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The jaw-dropping McLaren Speedtail is officially out

The British automaker is calling the car its first ‘Hyper-GT’

This is like the Mazinkaiser to the F1’s Mazinger Z. PHOTO FROM MCLAREN

Three months after telling the world that its new hypercar would be called “Speedtail,” McLaren has finally lifted the lid on what the spiritual successor of the famous F1 road car actually looks like. Resembling the result of a love affair between a 720S and a spaceship, the new McLaren is a proper stunner, although the exterior might split opinions among fans of the brand. Bringing back the three-abreast seating position that helped make the F1 such a special machine, the Speedtail has been designed to reduce drag as much as possible. Look at it from above and you will notice its distinctive teardrop shape, while the side view fills the eye with sweeping lines and super-tight panel gaps to keep airflow smooth.

With high-tech elements like the HD cameras that serve as mirrors, this looks so sci-fi. PHOTOS FROM MCLAREN

Not only is the design innovative and extremely advanced, but the 106 lucky (and rich) future owners can also look forward to showing off a number of other clever features at their club’s Sunday-morning car meet. For starters, the car doesn’t have wing mirrors. Instead, two tiny HD cameras glide out from the doors when the car is started, with the images being projected onto two screens in the cockpit. Then there are the covers on the front wheels. Made from carbon fiber, these aerodynamic aides are incorporated into the huge 20-inch alloy rims but don’t really move with the wheels. Instead, they form a flat surface that helps to keep the car as aerodynamically optimized as possible. Finally, there’s a new take on the topic of rear spoilers. Instead of ruining the otherworldly design with a huge wing at the back, the company fitted newly developed active ailerons. These small bits of bendy carbon fiber are hydraulically actuated; they flex into shape whenever extra downforce is needed.

So, do you dig the Speedtail’s teardrop shape? Er... PHOTOS FROM MCLAREN

There’s no messing around when it comes to performance figures either, with this extreme machine unleashing no less than 1,064hp onto the rear wheels thanks to a hybrid setup that combines the firm’s current 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with electric motors. This car is so extraordinary that McLaren hasn’t even bothered to issue a 0-100km/h time yet. Instead, it gave the curious public a number for the sprint from standstill to 300km/h, and that figure stands at a mind-boggling 12.8 seconds. Top speed for the 1,430kg automobile has been set at 403km/h, making this the most powerful and fastest McLaren ever.

The hypercar has active ailerons instead of a wing. PHOTOS FROM MCLAREN

To make sure the driver doesn’t get distracted while trying to headbutt the horizon, the cockpit has been cleaned of any buttons or switches that common supercars usually have. Instead, the pilot is surrounded by a number of touch-sensitive HD displays that cover most functions from vehicle controls to infotainment. An overhead panel holds some of the core controls like the start button and one to engage Velocity mode, which readies the car for top-speed runs. There aren’t even any sun visors anymore as the whole windshield can be darkened at the flip of a switch. McLaren is also quick to point out the almost limitless customization options that include different types of leathers, fancy new paints, and even gold-, silver- or platinum-finish accessories.

Like the F1, the Speedtail has a 1+2 seat layout. PHOTOS FROM MCLAREN

Just in case you’re one of the people who won the big lottery jackpot recently and now fancy owning the Speedtail, we’re sorry to say you’re in for a disappointment. All 106 cars are already spoken for, and that’s despite a hefty base price tag of £1,750,000 (P120,000,000) before taxes. The limited number of units is a tribute to the iconic F1, of which only 106 examples were also built. It seems there will always be enough wealthy speed addicts to keep McLaren in business, and all we can do is look on and wish for a fairy-tale windfall to come our way.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.