The cars of 2013: Supercars
This year you'll see the world of supercars in a different light
Posted: 22 Feb 2013
This is the year of the big one. The McDaddy. Son of F1. The McLaren P1. Arguably the most anticipated hypercar in the history of everness. McLaren has said it isn't interested in wrestling Bugatti for the title of world's fastest production car, but instead making "the best driver's car in the world". Still, it won't be slow. We know the P1 will produce over 600bhp per tonne, and we're told it uses a modified version of the 12C's twin-turbo V8, working alongside a KERS hybrid boost system to generate a power output of over 800bhp.
There's a host of clever active aero on board, including a rear wing that lies flat to reduce drag - when you're attempting your 200mph-plus autobahn charge - or extends rearwards by 300mm to help the P1 generate up to 600kg of downforce. That's the same as the McLaren GT3 racer. That's a lot. As is the cost: when the P1 lands late this year, we're expecting an asking price over £700,000. And, perhaps, a new TG Power Lap record.
Elsewhere, 2013 shall see the world of supercars fracture down the centre, split between manufacturers clinging to the tried-and-tested formula of going faster by mating a whacking great engine to a lightweight body, and those embracing every new tech trick - hybrid power, KERS, active aero - for maximum rapidity.
In the loud 'n' oily corner lurk the SLS Black Series AMG - the harder, lighter skunkworks edition of Merc's mad gullwing - and a range-topping new Bentley Conti GT3. The SLS Black's headline stats are eyebrow-raising: with a hoofing 622bhp on tap - 60bhp more than the stock SLS - and a monumental carbon-fibre weight-loss programme shaving 70kg from its kerbweight, it'll crush the 0-62mph sprint in 3.6 seconds and do 196mph flat-out. That rear wing is optional, but you'll choose it.
Details remain somewhat hazier for the Continental GT3. Bentley unveiled a racetrack-only Conti last year, which, to comply with FIA regulations, was rear-wheel-drive. But a road-going Conti GT3 - a range-topping replacement for the Supersports - would likely stay four-wheel-drive, shedding weight and gaining power. The, ahem, ‘standard' Conti W12 makes a sufficient 567bhp, so a GT3 version could push towards 700bhp. Expect a barer interior than the hyper-plush standard Conti, but no roll cages or harnesses: this is a Bentley after all, darling.
At the tech-heavy end of the supercar scale, BMW's hybrid i8 is finally, nearly upon us. Busy shedding its concept layers since we first saw it in 2009, we now know the i8 will be powered by a three-cylinder turbo petrol sending 220bhp to the rear wheels and a 129bhp electric motor taking care of the fronts. That means (a) a combined 349bhp and 406lb ft and (b) none of the traditional tail-happy proclivities of hot BMW machinery. It also means 0-62mph in five seconds and a top speed limited to 155mph, along with combined economy around 100mpg and the ability to run on electric power alone (albeit sedately) for 20 miles. We'll see the final production version this year, though first deliveries won't arrive until 2014, probably costing around £120,000.
Porsche's hyper-exclusive, hyper-expensive 918 takes hybrid tech to a yet more eye-watering price-point. A 570bhp, 4.6-litre V8 will combine with a pair of electric motors for a peak power output near 800bhp. Prices should start around £625,000, or you can splash another £60,000 for the lightweight Weissach package, which saves around 35kg.
Just 918 will be built, so you'd better get a wriggle on with a) winning the EuroMillions or b) that Tower of London heist.