The McLaren P1 looks like it belongs on a race track, but its maker hints that this “production-ready version” might someday be an option for your daily commute. The super-PHEV, which will make its world debut at next week’s Geneva Motor Show, uses the combined force of a V8 gas engine and an electric motor to deliver “an optimum mix of superb throttle response, day-to-day drivability and top speed.”
A combined output of 903 bhp and maximum torque of 900 Nm ensures instantaneous throttle response throughout the rev range, according to McLaren. Emissions are less than 200g/km on the combined cycle, and zero in full electric drive mode.
The 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine is a new version of the familiar M838T unit, that has been upgraded to optimize cooling and durability under higher loads. The engine block has a unique casting to incorporate the electric motor, which is mounted directly onto the engine. All drive is channeled through the dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox to drive the rear wheels.
The electric motor, developed by McLaren Electronics especially for the P1, produces 176 bhp of power, and maximum torque of 260 Nm instantly, from a standstill. The instant response of the electric motor provides a sharper throttle response more associated with a normally aspirated engine, says McLaren, and the enhanced air-charging system gives the P1 more top-end power – a combination designed for high performance.
When off-throttle, the electric motor provides additional drag torque, recovering energy to the battery. The P1 is also equipped with a plug-in charger that can fill the battery in two hours.
In all-electric “E-mode,” the P1 has a range of 10 km with electric-only power, which McLaren assures us is enough for most city journeys. The battery weighs 96 kg, and is mounted onto the underbody of the Formula 1-grade carbon fibre MonoCage chassis, which seals the unit in the vehicle. As for the cooling system, “complex cooling is required to guarantee cell performance and reliability. The coolant flow is balanced so each cell is cooled to the same temperature across the entire pack.”