McLaren P1 claims mantle of world’s ultimate supercar — for now

Writing about supercars can be like doing a radio show about cooking; words only go so far to describe the experience and appeal of the real thing. So when McLaren starts promoting its P1 supercar as a world-beating successor to the McLaren F1, those of us who follow the industry have few ways of validating McLaren's boasts. Today, McLaren gave out the recipe for the P1, and if the numbers are true, it's one for the ages.

By the tale of the tape, McLaren says the 903-hp P1 will hit 62 mph in well under 3 seconds, 124 mph in 7 seconds and 186 mph in 17 seconds — a full five seconds faster than the F1. The top speed will be limited to 217 mph, until some brave soul attempts to turn the electronic monitors off, and the car will be track-ready from purchase thanks to its own unique formula of Pirelli tire.

With the photos released today, McLaren says it decided to make only minor changes to the car revealed in Paris last year; it also decided to limit production to 375 copies, with a price tag of about $1.3 million each — making the P1 rarer than the Ferrari Enzo. If McLaren holds to that limit — and supercar builders in the past have been known to push out extra copies beyond a projected cap — the P1 would likely become an instant collectible. Which is a shame, because nothing that goes this fast should ever be parked for too long.