McLaren offers surprisingly few details about the Speedtail’s powertrain other than to say it’s a hybrid that combines gasoline and electric power to produce a prodigious 1,035 hp, enough to push the car’s super-aerodynamic shape to a top speed of 403 km/h.
The Speedtail’s other performance claim is its ability to accelerate from 0-300 km/h in 12.8 seconds, nearly four seconds less than McLaren’s last gas-electric hypercar, the P1.
As you can see in the photos above, the Speedtail’s body presents a teardrop-shaped profile, which is one of a number of tricks the company’s designers employed to help the car cheat the wind.
The Speedtail’s digital rearview cameras replace traditional wing mirrors and transmit their images to screens inside the cabin. Their trick is to retract into the bodywork at high speeds to reduce aero drag.
See how the front wheels have convex covers? Those are there to reduce the amount of turbulence in the air that travels past the front corners of the car. Interestingly, they’re fixed in place and don’t turn with the wheels.
Other aero cues include a one-piece rear clamshell that eliminates many of the body cutlines that a typical sports car would have, and there are all manner of ducts that funnel air through the body instead of around it.
Finally, a “velocity mode” adjusts the car’s rear aileron for high-speed running, pulls the side cameras into the body and lowers the car’s ride height by 35 mm.
The Speedtail recalls McLaren’s best-known car, the F1, with a central driver’s seat flanked by passenger seats. Unlike the F1, however, the Speedtail’s dash is all digital with touchscreens to control all but a handful of functions.
But there is one other link to the F1 in this new design: McLaren will build just 106 Speedtails, equal to the F1’s production run. However, you can’t have one, even if have the roughly CAD$2 million price tag McLaren demands for the Speedtail: all 106 examples have been pre-sold, with deliveries scheduled to start in 2020.