The most powerful non-hybrid McLaren is restricted to the U.S. market

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The 2021 McLaren Sabre is a limited-edition supercar that the British company designed specifically for the U.S. market. Likely based on the Senna, the 2021 Sabre features an extremely aerodynamic body and hides a twin-turbo V-8 engine under the hood. Rated at 824 horsepower, it’s the most powerful V-8 from McLaren and makes the Sabre the brand’s most potent non-hybrid supercar. McLaren will build only 15 Sabres and all of them are already spoken for. What sets it apart from other supercars in McLaren’s stable? Let’s find out in the review below.

  • 2021 McLaren Sabre
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    824
  • Torque @ RPM:
    590
  • Displacement:
    4.0 L
  • Top Speed:
    218 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

  • Aggressive aero kit
  • Borrows from Senna
  • Borrows from Speedtail
  • Unique design overall
  • Le Mans-style fin
  • Big rear wing
  • Thin taillights
  • Big rear diffuser
  • Unique livery for every car
2021 McLaren Sabre Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 960586

Unlike previous McLarens, the Sabre was actually unveiled by the company’s Beverly Hills dealer, which showed off the first customer car. So while we have a few photos to run buy, there’s not a lot of information on this supercar. And looked at how aggressive the Saber is on the outside, McLaren has some explaining to do, especially since it claims that the car features "ideas and innovations that global homologation would not permit." The Brits suggest that some of the aero elements and the bodywork would not pass European or Asian homologation requirements, but it hasn’t explained why that is yet.

Anyway, the Sabre looks incredibly aggressive and the way this first customer car was painted creates the impression that McLaren slapped a ton of aero bits on a vehicle that blends styling cues from both the 765LT and the Senna. The front end looks familiar, sporting the same pointy nose and slim headlamps seen across the lineup, but the front fenders are decidedly more aggressive and paired with canards that extend from the outer edges of the splitter. The lower front bumper was carved out to improve aerodynamics, while the front hood seems based on the company’s GT3-spec race cars.

2021 McLaren Sabre Exterior
- image 960590

The profile of the Sabre is unique when compared to McLaren’s other aero-heavy car, the Senna. The side skirts look much more aggressive, while the vents in the rear fenders are a bit smaller. The way the rear fenders are connected to the side posts of the wing is also unique to this McLaren and reminds of prototype race cars and, to some extent, of the Ferrari F40. The rear hood is devoid of a traditional window and incorporates a Le Mans-style fin that extends all the way to the rear, acting as a center post for the big wing.

The rear fascia is thinner than on any other McLaren out there and it’s only disturbed by the center-mounted exhaust. It looks a bit similar to the Speedtail, but it doesn’t include taillights, because they are mounted vertically on the wing posts. They’re also extremely thin so you can missed them in sunlight. The lower section of the basically is basically a massive diffuser. It extends rather dramatically away from the rear fascia and it’s flanked by a pair of openings and small red lights.

2021 McLaren Sabre Exterior
- image 960591
Needless to say, the Saber is the most aggressive looking McLaren to date.

And yes, it’s much more dramatic than the Senna, while also retaining the streamlined features of the Speedtail. And that’s probably what would make it illegal in Europe and Asia.

This first customer car is finished in a three-tone livery that combines red, white, and black. However, all the other 14 cars should look different, as each one was customized with direct buyer input by MSO.

Interior

  • Very similar to Senna
  • Bucket seats
  • Alcantara upholstery
  • Contrast stitching
  • Exposed carbon-fiber
  • State-of-the-art tech
2021 McLaren Sabre Interior
- image 960584

McLaren had nothing to say about the Sabre’s interior and there’s only one photo that shows a section of the dashboard. But this is enough to notice that the Sabre is indeed based on the Senna. We can see a similar dashboard layout on the passenger side, the same round A/C vents at the corners, and the same smartphone-style, vertical display on the center stack. This doesn’t mean that the Sabre lacks any unique features, but it’s safe to assume that its cockpit is just a variation of the Senna’s. Here’s another shot that reveals the bucket seats, which come wrapped in red and black Alcantara with red and white stitching. We can also see that there’s plenty of exposed carbon-fiber on the dashboard, center console, and on the seat backs.

