"What you are about to read is not simply the fastest road test in history. It is, in all likelihood, the fastest road test there will ever be.

"Until we strapped our equipment to the McLaren F1 no one knew how fast it would go. Now we know it all, because we have driven it beyond 210mph, timed it to the last hundredth of a second. And here it stops.

"McLaren will never release another of its amazing £540,000 supercars for road testing to anyone, anywhere in the world."

Those were the words that introduced Autocar's review of the McLaren F1 in 1994. To this day, it remains the definitive road test of the most iconic British supercar of all time. 

It was such a hammer blow that it took McLaren 21 years to produce a supercar capable of coming close to the F1.

In May 1994 we took the fifth McLaren prototype, codenamed XP5, to two proving grounds – Millbrook and Bruntingthorpe – to attempt to generate a full set of performance figures. That same car was driven, four years later, by Andy Wallace at Ehra-Lessien in Germany to record a world record-breaking 243mph.

Here, we republish that original Autocar road test from May 1994. It must be noted that the F1 was superceded by the limited-run hybrid P1 and lost its performance title to firstly the Bugatti Veyron and most recently the Chiron.

 

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the McLaren range

Driven this week

  • Honda Civic
    Car review
    21 April 2017
    Honda’s 10th-generation Civic hatchback goes global — but is that good news?
  • Toyota Prius Plug-in
    First Drive
    21 April 2017
    Second-generation Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid gets a bigger battery with new 39-mile electric range, more tech and styling updates, but it's expensive
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 EcoTSI 150 DSG
    First Drive
    20 April 2017
    Addition of DSG automatic gearbox in this top-spec model doesn't show the Ateca small SUV in its best light
  • Isuzu D-Max Blade
    First Drive
    20 April 2017
    Isuzu treats its rough-and-ready D-Max pick-up truck to a new engine, revised looks, better hauling ability and more equipment
  • MG ZS
    First Drive
    19 April 2017
    We drive MG’s upcoming Ford Ecosport rival in China-spec; good looks and a smart interior bode well for the UK version