Across Europe in the McLaren P1
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Posted: 06 Jan 2014
When pottering, you can amble away in EV mode at the press of a button on the central hockey stick spar, switch to Charge mode, which charges the batteries and turns the P1 into essentially a 176bhp range-extender, or fire up the modified 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 and make progress like any other fast car.
In fact, that's pretty much what we did, as we drove the P1 several hundred miles back to the UK from Belgium. Just played with the buttons and commuted. We took turns driving - it's relaxing enough to strip miles in that I happily nodded off in the passenger seat during one of CT's driving stints - and we poked and prodded. We found that if you need to make a phone call, you can press the EV mode button to kill the engine and glide along for several miles of near-silence, even at 80mph. Necessary because the P1's MonoCage carbon-ness means that it's a bit grumbly and acoustically reflective on bad roads - lightweight carpetry being a no-cost option not fitted to our car. We charged the batteries when we saw traffic jams ahead on the - fully operational - nav and glided through the obstruction on willing lithium ions.