Print 35 comment(s) - last by topkill.. on Feb 22 at 8:25 PM

McLaren P1 will do battle with Porsche's 918 Spyder

The McLaren F1 is a legendary supercar that still commands respect two decades after its initial introduction. Labeled by many as one of the greatest -- if not the greatest -- road car of all time, following up on such an iconic legend is a tough task.
McLaren is now ready to pass the touch onto an equally impressive machine: the McLaren P1.
Although the P1 was first unveiled to the public last year, we're now getting some detailed information about the vehicle's powertrain. Whereas the F1 used a normally aspirated, BMW-sourced V12 engine, the P1 uses a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine paired with an electric motor. The twin-turbo V8 by itself generates a whopping 727hp and 530 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor tacks on another 176hp and 191 lb-ft of torque.
When combined, the powertrain is good for 903hp and 663 lb-ft of torque. While impressive, it's still not enough to match the sheer power of the two-ton Bugatti Veyron, which is rated at 1001hp and 922 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Veyron, however, the P1 likely won't weigh as much as a midsize SUV.

McLaren states that the P1 can travel up to 6 miles on battery power alone (the vehicle's lithium-ion battery pack weighs 210 pounds), and the vehicle can be plugged into a household outlet to recharge.
Performance figures for the McLaren P1 aren't in yet, but we can't wait to see this latest hybrid supercar do battle with Porsche's upcoming 918 Spyder.

Sources: Facebook, Motor Authority

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By euler007 on 2/20/2013 10:15:20 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't this be a better sports car without the electric motor and battery pack? The extra weight must have negative impact on everything except top speed.

I doubt people buying these expensive penile extensions care much about gas mileage.

RE: Weight
By SilentSin on 2/20/2013 10:39:37 AM , Rating: 2
Ideally I think the added power would help acceleration out of the bottom end. Sort of like a pre-turbo boost. It is probably not much of a difference between not adding the weight in the first place but it is an interesting configuration. I wonder if a system similar to KERS used in F1 might be better since it is significantly lighter. Looking forward to the test results.

RE: Weight
By CK804 on 2/20/2013 10:43:05 AM , Rating: 2
In the case of a sports car, the intent of a hybrid powertrain would be to improve performance, not conserve fuel. The improved low-end torque and added horsepower negates the added weight of the electrical drivetrain components. I doubt the same car without the electrical system and with the same exact gasoline engine would be as fast.

RE: Weight
By RufusM on 2/20/2013 11:16:47 AM , Rating: 2
Yes I suspect the electric motor would kick in immediately from 0 mph - <some optimal point>, giving the ICE a chance to throttle up and take over.

This would give it very strong acceleration from a stopped position, increasing it's overall 0-60 and 1/4 mile speeds and fun factor.

RE: Weight
By Mint on 2/20/2013 11:43:52 AM , Rating: 1
0-60 will barely benefit for any test where you drop the clutch (i.e. every test car magazines do), since a RWD car with 727 hp would be entirely traction limited.

It'll be felt more for its instantaneous response, especially if the turbos aren't yet spooled up. I do agree that 1/4 mile times will improve.

RE: Weight
By Shig on 2/20/2013 11:55:20 AM , Rating: 2
The Porsche Spyder is different from what I understand. The Spyder has an independent power source on every wheel (electric motor) + ICE. This car has a giant electric motor up front with the ICE.

A Bugatti is pure straight speed, I don't think you'd want it on an actual race course. Also check the MPG on a Bugatti. Obviously you don't want to race in an econobox, but MPG is important in racing and these hybrid systems deliver performance on par with ICE at a significantly higher efficiency.

Maybe I'm wrong, but these power trains are getting pretty advanced.

RE: Weight
By Shig on 2/20/2013 11:59:12 AM , Rating: 2
The main innovation here seems to be that they built the electric motor into the engine block, which is pretty awesome.

RE: Weight
By freedom4556 on 2/20/2013 12:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
That's called the starter, and car's have had them since they got rid of the handles that liked to break your arm. McLaren's is simply bigger.

RE: Weight
By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 2/20/2013 12:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
Not exactly.. Starter motors bolt onto the block but they're not cast _in_ the block. A neat way to save weight, but I'm wondering how it'll impact servicability. I assume it's also basically a starternator, so the alternator can come out too, saving more weight and complexity.

