McLaren P1 vs Bugatti Veyron vs Huayra vs One-77 vs Venom
How does the McLaren P1 compare to the wildest modern hypercars? Only Top Gear has driven the lot…
Posted: 26 Nov 2013
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.