The interior of the Speedtail is accessed through McLaren’s traditional upward-opening doors, which will be mechanically powered for the first time. The two passenger seats are built into the carbonfibre monocoque for stability and to maximise space. On the design model, the Speedtail’s central carbonfibre driver’s seat is covered in lightweight aniline leather.
There are three driver display screens, with climate controls on the left, driving info in the middle and infotainment on the right. There are also two screens for the rear-view cameras. To maximise use of space, many of the controls are located in a panel above the driver’s head.
Because it is produced by McLaren’s Special Operations division, each Speedtail will be customised for its buyer, a process that will begin with each being invited to the McLaren Technology Centre in the coming months. Externally, the use of a new ‘titanium deposition carbonfibre’ weave technique means that a micron-thin layer of titanium – which can be anodised in any colour – can be fused into the bodywork, giving a chrome-effect shimmer. This technique also allows the bodywork to be customised in a way that allows, for example, buyers to write their name or provide an image, symbol or design for the flat floor. Unique stitch patterns and leather colours can be specified inside.
The Speedtail is due to go into production in late 2019 after the production run of its Ultimate Series predecessor, the McLaren Senna GTR, finishes. The first customer deliveries will take place in early 2020.
Palmer said that, unlike with other McLaren models, there will be no further variants of the Speedtail, such as a GTR version. However, he said the central driving position could be used on other new McLarens in the future, noting that “it does give a very different driving experience”.
The Speedtail is the first of 18 new cars that will be part of McLaren’s ‘Track 25’ business plan, which runs until 2025. Palmer confirmed that a successor to the P1 hypercar will be one of the final models of that plan.
Q&A Rob Melville, Design Director:
What was the inspiration for the Speedtail?
“We wanted to make a three-seat hyper-GT. We’ve done the pioneer, the P1. We’ve done the road-legal track car, the Senna. The hyper-GT is the other part of the Ultimate Series vision. GT cars are for the journey, in speed and comfort. How you get to that speed becomes the story.”
How much difference do features like the fixed wheel covers and rear-view cameras make?