In fact, if these guys were smart, everything that would hang off the motor as a belt-driven accessory is electric instead, thus removing the belt, the clutches, etc. and both reducing complexity and increasing reliability.

RE: Weight
By Mitch101 on 2/20/2013 2:46:43 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty fun watching the debate when none of us are likely about to purchase any of the cars mentioned.

RE: Weight
By MrBlastman on 2/20/2013 2:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point.

As someone who has raced cars in the SCCA solo circuit for a short while, I can tell you there are two types of racers:

Speed freaks and G freaks.

Both are looking for a different thrill. G freaks like lateral Gs in turns. The higher the G force, the better! Speed freaks, on the other hand, looooove acceleration and top end. G freaks love acceleration too, but to a lesser extent.

So, you have two different camps--and, with this car, you have a dilemma.

See, the P1 has twin turbos and one of the biggest problems associated with turbos is turbo lag. Without getting into a technical discussion of what turbo is best--just know that it is there. The lower your engine RPMs, the lower the amount of exhaust gas produced--and these gasses are used to spin the turbo which then compresses the air and sends it into the cylinders.

So, you have spool-up. When a turbo spools up, it is operating efficiently and compressing large amounts of air. At very low RPMs, they compress little air, adding little benefit.

Now, most turbo charged cars are tuned to run efficiently and optimally on boost. Outside of boost they suffer from lower horsepower and more importantly... torque. Torque is what helps you get moving from rest. Horsepower helps you go fast. The lower your torque, the harder it is to accelerate.

Electric motors are inherently good at providing LOTS of torque at LOW RPMs. By adding in electric motors, Mclaren has overcome the acceleration problems on the low end that would have been a drawback to the turbochargers. It might add weight... but it helps the car leap off the line better.

It helps the speed freaks.

Having driven a turbocharged car for nearly the last decade, I've come to appreciate the pros and the cons. Turbo lag is just one of those cons you learn to deal with and, to a lesser extent (and to the chagrin of your clutch and flywheel) develop ways around it.

RE: Weight
By tng on 2/20/2013 5:27:16 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering about the layout. With the battery sitting right in the middle of the car, where is the center of gravity and does the placement of the battery and all that weight help or hurt the cornering and grip?

RE: Weight
By MrBlastman on 2/21/2013 11:01:24 AM , Rating: 2
I'd say it helps a lot with where they put the battery. If you look at the diagram, you'll see that the engine places a lot of weight on the rear wheels which helps give them grip accelerating off the line but more importantly, gives a weight bias to the rear of the car making it easier to kick the back end loose in a turn allowing it to rotate laterally easier thus getting around sharper turns faster depending on the situation.

The center placement of the battery was a smart move as it is both centralized negating any tendency for one side of the car to break free easier than the other but also not putting too much weight in the back of the car also.

RE: Weight
By Omega215D on 2/20/2013 5:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
Ahh, the days when I drove an STi for Rally America...

RE: Weight
By fragemall on 2/20/2013 8:06:20 PM , Rating: 2
Yes and No. Yes by removing the hybrid system there would be significant weight savings Probably 300 lbs (battery, Controller, additional cooling system). But the instantaneous torque of the motor will enable the use of a larger turbocharger (esp the turbine side) which is rated for peak power, High efficiency and low back-pressure. In normal application this would increase lag but with the hybrid system, the driver will never "see" the lag. Without the motor, you will have to use smaller turbos to reduce lag and maintain efficiency. Small engine + big turbo + no hybrid = Lag = poor drivability

RE: Weight
By topkill on 2/22/2013 8:25:14 PM , Rating: 2
No, the weight is not really a problem and actually very small. The attached "schematic" is clearly just an artist's rendition and not close to reality. Current Formula 1 KERS (from which this is derived) only ways 30kg (66lbs).

The battery they've drawn in here looks more like a Tesla Roadster battery and that would not be REMOTELY needed for giving this car a 176hp boost for during acceleration.

If you can give the car instant torque and make up for the turbo lag coming out of corners and adding ~1hp/lb. then you've got a great trade off for performance.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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