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McLaren P1 vs Bugatti Veyron vs Huayra vs One-77 vs Venom

  1. Words: Tom Ford

    Is the McLaren P1 better than a Bugatti Veyron? Better than a Pagani Huayra? Better than an Aston Martin One-77? Top Gear has the answer…

    Statistics can be engineered to lie. Or, if not lie exactly, twist themselves into interesting shapes designed to confuse. Which means that bald statistics will only ever tell part of a story. The other part is generally subjective, and that comes under huge pressure from entirely unscientific factors like taste and preference. Stuff you can’t measure with a micrometer and struggle to get right even with the biggest focus group.

    Styling is mostly subjective, so we’re going to
    sidestep the complication of which hypercar looks best and leave you to your
    own devices to figure that one out. When you have several hundred thousand quid
    to spend on a car, you probably know your own mind as far as stuff like that is
     concerned.

    For Jeremy Clarkson’s world exclusive take on
    the McLaren P1, you
    need this month’s Top Gear magazine, OUT NOW or available to download on iPad
    right here

  2. So let’s get to the sharp end. The Aston Martin
    One-77 is a fantastic looking thing, and is surprisingly deft given the size,
    but it just can’t compete with the P1 on any other level.

    The gearbox  - at least on the car we drove
    – is way off the pace, and the amount of shove it produces from the - albeit
    lovely - naturally-aspirated engine just leaves it in another league. A lower
    one.  But then again the One-77 is more of a GT car than an out-and-out
    sportscar, so its not likely that One-77 owners will be all that bothered.

    For Jeremy Clarkson’s world exclusive take on
    the McLaren P1, you
    need this month’s Top Gear magazine, OUT NOW or available to download on iPad
    right here

  3. The P1 is also what the Hennessey Venom wants to
    be when it grows up. Now, I like the Venom. It’s basically a bomb-spec V8 with
    turbos the size of your head strapped into a Lotus Exige. Which means its
    apocalyptic in delivery, and out-and-out scary in the wrong hands. That’s fun,
    for a while.

    But the P1 feels so together, so refined in its
    reactions, that it makes the Texan wonder feel like a musclecar in comparison.
    The Venom is excellent for the production of a manic grin, but the P1 would eat
    it for breakfast in anything other than a straight drag race.

    For Jeremy Clarkson’s world exclusive take on
    the McLaren P1, you
    need this month’s Top Gear magazine, OUT NOW or available to download on iPad
    right here

  4. Which leaves two more complicated contenders: the
    Bugatti Veyron and the Pagani Huayra. Side by side on the strip, the standard
    Veyron is very similar to the P1 in terms of acceleration, and the SuperSport
    is definitely faster. There, I’ve said it. It wouldn’t leave the P1 for dead,
    but the SS has the edge in terms of sheer grunt. Despite weighing 400kg more,
    that 300bhp power advantage tells.

    But the P1 makes any Veyron feel like an Audi TT
    in terms of driver enjoyment. The Veyron has a massive thousand-horsepower,
    all-wheel-drive party trick that never gets boring, one that’s even more
    addictive in 1200bhp SS flavour. The P1, on the other hand, is intimate in a
    way that the Veyron can never be, connected to the driver on a different level.
    You pilot a Veyron, but you have to drive a P1.

    That ends up being a bit of a double-edged sword.
    You can point a Veyron in the right direction and more-or-less just hit it – it
    will look after you to a greater extent, and it makes a faintly ludicrous
    amount of horsepower not just deployable, but actively useable. But it will
    reach a point where it simply understeers and loses focus.

    The rear-wheel drive P1 is not so accommodating,
    and will take a lot longer to learn to drive to the limit, but will be
    infinitely more satisfying once you start to push that particular dangerous
    envelope. Around a track or on a winding route, the P1 will be a good deal
    further down the road than the Veyron, but the driver will be working harder
    and thinking more.

    Which kind of brings us to what you want from a
    very, very fast car. If you just desire the Top Trumps angle, to be the
    ‘fastest’, then the Veyron SS is still the king. But if you want to be more
    involved in the thrill of it, then the P1 has found a new niche.

    You can see where McLaren have gone with the
    pitch. Instead of chasing top speed (I reckon the P1 is easily a 250mph car if
    de-restricted), the P1 has opted to keep the car relatively light and engineer
    for sub-150mph. The extra braking/cooling/aero/stability needed to make a
    250mph top speed possible tends to have an adverse effect on other factors. The
    P1 makes those differences crystal.

    For Jeremy Clarkson’s world exclusive take on
    the McLaren P1, you
    need this month’s Top Gear magazine, OUT NOW or available to download on iPad
    right here

  5. The Huayra is a different beast. It’s more
    theatrical than the P1, more artistic, more expressive. Compare the interiors
    if you want a physical manifestation of the attitudes of the two cars: both
    beautiful in their own way, but where the P1 is stark, focused and modernist,
    the Huayra is baroque, bonkers and brilliant.

    Both have engines that will stand the hairs on
    the back of your neck to strict attention and work your neck muscles, but the
    P1 plays with the KERS-style electric motor to cover turbo lag and deliver a
    useable ev-mode.

    The P1 also rides much better than the Huayra,
    especially at low speeds, and has an inch-perfect dual-clutch ‘box – the Pagani
    has a slightly tardy-in-comparison single-shafted sequential. All of which
    makes the P1 feel more cohesive overall, more polished. It’s not as joyous as
    the Huayra, but there’s a depth to it that deserves respect.

    The truth is that at this end of the market,
    there isn’t a rubbish car to point and laugh at. They are all, in their own
    way, eminently desirable, and an owner could justify his purchase in a myriad
    of ways.

    For Jeremy Clarkson’s world exclusive take on
    the McLaren P1, you
    need this month’s Top Gear magazine, OUT NOW or available to download on iPad
    right here

  6. But the McLaren P1 offers a breadth of ability,
    combined with a leagues-deep well of driver involvement that we just haven’t
    seen before.  It’s a new breed that focuses on what’s needed as well as
    what’s possible. And that makes it, quite simply, the best hypercar on sale.

    For Jeremy Clarkson’s world exclusive take on
    the McLaren P1, you
    need this month’s Top Gear magazine, OUT NOW or available to download on iPad
    right here

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