By Jaclyn Trop
October 26, 2018

More than 100 buyers have plunked down close to $2.25 million for McLaren Automotive’s first hyper-GT, the McLaren Speedtail, ahead of its public reveal on Friday.

Billed as the British brand’s latest “ultimate road car” and fastest model, the Speedtail can travel up to 250 mph, surpassing the 243 mph record set by the McLaren F1. McLaren is only making 106 of them, and they’ve all been snatched up by VIP customers at £1.75 million each.

The 1,035-horsepower three-seater features an F1-inspired, central driver’s seat flanked by two slightly staggered passenger seats. The car comes with a bespoke luggage set for three, matched to the interior’s carbon fiber, leather, and metalwork.

“This is the first car designed to do this speed and also take friends to the opera on the same set of tires,” Wayne Bruce, a spokesman for McLaren, said at a preview near the company’s headquarters in Woking, U.K., last week.

American buyers will have to import the car under federal Show or Display rule for historically or technologically significant cars. Complications with the airbags and the car’s seating configuration mean it’s not road legal under current federal standards. Show or Display will allow owners to do limited road miles.

The Speedtail is the newest model in McLaren’s exclusive Ultimate Series—the company also produces the “entry-level” Sports and core-range Super Series—and is the first of 18 new nameplates or derivatives to be announced under Track 25, the business plan designed to take the company through 2025. In addition to the Speedtail, the top-of-the-line Ultimate Series comprises two other hypercars: the P1 and Senna.

The Speedtail’s gas-electric hybrid powertrain can travel 0 to 186 mph in 12.8 seconds, compared with 16.5 seconds for McLaren’s previous Ultimate Series hybrid, the P1. Its carbon fiber body is narrower but longer than P1, measuring almost 17 feet. Static covers affixed to the front wheels boost aerodynamics.

The car will go head-to-head with British rival Aston Martin’s own take on the hybrid hypercar, the Valkyrie.

Noticeably absent are rearview mirrors and sun visors. Instead the car features retractable digital rearview cameras and an electrochromic glass that darkens the top of the windshield at the push of a button.

The cabin exaggerates the use of exposed carbon fiber and Scandinavian-sourced leather that extends from the seating upholstery to flow down into the footwells. “It’s a materials story like nothing else,” said Rob Melville, McLaren Automotive Design Director. “It’s a hypercar for the road that could also win a concorso.”

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