Mclaren’s three-seat BP23
Three-seat hypercar, due 2019, will have a road focus but blistering performance
Spied during first tests
The three-seat Mclaren BP23, a new Ultimate Series grand tourer, will be “the fastest-ever Mclaren”, the company has promised. Mclaren has yet to clarify precisely what it means by “fastest”, but the BP23’S focus won’t be the track.
“It’s just faster. That’s all we’re saying at the minute,” said Andy Palmer, Mclaren’s Ultimate Series line director. “The goal of this car is to give customers the ability to have a high level of luxury, bespoke elements on the car, high performance, high speed, a very much road-focused grand tourer.”
A modified 720S is currently being used as the development mule for the BP23 (bespoke project two, three-seater). The central driving seat, visible in the photographs, will be flanked by two passenger seats. Just 106 BP23S will be built when the car goes on sale in 2019.
Although the BP23 is ‘bespoke project two’, Autocar understands another member of Mclaren’s Ultimate Series line-up, the P15 track-focused sports car, will arrive before it.
The likelihood is that the P15 is the third Ultimate Series car to be conceived, after the P1 and BP23, but it will beat the BP23 to market because of the three-seater’s complexity.
The BP23 will have a hybrid powertrain to augment the power of its twin-turbocharged V8 engine to vast levels. It will also need significant changes to its carbonfibre passenger cell – which Palmer will only describe as “different” from the 720S’s – to comfortably house three occupants.
“The centre seat is an amazing thing,” Palmer told Autocar. “The attraction is not only the driving position, but you can take two passengers and luggage on a long journey. I’ve been sitting in the buck and it’s not a bad place to be.
“Technology has moved on, particularly in carbon, and in our tub and in our Monocell, and how we engineer that to accommodate three seats. It’s not without compromise. It’s not sitting in the back of a Mercedes S-class, but it’s not a huddled or tight space.”
Palmer says entry and egress in the BP23 is far easier than in a 1990s three-seat Mclaren F1.
Cameras might augment mirrors to increase visibility without compromising aerodynamics.
Because lap times aren’t how Mclaren will measure the BP23’S performance, that leaves acceleration and/or top speed as the measure by which the BP23 will be deemed the fastest Mclaren yet.
Palmer won’t be drawn on power outputs or powertrain specifics, but beating the F1’s 240mph top speed or the P1’s acceleration figures (0-62mph in 2.8sec and 0-186mph in 16.5sec) would require an output beyond the P1’s 903bhp. So expect a highly boosted development of the 720S’s 4.0-litre V8 and a hybrid system whose primary mission will be to eliminate turbo lag.
The car is priced at around £2 million even before each one visits Mclaren Special Operations for bespoke options. All 106 have been allocated.
Beating the F1’s top speed or P1’s acceleration would require more than the P1’s 903bhp
Official sketch (below); modified 720S used as mule (right)