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McLaren reveals P1 engine details – and it's a hybrid

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February 20, 2013

The McLaren P1 may be a hybrid, but it's no Prius

The McLaren P1 may be a hybrid, but it's no Prius

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We’ve seen the early images and taken a peek at the carbon fiber interior, but now McLaren has seen fit to let slip the finer details of just what's powering the P1. The long-awaited successor to the mighty F1 will sport both a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, and an electric motor – each of which combine to push out a total of 903 bhp, and 900 Nm of torque.

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The McLaren P1's twin-turbo V8 engine is a new version of the M838T unit that featured in the McLaren MP4-12C. It has been significantly upgraded to increase cooling and durability, now offering 727 bhp at 7,500 rpm, and 720 Nm of torque from 4,000 rpm.

McLaren's own IPAS (Instant Power Assist System) and DRS (Drag Reduction System) technologies have been borrowed from its Formula 1 cars, offering instant power boost, and increased straight-line speed, respectively.

The IPAS system delivers up to an additional 176 bhp instantly, while DRS involves the P1‘s rear wing lowering to reduce drag by 23 percent. Both features can be activated by buttons mounted on the steering wheel, enabling drivers to unleash their inner Batman fantasies.

IPAS and DRS are activated by buttons mounted on the steering wheel

The engine block makes space for an electric motor, which itself is no slouch, boasting 176 bhp and a maximum torque of 260 Nm, available from a standstill. The company reckons that by incorporating the impressive torque that electric motors can offer, in tandem with a combustion engine, the P1 will sport a the kind of sharp throttle response typically associated with a normally aspirated engine.

The P1's electric motor interacts with the engine via a dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox that drives the rear wheels, and it's said to offer the additional benefit of faster upshifts due to the application of instant negative torque at the point of shift.

It's no Prius ...

McLaren is keen to bill the P1 as a supercar that sports day-to-day driveability, and it can be powered by the engine and electric motor combined, or solely by the electric motor. The company states that emissions of less than 200 g/km on the combined cycle are attainable, reduced to flat zero in full electric drive mode.

When off-throttle, the P1’s electric motor provides additional drag torque, charging the b...

When off-throttle, the P1’s electric motor provides additional drag torque, charging the battery with energy that would otherwise be lost. In addition to the battery being charged via the engine, the McLaren P1 also comes with a plug-in charger that is claimed to recharge it from empty in a couple of hours.

However, it’s no Prius, that’s for sure: the enthusiastic press material that accompanies the release of the P1 engine details states that the full electric mode will suffice for “most city journeys,” but at an actual range of just 10 km (6.2 miles), we’re guessing that people who live in a sprawling metropolis like London or Los Angeles may disagree.

There's no word yet as to what kind of top speed and acceleration we can expect from the P1, but McLaren promises to spill additional details in the coming weeks. A full reveal of the production-ready model will also take place at the Geneva Motor Show, which begins March 7th.

Source: McLaren

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam is a tech and music writer based in North Wales. When not working, you’ll usually find Adam tinkering with old Macintosh computers, reading history books, or exploring the countryside with his dog Finley.   All articles by Adam Williams
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3 Comments

Beautiful! Unfortunately, unless you are an oil sheik, a drug baron, or a European soccer star, you can't afford it, and even then, getting out of 2nd gear would risk losing your licence.

The Skud
20th February, 2013 @ 05:17 pm PST

I really like this concept, although for even faster acceleration a supercapacitor bank may have been a better choice, or possibly a hybrid system.

Alex Aricci
20th February, 2013 @ 05:49 pm PST

Me thinks this might be in error "...In addition to the battery being charged via the engine" The writer has already specified the correct terminology that there is an engine (ICE) and a motor (electric) I suspect that the motor charges the battery and not the engine. If this is wrong then another sentence or two might explain that the motor and engine can charge the battery. Perhaps an unruly editor axed the details.

Otherwise fantastic machine and good info article.

Al Mayberry
15th August, 2013 @ 11:56 am PDT
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