‘Phones into boxes, sign the pa­per­work and then, boom!’

CAR (UK) - - FROM THE EDITOR - Ben Miller Ed­i­tor

I’M SURE THE BLINDFOLDS were more about crank­ing up the sense of the­atre than pre­serv­ing se­crecy, but isn’t a lit­tle the­atre core to the hy­per­car ex­pe­ri­ence?

Cer­tainly the Wed­nes­day on which I first saw McLaren’s new Speed­tail was a Wed­nes­day like few oth­ers: drive to Wok­ing, as­sem­ble at McLaren’s Thought Lead­er­ship Cen­tre (or TLC, a cute if slightly wide-of-the-mark acro­nym for such a sheer, un-cosy piece of ar­chi­tec­ture) and, shortly there­after, climb into The Ap­pren­tice-style black limos for a short and blind­folded ride through town to an anony­mous ware­house. Phones into sealed boxes, sign the pa­per­work with­out read­ing it and then, boom, the cover’s whipped off a £1.75m hy­per­car with more power than Alonso’s For­mula 1 McLaren, three seats, match­ing lug­gage and badges made of gold. (We could spend all day mulling over the sig­nif­i­cance of the con­trast­ing use of gold on his­tory’s two McLaren three-seaters – to heat­proof the V12’s en­gine bay on the F1, to make pretty badges on the Speed­tail, though it may yet turn up in the en­gine bay – but life’s too short.)

In some ways the Speed­tail’s cu­ri­ously pitched. It’s com­pa­ra­ble with AMG’s One but, un­like the Merc, claims no For­mula 1 link. It’s also both the most pow­er­ful McLaren yet and, per­versely given it boasts 1035bhp, the first with­out a Track mode. None­the­less this is a car bur­nished with the kind of no-com­pro­mise per­for­mance cre­ativ­ity that fires the imag­i­na­tion; not ev­ery gen­er­a­tion is for­tu­nate enough to see a car like this on its watch. So are we liv­ing through a golden age to com­pare with the hal­cyon days of the F40, the 959 and the XJ220? If so then a re­ces­sion’s surely just around the cor­ner. Oh well.

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