New McLaren Speedtail to get more than 987bhp

But it won’t be chasing a top speed record. McLaren boss gives TG the lowdown

McLaren boss Mike Flewitt has confirmed to TopGear.com that the upcoming new Speedtail hypercar will produce more than 987bhp.

Speaking at a McLaren owners’ event, he noted how the three-seat hypercar (previously known as BP23), will use the familiar McLaren engine architecture, meaning the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8. “That architecture has gone from 426bhp in a GT4 to I-can’t-tell-you-what-yet in a Speedtail.

“But it’s more than 1,000PS [987bhp],” he added. He noted how the engine has already been hybridised in the P1, and that for the Speedtail, “we’ve got a slightly different hybrid application”.

“What we focus on are attributes rather than engines,” he said. “I remember when we launched P1, people said we should have had a V12. That kind of missed the point – for us it was about what it did, and the character that comes out of it.”

We know that the Speedtail will be the fastest McLaren ever, with a top speed well north of 243mph. That puts it comfortably ahead of perhaps the most famous McLaren of them all, the F1.

But does Flewitt see the Speedtail’s role as gunning for the likes of Koenigsegg and Hennessey for outright top speed honours? Erm, not really.

“We’re not going for top speed for the sake of top speed,” he said. “I spoke to my friend John Hennessey – he had his Venom F5 engine on a stand [at Monterey’s car week] – and he’s going for 300mph. I might come out with John and take the opportunity to do a high speed run with our car, but we’re not chasing a top speed for the sake of it.”

Why not? “The car is more rounded than that, and there’s more to it than just top speed. Some of those guys are going to be putting out 1,500bhp to 1,600bhp, and we’re not going to be there.”

He did note how the Speedtail will be lighter and aerodynamic, and a “better driving proposition”, a car you’d be able to comfortably take on a 2,000-mile tour.

“It’ll be super comfortable, super to drive,” Flewitt said. “It has an amazing top speed, but that’s a result of the engineering that’s gone into the car, not a target of the car.

“It was never a target. We’ve got simulations that tell us what it is, but we haven’t proven them yet.”

He did however, wish both Koenigsegg and Hennessey good luck for their upcoming bout. “I’m a big fan of John’s, and of Christian [von Koenigsegg] – he’s a great engineer.”