US-only 218mph McLaren Sabre unveiled

US-only 218mph McLaren Sabre unveiled


Bespoke hypercar features McLaren's most powerful non-hybrid V8 to date

By Sam Sheehan / Tuesday, December 22, 2020

McLaren Special Operations has revealed a bespoke model called the Sabre developed specifically for the US market. The new hypercar is said to be capable of a 218mph top speed thanks to an 835hp (824bhp) output. That makes it both the fastest two-seat McLaren and most potent pure petrol-powered road model to come out of Woking yet. Just 15 examples will be produced – all of which are headed to pre-allocated customers of McLaren Beverly Hills for an undisclosed price. Obviously.

With only US homologation to worry about, the MSO team worked with the customers to create something optimised for local regulations, allowing it to stretch the design, engineering and aerodynamic conventions to “new limits”. The V8 trumps the output of the Senna by 35hp, while matching its 590lb ft of torque peak dead on. Much more effort has gone into the exterior, which gets an LMP1-aping fin, rear diffuser and three-slat wing that distinguish it from the Senna, but appears to retain the same roofline and footprint. Apparently, the technical setup has been fine-tuned with input from the customers themselves, following a test drive of prototypes on track earlier this year with US project partner, O’Gara Motorsport.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have been involved with a number of very special cars and I’ve never seen a manufacturer give clients the level of access that McLaren Special Operations has provided for the Sabre,” said Parris Mullins, the motorsport director for O’Gara Motorsport. “Everything from visiting the ‘skunkworks’ style design studio in the UK to flying out the actual development test mule for clients to get behind the wheel of and drive at a private track – these just aren’t things you typically get access to.”

Given all that – and the fact this is one of the most exclusive and fastest McLarens ever made – it's not hard to imagine a fevered level of interest among US collectors. Mullins said the first buyer is “not just a client, more a customer who has been in part collaborator, designer and factory test driver” in the project. He said today, “their dream came to reality”. We don't doubt that one bit.

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