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Two decades ago, a McLaren F1 achieved a top speed of 240.14 miles per hour at the Ehra-Lessien Proving Ground in Germany, setting a record for road-going production cars that would stand for nearly seven years.
That mark smashed the previous record which was held by a Jaguar XJ220 by almost 30 MPH and helped establish the F1 as one of, if not the most significant supercars of the modern era.
Judging by its preliminary speed specs, it will … and quickly.
McLaren (4 images)
With a teardrop-shaped three-seat cockpit that puts the driver in front on their lonesome and is reminiscent of the interior of the F1, the Speedtail is the fastest McLaren ever built and is capable of hitting a top speed of 250 MPH.
Built from lightweight carbon fiber and featuring other weight-reducing options such as an aluminum active suspension and carbon-ceramic brakes, the Speedtail is McLaren’s most aero-drag efficient road car and is modeled after the “streamliners” of land speed racing.
Often custom built, streamliners are sleek high-speed vehicles used to set world speed records at venues like the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Billed as McLaren’s “first Hyper-GT” and a member of the marque’s Ultimate Series, the Speedtail has a hybrid powertrain — although the exact ratio of how much power will come from gas and how much from electricity has not been made clear.
What is known is that the engine setup will be powerful, as it is capable of churning out 1,035 horsepower and propelling the stylish touring car from 0 to 186 MPH in just 12.8 seconds. (McLaren’s previous Ultimate Series hybrid, the P1, did 0 to 186 in 16.5 seconds.)
In order to hit those top speed numbers, the 17-foot Speedtail must be placed into its specifically developed “Velocity” mode. Once Velocity is activated, the car’s digital rear-view cameras retract to reduce drag and the Speedtail’s active chassis lowers by 1.4 inches so that the highest point of the vehicle is just 3.7 feet above the road.
The driving force behind all of these features seems to be to allow passengers to travel long distances smoothly and quickly, but also in style. The carbon fiber, leather, and metalwork that’s present within the interior of the Speedtail earns that status and the car coming with a bespoke luggage set for three only enforces it.
“McLaren has never built a vehicle like the Speedtail before,” said McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt. “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 personalization.”
McLaren design director Rob Melville added: “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 customization. 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.”
Sounds pretty good, right? Well here’s the bad: Only 106 Speedtails will be produced and they are all already accounted for.
But don’t feel too bad. Unless you have $2.22 million lying around, you couldn’t have snagged one anyhow.
All images via McLaren.