Car Reviews

Mc laren P1: A Formidable Electric beast

Cars fulfill various purposes and then there are those that are meant for something else. This article deals with the latter.

The Mc laren P1 is probably the best driver’s car in the world and this article is intended on proving why. Although it isn’t necessarily the loudest, the most technically dazzling, the lightest or the most powerful, its just the best and the most rewarding supercar to drive on the road and probably the most frequent on a circuit. The McLaren hinted on he next hyper car, a fully-electric car at the Geneva Motor show.

The McLaren is designed to perfection with carbon fibre- chassis racing cars since the MP4/1 of 1981 and has made only composite cars since. The inspiration behind the Mercedes Benz SLR Mclaren in 2003 came from F1.

Design:

The vehicle’s carbon fiber bodywork sits over a composite mono-coque whose central tub weighs just 90 kilos. The vehicle flaunts a bespoke structure that incorporates a roof, holds the hybrid’s battery and electronics and houses the snorkel that feeds air into the turbochargers.

Engine:

The vehicle’s electric motor contributes a staggering total of 903 bhp. It has a good drive ability and this is one of McLaren’s greatest achievements. Its powertrain is married to a 7-speed dual clutch auto transmission through which torque is limited to around 664 lb ft. The vehicle’s suspension is an extension of the system by the 12C a hydro-pneumatic set-up that controls springing and damping. McLaren addresses to this system as Race Active Chassis Control (RCC).

Interiors:

There isn’t a great deal in the P1. At least nothing out of the ordinary to brag about. There are no carpets, there’s soundproofing and then there’s a fixed-back carbon fibre seats that has a little cushioning. The exteriors are quite sinewy and the p1’s innards seem pretty conventional for such a beastly machine. Although, there isn’t anything that the P1 lacks in terms of theatrics and power. The car has an F-1 influenced steering wheel with buttons for the DRS and KERS in the form of the IPAS electric motor system.

Performance:

If you want to go from 0-60mph faster than the P1’s 2.8sec, or from 0-100mph faster than its 5.2sec, or cover a standing quarter mile more quickly (10.2sec at 147.5mph and climbing fast). But it’s the nature of the P1’s delivery, rather than its savagery, that is just as impressive. The P1 fires to an extremely loud idle – there are cars that drive at 50mph with less interior volume than a stationary P1 – but apart from the volume, there is no hint of its 238bhp- per-litre specific output or 8250rpm rev limit. It’s a clean, civil engine note and initial response is fine, too.

In all, the performance is pretty good. In the lower gears, it gives the deftly judged traction control a hard time, but dry traction is always impressive. Such is the severity of the initial acceleration allowed by the launch control system that rolling on to MIRA’s mile straight at, say, approaching 70mph buys only 5mph at the far end compared with a standing start.

And although the P1 never automatically cuts the engine to drive on the motor alone you can select an all-electric drive mode, in which the P1 is merely brisk. McLaren says this is useful if there’s a city in which you cannot drive an internally combusted vehicle, but given that the electric range is only six miles, it’s hard not to think that McLaren really made it just because it could and thought it would be fun. If a million-dollar car can’t be a bit of fun, what can be? In electric mode, the noises are more space port than race track, but in any mode the P1 sounds unusual; rather than explosions, the sound is dominated by vast quantities of air being inducted or forced through the turbochargers. It’s not traditionally intoxicating, but it’s pleasant enough.

Braking is superb. The discs are made from what McLaren claims is a new form of carbon-ceramic material, and they stop the P1 from 60mph – on part-worn tires on a just-dried surface – in only 2.26sec. They also only want 40.9m to haul the car up from 70mph, when we consider anything less than 50m to be fine.

But it’s the resistance to fade and their consistency that is most outstanding. Pedal feel is good – medium weighted and easily modulated, because there’s no battery regeneration to upset their feel. They’re at their best after a couple of warm-up stops, but from then on they’re indefatigable.

 

Price & rivals:

The McLaren P1’s price tag is £866,000 and it’s pretty understandable because of the features and everything that comes along with it. The P1 is limited to 375 units in order to maintain its exclusivity according to the company. Some of the competition involves Ferrari La Ferrari as well as the Porsche 928 Spyder. The Ferrari is a rear-wheel drive car like the McLaren but has no dedicated all-electric, city friendly mode. Porsche’s offering does retain an all-electric capability but sends its power to all 4-wheels. The P1 is one of the most affordable hyper-cars of today.

 

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A wanderlust, a foodie, an amateur photographer and a die hard automobile enthusiast. Gifted with the art of playing with words (and sentences) I've been writing (initially started with satirical writing) for a couple of years. Meet me on a good day and i'll definitely narrate my story (with a cup of tea and hopefully some delicious pakoda's) on how writing scripted my life. Happy reading :)