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New Speedtail is McLaren's fastest ever road car

McLaren has finally revealed its three-seat supercar with a familiar central driving position, with the spiritual successor to the legendary F1 the fastest most aerodynamic vehicle the company has ever produced.

And while McLaren is hesitant to label the Speedtail a new F1, the similarities are undeniable.

For one, the driving position is perfectly centred; the fist car to feature that layout since the F1. And like that mid-1990s legend, only 106 will ever be built. Finally, the Speedtail will be the fastest car in the McLaren line-up - a title once held by the F1, too.
The Speedtail will go into production in 2020, and each will wear a $3.2m price tag. But don’t reach for your cheque book just yet - they’ve all already been officially spoken for. In fact, most customers stumped up a sizeable cash deposit before they even knew what the thing looked like

Ready for some more big numbers? When the Speedtail arrives (the car you’re looking at here is a design example), it will be both the fastest and most aerodynamic car ever produced by McLaren.

The British brand is yet to confirm all the drivetrain specifics, other than that a twin-turbo V8 engine will be paired with a new-generation electric hybrid system. But we do know that the Speedtail will produce a whopping 1050PS (772kW), and that it will be 300km/h in just 12.8 seconds, and it will push on to a staggering 402km/h.

“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,” says McLaren CEO, Mike Flewitt.

“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.”

There is a long list of cool tech surrounding the Speedtail. For one, the brand has removed the wing mirrors, replacing them with pop-out cameras that emerge from the carbon-fibre body panelling and beam their images onto two screens in the cabin.

The 20-inch alloy wheels at the front of the car have been smothered by carbon-fibre covers, too, which allows the wheel behind them to spin freely, but aids in aerodynamic slip.

Speaking of which, an aerodynamic package inspired by NASA sees two tiny carbon-fibre flaps sit flush with the body work at the rear of the car, but that raise automatically to aid downforce or to act as an airbrake, negating the need for a big and uncouth wing. 

"They’re integrated into the carbon body, which is flexible, and a small hydraulic actuator underneath then (raises them) to give us a little bit of stability, and an air brake,” says Mclaren vehicle line chief, Andy Palmer. “They’ll probably be active from around 100km/h.”

In the cabin, the three-seat configuration puts the driver front and centre, facing a dash festooned with digital screens reminiscent of an aircraft’s cockpit. The key driving controls and been shifted to the roof, helping with the interior's sleek and minimalist feel, but perhaps coolest of all is the removal of the sun visors. Instead, McLaren has installed electrochromatic glass in the roof and that darkens as the push of button to block out glare.

The McLaren Speedtail is one of 18 new models or derivatives promised in the coming years, and if they all look (and accelerate) like this one, it's going to be a hell of a ride for the British supercar maker.

Is this the ultimate "hyper GT"? Tell us in the comments below.

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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