. I say "only" because that’s 3.7 seconds quicker than the P1. No 0-to-60 mph benchmark yet, but it’s safe to assume that the extremely aerodynamic Speedtail gets there in around 2.5 seconds.

Speaking of the Velocity mode, on top of optimizing the powertrain and active aerodynamics to achieve maximum speed, it also lower the car by 1.4 inches. When this happens, the highest point of the vehicle is only 3.7 feet from the road surface.

McLaren also unveiled that the Speedtail rides on an aluminum active suspension, bespoke Pirelli P-Zero tires, and that it has carbon-ceramic brakes, but details remain locked in vault for the time being.

But needless to say, the Speedtail’s performance is spectacular, to say the least!

2019 McLaren Speedtail Prices

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801983

The Speedtail is one of McLaren’s most limited vehicles yet, with only 106 units set to leave the assembly line in Woking. The production run is identical to the iconic F1. Pricing starts from £1.75 million plus taxes, which converts to $2.24 million as of October 2018. This is a significant hike from the P1, priced from £866,000 back in the day, and the Senna, priced from £750,000. However, the Speedtail will be built in significantly less units.

But despite the massive price tag, all 106 examples were accounted for before the Speedtail was unveiled to the public. Yes, you’ll have to wait for one to show up at an auction event to be able to own the Speedtail.

2019 McLaren Speedtail Competition

Ferrari LaFerrari successor

2021 Ferrari LaFerrari Successor Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exclusive Renderings
- image 721739

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.

Conclusion

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801985

McLaren describes the Speedtail as the ultimate road car that "harmonizes sleek and seamless beauty with pioneering technologies and extreme performance." As much as I hate fancy PR talk, I must admit that the description is spot on. The Speedtail is all of the above and then some. Seriously now, when I saw the Senna, I thought that supercars can’t get more extreme than that. I’m glad to admit that McLaren proved me wrong with the Speedtail, which is not only more powerful, but more aerodynamic too. Improving aero efficiency is downright difficult without all sorts of wings and spoilers, and McLaren somehow managed to do it with a clever teardrop design and subtle active aerodynamic features.

It’s also surprisingly fancy inside the cabin for a McLaren, but it doesn’t scream "look at me" in a trivial way. Power? Nothing to complain about really, despite the lack of technical details. Of course, I’m very curious as to what electric motor McLaren designed for this vehicle, but at 1,000+ horsepower, it doesn’t matter that much. Once again, McLaren takes performance to a new level and offers unprecedented customization possibilities. To be honest, the only thing that’s missing here, and I’m being very picky, is a higher top speed for a potentially new Guinness Book record.

  • Leave it
    • Very, very expensive
    • Sales limited to existing McLaren owners
    • Sold out before debut

Further reading

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801985

The McLaren Speedtail Sets a New Company Standard that Will Be Hard to Beat

2019 McLaren Speedtail Exterior
- image 801990

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 McLaren Speedtail.

The first McLaren Senna shipped to the U.S. Is drop dead gorgeous Exterior
- image 787414

Read our full review on the 2019 McLaren Senna.

2014 McLaren P1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 525097

Read our full review on the 2014 McLaren P1

1993 McLaren F1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 674548

Read our full review on the 1993 McLaren F1

Update History

Updated 08/07/2017: We created a rendering for the upcoming McLaren P15 supercar. Check the exterior section for more details on it.

The most extreme road car in McLaren’s history is set to make its debut later this year – and Autocar has the full exclusive story.

Codenamed ‘P15’ and said to feature an 800PS engine with a strippedout interior and overall weight of less than 1,300kg, the new model will be the second in McLaren’s Ultimate Series range after the hybrid P1.

Designed to be the most extreme, track-ready but still road legal car in the line-up, McLaren’s engineers have reportedly been given the freedom to prioritise performance over everything else and the P15 is said to be faster on a racing circuit than any McLaren, bar the track-only P1 GTR.

At its heart is a tweaked version of McLaren’s 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 said to produce around 800PS (789bhp) – making it more powerful than the 727bhp produced by the road-going P1’s engine, but below the 903bhp peak achieved when the P1’s electric motor is also in operation.

However, the car’s weight is said to have been slashed by the use of McLaren’s latest Monocage II one-piece carbonfibre tub (which now includes the roof structure), and when combined with a race-inspired two-seater interior and no P1-style electrical powertrain, that should mean the P15 tips the scales at less than 1,300kg.

Against the 1,547kg P1, that would give the P15 an even better power-to-weight ratio, a crucial factor in achieving the goal of outstanding performance on the track. Straight-line performance is expected to match, if not beat, the P1’s figures of 0-60mph in 2.7 secs and a quarter mile time of 10.2 seconds.

The car’s brutal styling is said to be the ultimate distillation of form following function with carbon bodywork used only where it delivers a performance, rather than aesthetic, benefit. Active aerodynamics, with self-adjusting spoilers (knowledge gleaned from McLaren’s F1 experience), not to mention a huge diffuser are also expected to dominate. Autocar has produced a set of images to give a first glimpse at how the P15 could look.

The official reveal will take place later this year, restricted to existing McLaren customers and potential buyers, followed by an official public debut at March 2018’s Geneva Motor Show. A price tag of around £700,000 plus tax (£840,000 in the UK) is mooted with production set to be limited to just 500 cars.

While other McLaren models such as the 675 have spawned Longtail (LT) and Spider open-top variants, the track focused natured of the P15 has ruled these out. However, as it will be a road car, there is the potential for a track-only GTR version as McLaren did with the P1 and P1 GTR.

Autocar editor Mark Tisshaw said: “McLaren has always been relentless in the pursuit of performance – but with Aston Martin’s upcoming Valkyrie and the Mercedes-AMG Project One set to redefine the rules of the hypercar market, it has to keep ahead of the game. Hence the P15.

“There’s no doubt that this will be an incredible machine, but what McLaren has learned of late is to create a car with a broad dynamic brief. With track performance as its goal, the P15 will obviously be outrageous on a racing circuit, but with that low weight, pared-back cabin and non-hybrid powerplant, it promises to be exceptional on the road too. If it does that, it will have created arguably an even better car than the P1 - some achievement.

“These are certainly exciting times for the Woking-based firm as the P15 will also joined by a three-seat, F1-inspired hyper-GT – another story broken exclusively by Autocar. Codenamed BP23, the car will be revealed next year and arrive in 2019.”

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