Exclusive McLaren P1 tested in UAE wheels ae

13 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Exclusive McLaren P1 tested in UAE wheels ae отключены
McLaren P1  Electric Cars

“0-100kph in what?” Chris has driven loads of fast cars but the P1 takes the biscuit.

Source:Patrick Gosling

Chris ‘Monkey’ Harris is used to sliding round in fast machines, creating much smoke and noise. But will the 903bhp McLaren P1 give him something to think about?

The McLaren P1’s gestation has not been easy. Conceived in the aftermath of the 12C’s mixed reception by both media and marketplace, it had to deliver something exceptional. But such is the level of interest in the ‘big three’ hypercars of 2014, the rumour mill chuntered into life early on, and since the middle of last year the internet has been alive with tales of missed performance goals and problems with electricity.

It must be said that McLaren didn’t exactly help to quell the chatter by not revealing a Nürburgring lap time and also feeding the fire with some, er, very confident public utterances. But I’ve now driven the P1, and I now kind of understand where Ron was coming from when he said it would redefine what we expect from a car of this type.

Shotgun in the McLaren P1

There is a school of thought that it’s nothing more than a tricked-up 12C. The fact that the P1’s carbon tub is effectively the same as the lesser car’s from the waist down does slightly support that idea, as does the engine’s identical swept capacity, but the reality is that it doesn’t share much with the 12C. The engine block is a new casting, the suspension is quite different, the carbon body panels are obviously new and the last time I looked, the 12C didn’t have an electric motor in it.


Yes, the P1 has more in common with its baby sibling than a 918 does a 911, but to call it a modified version of anything is simply not fair.

I sometimes think it would be useful not to know the key numbers pertaining to this type of car before driving it, because they really are quite intimidating. It produces 903bhp — 727 of it from the engine, the other 176 coming from the electric motor. Maximum torque is effectively limited to around 900Nm. In total, the car weighs 1,450kg.

I won’t insult your mathematical skills by quoting the power to weight figure, but you can probably tell that it’s a step on from the highest level of supercar, and makes a Porsche 918 look quite tame by comparison.

Specs ratings

0-100kph 2.8sec

Price Dh4.43 million (base)

Plus The most hyper hypercar around at the moment

Minus Incredibly expensive

How do you go about testing a 903bhp car that weighs less than a BMW 3 Series? I spend much of my time sliding round in very, very fast cars, but I have to admit the P1 fazed me somewhat. I was worried that it might just all be a bit too much. And the southern loop of the Yas Marina circuit doesn’t have much run-off.

Oh, and McLaren test driver Chris Goodwin asked me to not crash it.

The drive programme is quite simple, and pretty brief. A warm-up lap, one lap in Normal chassis mode, two laps in Sport mode, then a quick break to drop the car into Track mode and that’s your lot.

From the pits, with McLaren pro driver Duncan Tappy sitting next to me, I try to push quite soon because it’s night time and we need tyre temperature. For the first lap, we’re in Normal mode, the suspension in its softest setting, which roughly equates to a ride comfort and level of support you’d have in a 12C in its Sport mode. Well, that’s what the press pack says.

The car is agile and seems lighter than its claimed 1,450kg. The steering is appreciably faster than a 12C’s at 2.2 turns and it gives a much better sense of connection to the front axle than the smaller car.

The car feels taut and flat, the tyres take a lap to warm a little, by which time we’re barrelling down the main straight, hitting 250kph in no time and I’m already whooping the whoop of a man who has never before experienced this kind of performance. Or been so hexed by a braking point, because — and this is the blindingly obvious thing about the P1 that should come as no surprise given its maker’s claim of acceleration that allows a 0-300kph time of 16.5sec — you just arrive at places a whole lot sooner, and carrying a whole lot more speed than you ever thought possible.

Just one squirt from 50kph to 240kph is all that is required to confirm that the P1 creates its own new performance category, one that we all suspect the LaFerrari will soon occupy, but which sadly for Porsche the 918 doesn’t have the requisite firepower to qualify for membership.

Next lap, Duncan changes the settings to Sport mode. The chassis stiffens, but the process of comparison between this and the softer setting is muddied by the tyres still building more temperature and beginning to work properly. The car is certainly more agile now, the rear wing has raised itself 120mm and through the two fast turns on the back of the circuit I can lean on the tyres, albeit slightly struggling to hold a balanced throttle in fourth gear at 185kph.

