Jeremy Clarkson drives the McLaren P1

Many of us will have driven a car that is powerful enough to spin its wheels as you change into second gear. Some may have been fortunate enough to drive a car that can produce a little chirrup as you do a full-bore upchange to third. But the new McLaren P1 goes further than that: if the road's a bit greasy, it will spin its wheels all the way through fourth.

We've seen fast cars before. There have been Koenigseggs and Paganis, and the Ferrari F12 doesn't exactly hang about. Then, lower down the food chain, there have been a selection of lightweight pocket rockets like the Ariel Atom and the Caterham R500. But we have never encountered anything quite like the P1. This takes our perception of speed to a new level.