New McLaren Speedtail revealed
McLaren Automotive has revealed the stunning, streamlined form and sensational specification of the McLaren Speedtail.
'McLaren has never built a vehicle like the Speedtail before. As our first 'Hyper-GT', the Speedtail is the ultimate McLaren road car; a fusion of art and science that combines an astonishing maximum speed with an iconic central-driving position and a truly pioneering approach to bespoke personalisation. A ground-breaking hybrid powertrain sits within a lightweight carbon fibre body reminiscent of sleek 'streamliners' that once set world speed records, while the luxurious three-seat cockpit offers a sublime combination of an incredible driving experience, unmatched individualism and innovative materials never seen before in a road-going vehicle.'
Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer, McLaren Automotive.
As the most powerful and most aerodynamically drag efficient McLaren, the Speedtail can exceed the 243mph record peak speed of the legendary McLaren F1, a feat made possible by intense collaboration between McLaren's design and engineering teams to deliver a peerless blend of aerodynamic, powertrain and dynamic excellence. It is also significant that this is the first of 18 new cars or derivatives that McLaren will introduce as part of its Track25 business plan.
The Speedtail model is built around a bespoke McLaren Monocage carbon fibre structure and benefits from lightweight engineering throughout, including an all-carbon fibre body, aluminium active suspension and carbon ceramic brakes. The powertrain is a pioneering petrol-electric hybrid developing a combined 1,050PS to support the extraordinary performance.
A speed of 403km/h (250mph) is achieved in a unique Velocity mode, which has been developed specifically for the Speedtail. Velocity mode optimises the hybrid powertrain for high-speed running, while also tailoring the angle of the active rear ailerons. Additionally, the digital rear-view cameras can be retracted to further improve drag. Furthermore, the Velocity Active Chassis Control can lower the Speedtail by 35mm, leaving the highest point of the vehicle just 1,120mm from the road surface.
The hybrid powertrain enables a relentless increase in vehicle speed regardless of engine rpm and the low weight of the Speedtail – only 1,430kg dry – hastens this ability. The straight-line acceleration of the Speedtail sets a new benchmark for a McLaren, with 0-300km/h (0-186mph) achieved in just 12.8 seconds; McLaren Automotive's previous Ultimate Series hybrid, the McLaren P1™, could reach this speed in 16.5 seconds. A bespoke P-ZERO™ tyre designed for the Speedtail's extreme speed has been developed with McLaren technology partner, Pirelli.
Being at the wheel of a Speedtail promises to be a truly sensational experience and unlike that enjoyed in any other car. The driver is positioned centrally in the luxurious cockpit, with seating for two additional passengers set slightly rearwards. There is luggage space within both the nose and tail of the vehicle and a bespoke luggage set is available to every owner, the carbon fibre, leather and metalwork on the cases being matched to the interior specification of their Speedtail.
Streamlined simplicity is the key to true elegance
'As an Ultimate Series model, at the pinnacle of the McLaren range, the Speedtail pushes the limits of what is possible technically. Just as the McLaren Senna is the embodiment of extreme aerodynamic technologies and weight saving, so too is the Speedtail – but for this McLaren, the purpose was to achieve a new level of design sophistication and weight reduction in the pursuit of low aerodynamic drag, breath-taking acceleration and extreme velocity.' said Andy Palmer, vehicle line director, Ultimate Series, McLaren Automotive
The essence of the McLaren Speedtail is modern design and craftsmanship in the truest sense, the breathtakingly sophisticated shape having been brought to life using the very latest digital development technologies. By radically rethinking every aspect of the exterior design and drastically reducing weight, aerodynamic drag efficiency was maximised, acceleration improved and top speed increased.
Elegance has been created through reduction: every body panel is carbon fibre and has been sculpted to reduce drag; retractable digital rear-view cameras replace traditional door mirrors to further aid aerodynamic performance; carbon fibre front-wheel static aero covers reduce air turbulence around the wheelarches; and the seamless silhouette is enhanced by a reduction in the number of shutlines – including a one-piece rear clamshell – which disrupt neither the visual continuity of the body or the flow of air over it. The patented active rear ailerons ensure the continuity of the design remains uncompromised, with drag kept to a minimum.
Every element and every aspect of the McLaren Speedtail has been considered in the mission to reduce drag and maximise top speed.
The required flow of air to the powertrain is maintained with two intakes that slope downwards, starting just behind the glass canopy. The intakes – which are split by the central high-mounted stop light – curve down into the engine cover before disappearing from view; a shorter, more aggressive intake would cause the air to separate from the surface and pass over the intake.
