With a history like that of the McLaren F1, once the fastest car in the world, with a funky three-seat center-drive layout, breathtaking acceleration, and iconic styling, building a car to take up its mantle is a difficult undertaking. According to the latest reports out of the U.K., however, McLaren is up to the task.
First, the vitals: 800 horsepower, a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, KERS energy storage and power boost, F1-style pistol-grip steering wheel, and, sadly to some, just two seats.
The engine will be the same basic unit used in the MP4-12C, McLaren's more "mundane" supercar, but with a higher-performance spec and tune. Adding in the KERS will give on-demand power boosts, presumably for overtaking, but more likely for massively stupid and incredibly satisfying freeway pulls. The original F1's BMW-sourced 6.1-liter V-12 engine produced 618 horsepower, in a car that weighed about 2,500 pounds--more power per pound than the Bugatti Veyron. The new model's 800-horsepower engine likely hints at a somewhat higher curb weight.
The F1-style wheel was just a mockup, according to the report from CAR, but the two-seat cabin is a sure thing, because the three-seat layout simply didn't work with the design's intended dimensions. How did it work on the original F1, then? Probably because of drastically different safety regulations compared to those in effect at the F1's 1992 debut.
Pricing for the P12 is expected to top the $950,000 mark, making it near enough a million dollars. That's a steep price, to be sure, but with a design reputed to be truly futuristic, a largely carbon fiber structure, and McLaren's famous performance and dynamics, it's sure to be one of the most incredible performance cars the world has yet seen.
Look for the P12's debut sometime before the end of the year, though actual production and delivery will likely take up to a year beyond that due to its largely hand-made nature, high cost, and, surely, highly customized ordering process.