McLaren P1 gets 903bhp powertrain

Stephen Dobie
20 Feb 2013

The new McLaren P1 supercar boasts an astonishing 903bhp courtesy of a V8 hybrid powertrain

McLaren has revealed the highlights of its new P1 supercar’s technical details. Its hybrid drivetrain, dubbed ‘twin power’ by McLaren, produces a total output of 903bhp – comfortably making it one of the most powerful cars on sale – while emitting less than 200g/km of CO2, placing it in the same tax band as 2-litre 4-cylinder hatchbacks.
Its massive power output comes from the combination of a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8, the unit from the McLaren MP4-12C wound up from 616 to 727bhp, and a 176bhp electric motor which is mounted directly onto the engine. The torque figures for engine and motor are 531lb ft and 192lb ft respectively, though their combined peak is 664lb ft, which is delivered from 4000rpm. The electric motor’s response means its power and torque are instantly available courtesy of an IPAS (Instant Power Assist System) button on the steering wheel. A DRS (Drag Reduction System) button also deploys the same aerodynamics-utilising technology seen in Formula 1, the P1’s wing reducing its angle to lower drag by 23 per cent.
Despite its high output, the McLaren P1 is rear-wheel drive (the 1000bhp Bugatti Veyron being four-wheel drive) with power channeled through a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox. McLaren claims the electric motor assists quicker upshifts, dropping engine revs quicker than normal by applying negative torque.
The McLaren P1 can run in electric-only mode, though for around seven miles rather than a full commute. With the motor’s 176bhp output, it should still prove more than brisk enough for urban usage, with the appeal of zero emissions. The battery which energises the motor weighs 96kg and sits in the middle of the car, mounted to the underbody of the carbon monocell chassis (see diagram, right). It is charged by the engine, but can also be plugged into the mains and brimmed from empty in two hours.
Full details of the McLaren P1 supercar will be revealed at the 2013 Geneva motor show in March. You can read more P1 info and see more P1 pictures here.

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