I flew into Paris yesterday morning, was driven into the centre of the city and through a back entrance to the Paris auto show.

Dodging the forklift trucks, pallets and acres of abandoned plywood sheets, the McLaren press team led us up to a large black curtain, which was theatrically pulled aside to reveal the McLaren show stand - the first time the company has ever been present at an international motorshow.

I can reveal that the all-white and very glossy stand (we were constantly warned about standing on the newly-laid shiny floor tiles) hosts three cars: a 12C coupe, 12C Spider and the new P1 super-supercar.

Autocar will be able to reveal more about this extraordinary car from 5pm this afternoon, but what I can tell you is that the photographs of the P1 do not do the car justice. In the flesh, has a striking functionality and does not look in anyway forced or contrived. It does have a large amount of the kind of extreme functional beauty that marks out, say, a Eurofighter Typhoon.

What is impressive about the car is that every aspect of the exterior has been shaped to fulfil a defined function. The P1 is a clear reflection of the current global design trends for authenticity, mostly because the car has such extreme performance parameters which leaves little room for styling fripperies.