POAs are annoying. Sticking POA in an advert is like McDonalds advertising its latest Double McBig Mac McCheese McFlurry and, once you’re salivating like a rabid dog chewing a Naga chili, telling you it’s one million pounds. It’s very exasperating having your dreams dashed. Just tell us the price. It’s really not that hard to work out if you own a calculator, which everyone does if they own a smartphone.
There are exceptions, though. When those three, po-faced, POA letters are a stand-in for the price of a McLaren Speedtail, well, what’s the harm? You know it’s going to cost many millions of pounds anyway. So what the actual figure is doesn’t really matter, because unless you’re Elon Musk or Jeffery Bezos, you can’t afford it. Let's face it, the Speedtail isn't a car that you just pop onto a configurator and order.
Oh no. You sit down with one of McLaren’s interior designers and you design every millimetre of its 5,137mm body and interior. And if you want your design to remain unique, you tell McLaren never to produce another one like it “Or else”. For that level of bespoke, buttock-massaging service, you will receive a bill for £2,100,000 for the blank canvas. Then you add another sizeable lump for the artistic brush strokes that you've just applied. One example is rumoured to have a paint finish alone that cost £100,000. It’s probably no surprise, then, that cheques starting with a three and six zeros scribbled to the right of that are said to have been swapped for just one car.
Speaking of special paint matches, this example’s tinge was apparently picked after a chance meeting. There’s a Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione – chassis #2009 – knocking around. It was ordered new through Maranello Concessionaires by a Mr Graham Whitehead. Whitehead was a gentleman racer and had many podium finishes in his 250 GT in the 60s. Later, a little battle-scarred, perhaps, and certainly several owners on, the now weather-beaten 250 GT was sent to Ferrari Classiche for a comprehensive restoration and certification. After it was all shiny again, it was shown at the Villa d’Este Concours in 2019, where someone saw it and thought, “That’s the colour I want for my Speedtail.” This Speedtail. Which seems like a lot of thought processing for a car that he or she barely used – it’s showing just 30 miles now.
Visible underneath that silvery-blue paint is a carbon-fibre weave with threads that are three-times finer than an other McLaren’s. Inside, the Speedtail's leather is also nearly a third lighter than any of McLaren's standard leathers – but no less durable, apparently. And, of course, it’s wrapping a three-piece suite that emulates the configuration found in the most famous and sought-after McLaren of all. A driver’s seat smack-bang in the middle of the cockpit, flanked by two more for the lucky passengers. That’s not the only association with the F1, either. 106 Speedtails will be built – McLaren is still building them, but all the orders are taken. That matches the number of F1s made.
Looks-wise, it’s one of the most striking cars ever to come out of Woking – well, maybe with the exception of the Senna, but that was striking for all the wrong reasons. The Speedtail isn’t jarring like the Senna. It is a serene and harmonious piece of design from tip to toe. In nature, things designed by the considered hand of evolution to be fast, tend to be pretty as well. Just look at a dive-bombing peregrine falcon if you don’t believe me. The Speedtail wasn’t designed by Darwinism but it is pretty, and, when you stand back to admire it, it could’ve been. It fits the same philosophy, you see. When something doesn’t disturb the air it moves through, it doesn’t disturb the eyes, either. And that’s a long-winded way of saying the Speedtail looks amazeballs.
It had to be slippery, of course, because of its power and speed. The internal-combustion element was nothing special – as with all McLarens, bar the F1 and SLR, it uses the flat-plane-gruff, twin-turbo M840T V8. But the Speedtail, like the P1, supplements the petrol engine with electricity. And when you combine the output from the V8 to horses made by the McLaren Applied & Hewland e-Axle Permanent magnet motor, you get 1,070hp. Plus 848lb ft of torque.
Here’s some other numbers for you to mull over. Starting with acceleration: 0-62mph, 3.0 seconds; 0-124mph, 6.6 seconds; 0-186mph, 13.0 seconds. Take that and weep Bugatti Chiron, with ya pathetic 13.1-second run. And because it’s about half-a-tonne lighter than the Chiron, once it’s accelerated up to 124mph it can stop again very quickly, too. In 132 metres. Oh yes, and I almost forgot the headline grabber. The top speed is 250mph. That isn’t a hypothetical number, either. It wasn’t dreamed up by someone with a Tefal head and a PhD in Aeronautics. McLaren chief test driver Kenny Bräck actually achieved it – around the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds at Kennedy Space Center, Florida in prototype ‘XP2’.
So there you go. Look past the POA just this once and you should find a PHWOAR pops out. That’s the normal noise you make when you see something rare and this drop-dead gorgeous, isn’t it? So PHWOAR.
SPECIFICATION | McLaren Speedtail
Engine: 3,994cc, V8, twin-turbocharged, electric motor
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 1,070
Torque (lb ft): 848
First registered: 2021
Recorded mileage: 30
Price new: £2,100,000
Yours for: Some millions
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