Cooley On Cars
On the road: McLaren P1Brian Cooley takes the McLaren P1 hybrid supercar out on the track and the street and checks the tech.
Hey Mom look. I got a hybrid. [LAUGH] No, not a Prius. [MUSIC] What a nice, nice, whoa, sports car this is. [INAUDIBLE] 2014 McLaren P1. Not bad. [MUSIC] First of all, what is a P one? It's a lot of things. Mint engine, rear wheel drive, carbon fiber, plug in hybrid, active everything super car. And when I say carbon fiber, I mean carbon fiber everywhere, the tub, the superstructure of the roof, all your body panels, in fact there is no engine cover to speak of, not one that you lift. [MUSIC] Use tools that take it off when it's time for service, otherwise, stay out of there. And McLaren tells me that if you move even the largest carbon fiber panel on this car, the rear clam shell, you can still pick it up easily with thumb and forefinger. It's all about light weight, super stiffness and high strength. You're going to think I'm nuts. But the most revealing thing I did is not drive this car, but wash it. When you get your hands all over this body structure, it is so foreign. I kept thinking of marine structures and, and fish. I'm inside the bat mobile. Don't go looking for a bunch of seat controls. You have one, fore and aft. That's it. Directly ahead of me is an all LCD instrument panel, not that novel today, but I'm surprised how un-busy this one is. It doesn't choke you with a whole lot of information. And unusual for super cars, this one's got a pretty up to date, comprehensive head unit. Kind of like a baby Tesla in its orientation. It is a touch screen, as you can see. Media choices are pretty comprehensive. Navigation is pretty digestible. This is very forward looking for a car like this. You got a decent app suite. Including a web browser, also rather Teslaesk and tunein for radio station streaming and podcasts. So, unlike some super high dollar high performance cars, your not going to be sitting there in the 1990s in terms of cabin tech. But now onto something that really matters in this car, let's get to our power train controls. Starting back at the wheel, you've got your paddle shifters. These will move with the wheel by the way, they're not stuck on the column, which is kind of surprising. You can pull this one for a downshift or an upshift but they track together. On the wheel are two other buttons you'll find in no other car, unless you drive a formula one car. DRS is the Drag Reduction System, it's going to. To feather out the rear wing to reduce drag down a straight, when you really wanna haul. And then you let up on it. And it plants you down again. We'll try that later. And IPAS is their acronym for electric boost. You can do it on demand, or let it happen automatically. Now to get this car to really come alive, you have to first put it in active mode. Now you're digging into the performance. On the left is your handling control. Normal, sport, or track. On the right is your power-train control, with the same three settings. Manual button here puts you in manual shift mode, of course. The arrow button over here puts it in full aerodynamic mode. Race puts you in the most aggressive mode entirely. In fact, you have to go through two. Confirmation screens that tell you you're on your own. It gets the car super low. It puts the wings super high. It sharpens up all your responses and it takes off all of your stability control. And finally, the boost button down here is interesting. When you hit that, you now take the electric motor out of the equation, and it only comes on, on demand. And that's when you get back to the IPAS button. The last thing I want to show you is some electric controls up here by the starter button. This E-mode does as you might imagine, puts the car in electric only mode. It can go about six or seven miles, battery only. And of course, the plug in hybrid. You can hit this button here to put it in charge mode. You've got a door overhead where the charging port is. It takes about two hours to do a full charge off shore power. But of course, the car will regen it's own battery along the way. The way it does that is interesting, it does not have break regeneration, it has coasting regeneration. McLaren does that so that the break feel is always the same and never polluted by having a regen apparatus getting in between you and the pads. [MUSIC] Now back here under glass is the secret sauce to our power train, with the emphasis on power. It is a 3.8 liter twin turbo V8. The engine has 727 horsepower. The electric motor adds 176. The V8 engine has 531 pound-feet of torque. The electric motor adds 192. Totalled up in engine math you've got 903 horse power, 722 pound feet of torque, and all of that goes out through a 7 speed duel clutch transmission to the rear wheels only. Interestingly, not all wheel drive. The results are stunning, 0-60 in 2.8 seconds. The B1 weighs just over 3,000 pounds, the mpg 17. G, or slightly better, 18 MPGe. But who cares? Let's get on the track. Well, the new territory that we're exploring here is this idea of electric torque. That kicks in while the turbos are still getting down to business. It's a different kind of power. More than you've ever known before because of that That full torque from zero that electric motors have. And what McClarin tells you, it's actually quite interesting, is, don't worry about running this car all the way out. Take it up to the red line every single time between the gear change. You actually run it in the midrange to mid high of your RPM. And it's all there. Wide open on the back [UNKNOWN]. Just get on it. The next thing you notice, is. incredibly intelligent suspension which is handling both [UNKNOWN] as well as handling an active sway bar roll of course. Going through the turn eleven hair pin, there's no body pull anymore than going a very mild turn. Okay now to get the full barrel taste of a T1, I'm going to put it into race mode. I've done that. Now, I'm basically on my own. It's a little unnerving. If I blow it, I owe a very good friend who seen it on Cars a million dollars. What I want to try in particular is to hit the DRS on the fast back straight and get a feel for what it's like to have that thing [UNKNOWN] the car. When you get into a complicated thing here. I got to shift with the right while DRS. With the left thumb, holy God. Where did that come from? They could have just added a good ten miles per hour to my previous best back speed. And I'm not even good at this. The P1 like most Mclaren's reserves its last surprise for the ride home, where dropping in an auto mode and settling back. GIves you an amazingly livable street car that wouldn't really be fatiguing to commute in if you wish to turn your office colleagues a particular shade of green. [MUSIC] Okay, now let's say I've convinced you you want to buy a P 1, here comes the heart break, they're all long sold. They only made 375 of these guys, this is number 106, for example. What the P one really demonstrates extremely well is the existing knowledge of carbon fiber technology. That we've known about, but merge that lightness and strength with this stout torque of hybridization and the extreme active aero-management and this is an amazing package. It also proves we're on the cusp of an amazing era. [MUSIC] More cars driven cnet style, standing by now on cnet on cars dot com. Click on the road.