Hybrid powertrains define the latest and greatest generation of hypercars from McLaren, Porsche, and Ferrari. But it seems one member of that exclusive gas-electric fraternity could have spawned a variant sans batteries and electric motors.
Autocar has an unsourced snippet that claims McLaren considered launching a hybrid-less version of the P1. The move would have saved considerable weight – the P1’s hybrid gear weighs just over 300 pounds, which would have been absent from this hypothetical version. That said, it’s not like the P1 is carrying dead weight.
The electric motor belts out just over a Honda Civic’s worth of horsepower – 177 ponies (132 kW) – along with 96 pound-feet (130 Nm) of instantly available torque. All together, the P1 generates a hearty 903 hp (673 kW) and 664 lb-ft of torque (900 Nm) thanks to the aforementioned electric motor and a 3.8-liter, biturbocharged V8. It can hit 62 miles per hour (100 kph) in just 2.8 seconds and will double that speed 6.8 seconds after setting off. The top speed is 217 mph (349 kph).
So while the P1 is heavier because of its hybrid system, the straight-line performance electrification provides outweighs (pun totally intended) the impact of the extra mass on the car’s handling.
While the net impact on performance probably had something to do with the absence of a gas-only P1, Autocar also claims the higher ups at McLaren thought the concept was “at odds with the ethos of the project.” That doesn’t mean the folks in Woking thought a lighter, gas-only hypercar was a bad idea, of course. That car, the McLaren Senna, gets a larger V8 – 4.0 liters versus the P1’s 3.8 liters – that’s good for 789 hp (588 kW and and 590 lb-ft of torque (800 Nm), but weighs just 2,641 pounds dry compared to the P1’s 3,075-pound dry weight.