Drivetrain

  • 4.0-liter V-8
  • 824 horsepower
  • 590 pound-feet of torque
  • seven-speed dual-clutch
  • RWD
  • top speed at 218 mph
  • the most powerful non-hybrid McLaren
2021 McLaren Sabre Exterior
- image 960585

McLaren is currently working on its first twin-turbo V-6 engine for the upcoming Artura supercar, which will also feature an electric motor, but this didn’t stop it from delivering yet another V-8 monster.

The Sabre features the familiar twin-turbo V-8 under the hood, an engine it shares with the 720S, Speedtail, Senna, and Elva.

But the 4.0-liter unit has been upgraded to generate 824 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, a new benchmark for the award-winning V-8.

At 824 horsepower, the Sabre packs an extra 20 horses compared to the Elva, previously McLaren’s most potent V-8 model. It also delivers 35 horsepower more than the Senna, which comes with 789 horses on tap. Torque remains identical to the aforementioned models, but the horsepower rating makes the Sabre the most powerful non-hybrid McLaren ever built.

2021 McLaren Sabre Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 960588

And it doesn’t fall that much behind some of the hybrids either. The P1, for instance, generates a combined 903 horsepower, only 79 more than the Sabre. The Speedtail, on the other hand, cranks out an extra 214 horses at a grand total of 1,036 horsepower.

McLaren didn’t say how quick the Sabre is from 0 to 60 or 0 to 124 mph, but it should be one of the quickest yet. When it comes to top speed, it charges toward 218 mph, which makes it the fastest two-seater from McLaren as of December 2020.

The transmission is most likely a seven-speed dual-clutch revised to handle the extra power of the V-8 engine.

2021 McLaren Sabre specifications
Engine 4.0-liter V-8, twin-turbo
Horsepower 824 HP
Torque 590 LB-FT
Top Speed 218 mph

How much does the 2021 McLaren Sabre cost?

2021 McLaren Sabre Exterior
- image 960593

McLaren has yet to release pricing information, but it did say that the Sabre is sold out. What’s more important here is that this supercar is restricted to the U.S. market only and that McLaren is building only 15 units. This means the Sabre is one of the rarest McLaren supercars ever made. It also means that their owners likely paid massive seven-figure sums that probably exceeed $3 million. The Sabre could very well be the most expensive new McLaren.

Is the 2021 McLaren Sabre better than the Ferrari SF90 Stradale?

2020 Ferrari SF90 Stradale Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 914819

The SF90 Stradale features a hybrid drivetrain and it’s available globally, so it’s not exactly a fair comparison. But it’s also a limited-edition supercar that pays tribute to one of Ferrari’s greatest Formula One cars. It’s also the most aerodynamic version of the Ferrari 488 GTB, even though it’s not as extreme as the Sabre. The SF90 draws juice from a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 engine and three electric motors, two of which power the front wheels. The V-8 generates 769 horsepower, while the electric motors add 217 horses for a total output of 986 horsepower. That’s a solid 162 horses more than the Sabre. Maximum torque is actually identical to the McLaren at 590 pound-feet. The SF90 Stradale costs $625,000 and unlike the Sabre, production won’t be limited to just a handful of cars.

Read our full story on the Ferrari SF90 Stradale

Conclusion

2021 McLaren Sabre Exterior
- image 960592

The 2021 McLaren Sabre is a tremendous supercar no matter how you look at it. It combines design features from the Senna and Speedtail, both of which are outstanding creations, but it still stands on its own thanks to an overall unique exterior design. And just when you thought that McLaren won’t deliver a V-8 supercar with more power than the Elva, the Sabre arrive to take the crown and prove that this mill isn’t yet willing to die. But the Sabre’s biggest feat is its exclusive status. This supercar is limited to only 15 units and all of them were built with a lot of input from their respective buyers. McLaren even flew out test mules to the U.S. so Sabre buyers could drive them and provide feedback. It seems McLaren is moving deeper and deeper into the extremely exclusive supercar lineup and this is something Ferrari should be worried about.

  • Leave it
    • limited to the U.S. market only
    • you can’t buy one
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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