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Monday, May 27, 2024

A sleek new hybrid

by Joanna Andrews

© McLaren Automotive Limited
© McLaren Automotive Limited
© McLaren Automotive Limited

There’s a new supercar on the streets of the UAE: The McLaren P1. Joanna Andrews takes it for a spin.

The moment you see the 2014 McLaren P1 you can’t help but run your fingers over its sleek body. It cuts a racetrack figure and looks like a vehicle from the future; completely sculpted from carbon fibre.

There is no doubt about it. The McLaren P1 is a natural head turner. But it’s certainly not just all about its good looks. Formula 1-inspired technology permeates the McLaren P1. And it's fast -903 horsepower fast to be exact. It goes 0-100 km/h in less than three seconds and 0-300 km/h in under 17 seconds... that’s five seconds quicker than the legendary McLaren Formula 1 car.

The interior is simple, yet elegant. Like the exterior, everything is made out of carbon fibre. All the gadgets you need are within arms’ reach. At just 90kg, the McLaren P1 has one of the lightest carbon fibre full-body structures used in any road car to date, and uses the most advanced carbon fibre technology.

The highly-anticipated supercar was first unveiled to the public at the Paris Motor Show last year at its concept stage; while the final model strutted its stuff at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show - one of the most important car shows of the year. No surprise, it received a warm reception, with punters referring to it as the “F1 for the road”. Dubai and Bahrain were lucky enough to get a sneak preview early this year as part of its Middle East tour and to whet the appetite of the potential buyers in the car loving Gulf.

McLaren Automotive’s Regional Director for the Middle East & Africa, Mark Harrison says, “This remarkable supercar is set to redefine the automotive scene and the UAE will be a key market. We are looking forward to working with Al Habtoor Motors, who were one of the most successful McLaren dealers in the world in 2012, as we prepare for its arrival.”

McLaren says the latest addition to its family is “designed to be the best driver’s car in the world.” Its words may be sound confident, but rightly so. Let’s not forget McLaren has decades of experience on the roads and is long renowned for its racing ability and success - especially in the fields of aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fibre technology. This year McLaren will mark its 50th anniversary. Not to mention the carmaker has had more than 180 Grand Prix victories and 155 pole position to date. Few car companies have a history like it.

“We have always been at the cutting edge of vehicle aerodynamics, and all of this experience has gone into the new McLaren P1,” says Ron Dennis, McLaren Automotive Executive Chairman. “Twenty years ago, with the McLaren F1, we raised the supercar performance bar. With the McLaren P1, we have redefined it once more.”

Good visibility has always been a McLaren mantra. The P1 has a driveroriented cockpit layout, under a highly aerodynamic, bubble-shaped canopy that was inspired by that of a jet fighter. As soon as you sit down, the sports seats fit like a glove, and you immediately get a sense of flying.

Electrified race cars are all the rage among top automakers right now. The P1 is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that utilises a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine coupled to a powerful electric motor. Top speed is electronically limited to 350 km/h (217 mph). However, the P1 is conscious about the environment. It releases about the same amount of carbon dioxide per kilometre as a Volkswagen Tiguan. The ‘E-mode’ is the most economical mode available on this racing car - with zero tailpipe emissions and almost silent running. In E-mode, the McLaren P1 can travel more than 10 kilometres at speeds of over 160km/h. When the battery is empty, the petrol engine automatically kicks in.

McLaren says the P1 features adjustable ride height as part of the new hydro-pneumatic suspension. The revolutionary RaceActive Chassis Control (RCC) can lower the car by 50mm in Race Mode, to produce ground effect aerodynamics.

Chief Design Engineer Dan Parry- Williams says, “The McLaren P1 reflects the brand’s core values... The priority was high-speed performance matched with tremendous composure, which would come mostly from the state-ofthe- art aerodynamics. We wanted a car that was connected and predictable at any speed.”

The cutting edge technology allows the P1 to do some things that other cars can only dream of. That said, it does have competitors chasing its rear; the P1 is likely to battle against the new Ferrari and Porsche 918 Spider.

The McLaren P1 is the successor to the more lengthily-worded McLaren MP4-12C. The name was inspired by Formula 1 as P1 refers to ‘first place’ or ‘position one’.

To maintain exclusivity, McLaren will make just 375 P1s; 45 of which are destined for the Middle East. As for the princely price tag, the P1 sells for AED 4,224,000 a pop (£866,000 or $1.15 million). Greg Levine, McLaren Automotive Sales and Marketing Director says the figure “will ensure the McLaren P1 will remain a rarity and, if spotted on the road, an unforgettable sight.” We can’t wait to see it!

For Enquiries contact:
McLaren Dubai, Al Habtoor Motors L.L.C , Prestige Cars Division
T: +971 4 382 7500
F: +971 4 346 7596

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