Technology

The three-seat Speedtail will be McLaren’s fastest model to date

McLaren Speedtail teaser image

From its carbon-fiber body to its gold-lined engine bay, the McLaren F1 had many distinctive features. But the most distinctive was its three-seat cabin layout, which placed the driver in the middle for a race car-like feel. McLaren is looking to the F1 for inspiration as it develops a limited-edition hyper-GT named Speedtail.

The car is called BP23 internally, a name which stands for “bespoke project 2,” as well as the three-abreast seating arrangement. Production will be limited to just 106 units — matching the total production run of the F1 — and all of them have already been sold in spite of a price tag pegged in the vicinity of $2 million. Like the more recent P1, the Speedtail will feature a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain built around a V8 engine, although McLaren isn’t divulging additional technical details at this time. It will eclipse the 243-mph top speed of the F1, making it the fastest McLaren road car ever.


McLaren BP23

McLaren BP23

The Speedtail won’t be a stripped-out track special, though; that’s what the Senna is for. Instead, McLaren promises it will deliver its most opulent model to date, one that offers a blend of extreme performance and sporting luxury. We know it will have the same “dihedral” doors used on every other current McLaren, but they will be power-operated for the first time. The use of new materials will give buyers a wider range of customization options than ever before. What will they be? We’ll have to wait and see.

Don’t let the images above fool you; McLaren stuffed Speedtail hardware in a modified 720S body to put the car through its paces without prematurely revealing what it will look like. We don’t know much about the design yet, though company CEO Mike Flewitt promised a flowing and highly streamlined design.

The 106 customers who reserved a Speedtail will get to see it before anyone else during a private event. The car will make its public debut before the end of the year, meaning it could make its debut during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance or at either the Paris or Los Angeles auto show. Production and deliveries will begin in 2019. There will be a major catch, according to Autoblog: the Speedtail won’t be street-legal in the United States.

The roughly 30 examples ear-marked for the American market will arrive under the Show and Display rule, which grants an exemption from safety and emissions regulations to models considered historically or technologically interesting. In exchange, they’re only allowed in to be, well, showed or displayed. They can’t be driven for more than 2,500 miles annually.

Update: Added new information about the Speedtail.


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