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)

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