McLaren Speedtail prototype hits 250-mph top speed more than 30 times

Now that high-speed testing is complete, production of this insanely fast hypercar has commenced in the UK.

Craig Cole Former reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Craig Cole
2 min read
McLaren Speedtail Testing

Is 250 mph fast enough for you?


Prototype testing of the ultrapowerful McLaren Speedtail has concluded, wrapped up with a neat little bow, ostensibly for the holiday season. During high-speed evaluation, the prototype XP2 version of this hypercar reached its terminal velocity more than 30 times.

If you neglected to read the headline of this story, the British automaker's latest and greatest Ultimate Series model tops out at an astonishing 250 mph. Naturally, getting any vehicle up to that speed requires a lengthy bit of tarmac, which is why testing was done at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, specifically at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds. Providing ample room to stretch this car's proverbial legs, the space shuttle landing runway was used. It's a section of pavement some three miles long and 100 yards wide.

Speedtail is the most aerodynamic car McLaren has ever built

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Aside from Florida,  also tested the Speedtail at tracks in Spain and Germany. In terms that are easier to wrap your head around -- well, perhaps slightly easier -- the car can rocket from a standstill to 186 mph in less than 13 seconds.

But what does it take to hit 250 mph? In short, a boatload of power, but that's not all. For starters, the Speedtail is motivated by a hybrid drivetrain. Centered around a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8, this gasoline-electric system delivers a total of 1,055 brake horsepower and a whopping 848 pound-feet of torque. Pretty impressive, eh?

Storing and releasing electrons as dictated by driving conditions is a battery pack, one with 5.2 kW of power per kilogram of mass. According to McLaren, that's the best power-to-weight ratio of any high-voltage battery system in the automotive industry.

McLaren Speedtail Testing

Buried somewhere in there is this car's megapowerful hybrid drivetrain.


Despite having a gasoline-electric powertrain, the Speedtail is not a plug-in hybrid. Instead, it continuously recharges while driven, though a wireless charging pad is included with the car. It keeps the battery topped up when not in use, trickle-charging it, so the vehicle is ready whenever its owner needs a dose of speed.

Beyond brute power, the Speedtail is also extremely slippery. At around 17 feet long, this three-seater is graced with a carbon-fiber body that supposedly makes it the most aerodynamic McLaren ever offered. This machine also showcases the automaker's ability to cull unnecessary mass, with a claimed dry weight of 3,153 pounds.

Production of the McLaren Speedtail is currently underway. The first 106 examples will be hand built in Woking, England to specific customer specifications. Deliveries of this insanely fast hypercar are slated to begin in February 2020.

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