Torque-fill. Get used to that 
phrase because it is Woking-speak for the amalgamation of electric and combustion power. Here electricity is used for extra performance. It allows the fitment of larger, slower-spooling turbochargers that run at 2.4 bar and pushing this 3.8-litre V8 to 727bhp.

It allows the powertrain engineers to literally plot the engine’s torque curve and say ‘we can fill a hole there, and there’. It can speed gear changes and even replace the starter motor. And of course it can add 176bhp whenever either you or the ECU chooses.

There is no doubt that the P1 is a much better, more exciting and faster motorcar because it has an electric motor. There, 
I said it.

The witchcraft lies in the seamlessness of the process. You enter a slow second gear turn at 65kph, you accelerate hard until the front outside tyre calls understeer, then you peel away a few millimetres and the line trims, then you push a little harder to bring the rear axle into play and it obliges and only as you scream down the following straight does it dawn on you that you’re driving the P1, and it is responding to your input, like a normally aspirated machine. One that exists on a completely new performance level to even a Ferrari F12 . But the key point is that the only reason you know it’s turbocharged is the rowdy chirps and whooshes from the blowers themselves.

I’m just beginning to feel my input 
match the speed and responses of the car when we have to slow down, cool down and head back to the pits — to select Race mode.

Does a hybrid hypercar need to have a specific mode that requires it to sit stationary, with the engine running as its hydraulic suspension lowers itself a vast 50mm? In the case of the P1, yes it does. Because lowering it brings that huge front splitter into play, and requires the rear wing to extend 300mm skywards. The car’s appearance, already aggressive and semi-porous, changes into something quasi-experimental: The Right Stuff for supercars.

McLaren P1  Electric Cars

For now, it is the only road car of its type to claim 600kg of downforce at 260kph, and the ability to pull an honest 2.0gs of lateral cornering force.

Sitting lower, the hydraulic springs add roll stiffness by a factor of 3.5, and heave and pits stiffness by a factor of 1.4.

In Race mode, the P1 is a little bit different.

I scream out of the pits because I want tyre temperature as soon as possible. Into turn one the car feels immediately flatter, keener to change direction — a little more nervous. A scoop of throttle sends it sideways so I wait for the ESP intervention as it begins to move into opposite lock.

In Race mode, the P1’s ESP allows enough leeway for impressive angles (or rope to hang yourself, depending on your viewpoint).

Through the two fast right handers it’s just remarkable. The car has proper 
aero-grip. Not the type of face-bending stuff you feel with full wings and slicks, but certainly in quantities I’ve never before experienced with air-conditioning.

And a Meridian hi-fi.

We run two fast laps, I try to push harder, work those Akebono brakes to their maximum potential, but can’t quite get where I want to be. I’m still nervous of letting the car move around too much, 
still repeating to myself ‘903bhp’, and sadly, my time’s up.

But after we’ve shot some video and I’ve swallowed hard and forced myself to disable the traction control, I sneak another few laps in the P1, and now I realise my worries were misplaced. The extraordinary thing about the P1 is that 
it’s easier to drive up to and beyond 
the limit than a 12C. It will pull great smoky slides in any of the first four 
gears, and yet it remains as predictable and as friendly as a 903bhp car could possibly be.

Make that far more predictable than you ever imagined 903bhp could be.

The level of performance is something quite new. Traction is miles better than you’d expect, the brakes are insanely powerful, the gearshift is instantaneous, the, well, everything is in a different category to any other car with a number plate that I’ve driven before.

And I did drive it on the road too. I sauntered into Abu Dhabi, and the P1 was more comfortable and less intimidating than an Aventador. It even maintained 110kph under full electric power for eight kilometres.

It is just as usable as a 12C. That in itself is a staggering achievement.

I don’t really care about the Nürburgring lap time. And I don’t really care if the LaFerrari might be a little bit more accelerative (although I really can’t see how it could be). All I care about is that the P1 is the fastest, but also the most exciting car of its type I’ve ever driven.

It’s a whole new category of hypercar.

McLaren P1  Electric Cars
McLaren P1  Electric Cars
McLaren P1  Electric Cars
McLaren P1  Electric Cars
McLaren P1  Electric Cars

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