The McLaren Speedtail hypercar is finally here, and it’s a streamlined stunner. The whole car is slicker than a bar of soap, and everything about it is there to make it the fastest McLaren road car in history — a combination of sophisticated design and astonishing speed.
Grilles and air intakes are kept small and out of the way. It has a long tapering tail. The front wheels have large, smooth carbon-fiber aero-covers that remain fixed as the wheels rotate, to smooth out turbulence from the wheels. Ducts and air passages are all designed to further reduce turbulence, and of course that’s the point of the long tail. Air flow for the engine comes from a snorkel intake that is so minimal you can’t even see it in profile.
Some of the particularly curious parts are the patented rear active spoilers. The flaps appear to not have any kind of joint or gap where they lift.
Seen from above, the overall car and its passenger compartment are shaped like a teardrop, which McLaren calls the fastest shape in nature.
McLaren singles out the car’s Velocity drive mode, which optimizes the powertrain and tailors the aero bits for maximum speed. Those side-view cameras retract, and the aluminum active suspension lowers the car by 1.4 inches. Once that’s done, the highest point of the car is just 3.7 feet — 44 inches — above the roadway.
A carbon-fiber monocoque embraces the passenger compartment, and the 16.9-foot-long body is entirely made of the stuff, too.
Among the otherworldly details of the car: The windshield is made of electrochromic glass that can be darkened at the touch of a button, so there are no sun visors. The car has “interwoven carbon titanium deposition materials and digitally embossed, full-aniline and lightweight leathers.” Even the Pirelli P-Zero tires are bespoke for the Speedtail to handle its extreme speed.
Being a McLaren, there’s space for luggage fore and aft, though strange to think of a 250-mph car hauling suitcases. And of course who could travel in a car of this nature without a bespoke carbon-fiber-leather-metal luggage set designed to match each owner’s customized interior.
The car you see here — and that early depositors saw recently in a London preview — is done up in Speedtail Silver, “a Nano-metallic, ‘molten-effect’ paint” that, yes, is only to be had on this car.