One of the innovations immediately obvious on the McLaren Speedtail is the introduction of lightweight, carbon fibre front-wheel static aero covers. Incorporated into the 20-inch, 10-spoke forged alloy front wheel design to minimise aerodynamic drag, they remain fixed in position as the wheels rotate, the flat surface smoothing airflow around what would otherwise be a turbulent aerodynamic area. Typically, the revolution of a wheel drives air away from the vehicle, but the carbon fibre front-wheel static aero covers keep the air 'attached' to the car and guide it onwards to the door blades on the leading edge of the dihedral doors.
Door mirrors are notably absent, the McLaren Speedtail instead featuring two discreet, high-definition digital cameras that glide out of the doors when the vehicle ignition is activated. Traditional fixed door mirrors create a surprising amount of air turbulence, but with a significantly smaller profile, the cameras on the Speedtail have only a minimal effect on airflow; furthermore, they provide a much wider field of view of the road behind. The camera feed is displayed on two screens, positioned at either side of the instrument panel in front of the driver. When Velocity mode is selected, the cameras retract into the doors, reducing drag further still.
Beautifully tailored luxury, of your own creation
'The McLaren Speedtail is a vehicle unlike any other, not simply because of the astonishing visual drama, extreme speed and aerodynamic excellence that distinguish it, but because it sets unprecedented standards in technical luxury and bespoke customisation. The same boundless innovation and creativity that drives McLaren to push the limits of physical performance have challenged us to craft an exquisite interior defined by pioneering design and the absolute pinnacle of materials quality.' Said Rob Melville, design director, McLaren Automotive
The windscreen curves upwards to become part of the roof, meeting a glazed porthole above the driver's head and the glazed upper section of the dramatic dihedral doors. The incredible sense of space continues rearwards with glass rear-quarterlights that stretch back behind the seats to almost level with the rear axle. An extraordinary amount of light streams into the cockpit – unless the occupants choose otherwise, in which case the porthole, glazed upper section of the doors and rear-quarterlights feature electrochromic technology that allows them to independently turn opaque in an instant. Separately, the top of the windscreen is also electrochromic glass, forgoing the need for sun visors.
Ahead of the driver is a state-of-the-art control system, with high-definition displays and touchscreens that sweep across the dashboard and remove almost every button and switch traditionally found in a car. 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 in panels above the driver's head. These controls and the other switches and dials are milled from aluminium, and then hand-brushed and polished.
McLaren's vision for the Speedtail – to create the ultimate in bespoke vehicle design – begins with carbon fibre, a material that McLaren has pioneered for nearly four decades, with every road or race car it has built since 1981 having a strong, stiff and light composite structure at its core. The Speedtail marks a revolutionary advance in the creation and usage of carbon by McLaren, with state-of-the-art technologies combining with traditional Italian textile knowledge to conceive a 'digital loom' process that delivers an even lighter composite material formed from an intricate carbon fibre weave.
Pursuing further innovation, McLaren utilised this digital loom technique to develop a unique carbon fibre and titanium weave, christened Titanium Deposition Carbon Fibre. Traditional methods to change the colour of carbon fibre can compromise the material's structural integrity and visual clarity; for the Speedtail, a micron-thin layer of titanium is fused directly onto the weave and becomes an integral part of the carbon fibre's construction. The titanium deposition process maintains immense strength and low weight and creates a truly remarkable finish of visual carbon fibre with a chrome-effect shimmer.
The front splitter, diffuser and side skirts are all finished in 1K Titanium Deposition Carbon Fibre. This material has just 1000 fibres per thread, making it lighter than the 3K alternative and allowing the adoption of a Jacquard weaving process to create an intricate, bespoke pattern in the Visual Carbon Fibre elements. The titanium can additionally be anodised in any bespoke colour or used to create interwoven images, symbols or even words within the carbon – for example, the rear of the driver's seat features the McLaren logo.
Working in collaboration with expert Swiss watchmaker, Richard Mille, McLaren used pioneering horology techniques to develop a world-first in the automotive sector: Thin-Ply Technology Carbon Fibre (TPT). The material is comprised of countless ultra-thin carbon layers just 30 microns in depth, each positioned at a 45° angle. The surface is then delicately milled to expose a stratified, shimmering construction that resembles flowing water. This fusion of cutting-edge technology and design with precision engineering is truly unique, and can be integrated into areas of the Speedtail such as the overhead control panel, gearshift paddles and steering wheel clasp. TPT is also used in the McLaren badge on the front of the Speedtail design model, with both this badge and the Speedtail name formed in 18-carat white gold, the letters being individually pressed, clipped and polished.
The limited production of the Speedtail has given McLaren the opportunity to push colour and materials design into unchartered territory and owners will experience an unprecedented journey of vehicle personalisation, leading up to the beginning of 2020 when the first deliveries of this rarest of Ultimate Series McLaren will take place.
More information about the McLaren Speedtail and a film revealing the streamlined form and details of the car can be found at: cars.mclaren.com/ultimate-series/mclaren-speedtail.