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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Geneva Motor Show: McLaren Talks About The P1's Powertrain

    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    February 20, 2013

    McLaren has revealed the engine specs for the successor to the F1 supercar, the P1.

    The P1 will use a updated version of the MP4-12C's twin-turbo 3.8L V8 producing 727 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. The 3.8L is mated to a electric motor developed in-house by McLaren Electronics that produces 176 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. The electric motor can propel the P1 emissions free for up to 6 miles in a special E-mode. Total output stands at 903 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The P1's transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch box.

    The P1's powertrain will also boast two unique acronyms. There is IPAS (Instant Power Assist System) mode, which allows the P1's electric motor to get the vehicle moving while the turbochargers spool up, improving throttle response. Also there is DRS (Drag Reduction System) which changes the angle of the rear wing to reduce wind resistance, allowing the P1 to reach a higher top speed.

    We'll have more information on the P1 when it makes its offical debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

    Source: McLaren


    McLaren P1 Powertrain 1
    Album: McLaren P1 Powertrain
    4 images

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    Press Release is on Page 2


    Feb 20, 2013

    • IPAS (Instant Power Assist System) and DRS (Drag Reduction System) offer instant boost of power and straight-line speed
    • 916PS (903 bhp) and 900Nm, with emissions of less than 200g/km
    • Substantially revised 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine coupled to low-weight, highly efficient electric motor ensures instant torque for optimised throttle response
    • Full E-mode offers in excess of 10km emission-free driving

    The McLaren P1™ will have the combined force of two highly-efficient powerplants, offering the optimum mix of superb throttle response, day-to-day drivability and top speed. A mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine and a highly effective electric motor give a combined output of 916PS (903 bhp) and a maximum torque figure of 900Nm, ensuring instantaneous throttle response through the rev range, more akin to a naturally aspirated engine. Emissions of less than 200g/km on the combined cycle are reduced to zero in full electric drive mode, while the Formula 1-derived DRS and IPAS technologies offer an increase in straight-line speed and an instant boost of power.

    The 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine in the McLaren P1™ is a new version of the familiar M838T unit, that has been significantly upgraded to optimise cooling and durability under the higher loads. The engine block has a unique casting to incorporate the electric motor. The petrol engine produces 737PS (727 bhp) at 7,500rpm, and 720Nm of torque from 4,000rpm. To optimise efficiency of the petrol engine, extensive testing and development work has always been carried out with McLaren Automotive technology partner Mobil 1 on lubrication and hydraulic fluids.

    The lightweight electric motor, developed by the McLaren Electronics arm of the Group, produces 179PS (176 bhp), and is unique to the McLaren P1™. The motor produces maximum torque of 260Nm instantly from a standstill, greatly increasing the throttle response of the McLaren P1™, and peak combined torque of 900Nm is delivered from just 4,000 rpm. In addition to this, the McLaren-developed ‘boost’ system, IPAS, provides up to 179PS instantly. The instant response of the electric motor provides a sharper throttle response more associated with a normally aspirated engine, and the significantly enhanced air-charging system enables the McLaren P1™ to have more top-end power – the perfect combination for high performance.

    The electric motor is mounted directly onto the engine, and all drive is channelled through the dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox to drive the rear wheels. Thus, the electric motor and 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine work seamlessly together, providing more than just added ultimate power and torque.

    A further benefit is that the e-motor can provide faster upshifts. This is achieved through the application of instant negative torque at the point of shift, making the engine revs drop as quickly and efficiently as possible to the required engine speed for the upshift.

    In addition to the obsessive weight-saving measures demonstrated throughout the McLaren P1™, so too is the optimisation of usable energy. When off-throttle the electric motor provides additional drag torque, recovering energy to the battery that would otherwise be lost to the brakes.


    The McLaren P1™can be driven in a variety of modes, powered by the engine and electric motor together, or solely by the electric motor. This ensures versatility and ease of transportation, allows use in low emission zones and residential driving is optimised with near-silent running.

    Maximum power comes when using both powerplants together, but even in E-mode the performance is strong. E-mode is the most economical mode available with zero tailpipe emissions. In E-mode, the McLaren P1™ can travel more than 10km with electric-only power – enough for most city journeys. When the battery is empty, the petrol engine will automatically start to maintain drive and charge the battery.

    IPAS and DRS optimise performance and throttle response

    The power available via the petrol engine and electric motor is further enhanced on the McLaren P1™ through two steering wheel-mounted buttons which activate the DRS (Drag Reduction System) and IPAS (Instant Power Assist System).

    The Drag Reduction System used on the McLaren P1™ is a technology similar to that employed on Formula 1 cars. Speed is increased by reducing the amount of drag on the rear wing and, where the MP4-28 has a moveable flap on the rear wing, the McLaren P1™ has a wing that reduces in angle to lower drag by 23%. The system immediately deactivates when the button is released, or if the driver touches the brake pedal.

    IPAS is designed to deliver power rapidly for high performance acceleration, and provides 179PS of instant additional power. In developing the IPAS technology for the McLaren P1™, power delivery was prioritised over energy storage. This is achieved through a groundbreaking, lightweight battery pack, which offers greater power density than any other automotive battery pack on sale today.


    The high power density has been achieved through a combination of high power cells, low pack weight and an innovative cooling system. The battery weighs just 96kg, and is mounted onto the underbody of the high-strength Formula 1-grade carbon fibre MonoCage chassis, which seals the unit in the vehicle, thus avoiding the added weight of any unnecessary battery packaging.

    Due to the amount of power being supplied by the battery, complex cooling is required to guarantee cell performance and reliability. The coolant flow is balanced so each cell is cooled to the same temperature across the entire pack.

    In addition to the battery being charged via the engine, the McLaren P1™ is also equipped with a plug-in charger which can recharge the battery, from empty, in only two hours. The plug-in charger can be stored in the luggage compartment, although the customer may choose to store it off-board – in a garage or the pits – to save weight.

    Further details of the McLaren P1™ will be released in the coming weeks, before the production-ready car makes its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

    User Feedback

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    We'll Looks are in the eye of the beholder, I just find it sad that you have an engine producing all the Horsepower and such reduced Torque.

    Sorry but for all the fans of these OVC engines, I still do not see how the weight increase of over head cams benefit a traditional GM V8 that produces Torque equal to HP. After all you can have all the HP you want, but if you do not have the torque it is a waste.

    Diesels have proven that Torque is what wins the war and moves mass, not HP.

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    This is not a 5000lb truck, so torque is a non-issue..it's a light sports car.

    Does not matter, this just continues to preach that HP is everything when it is only one piece of the solution and instead of building a proper engine with Equal torque to HP they are relying on Electric motors to give it the torque.

    DOHC engines are not that efficient as marketing would like to preach.

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    Electric motors are where things are going...McLaren is pushing forward and using their F1 experience... ...there is no challenge for a company to use old technologies or ways of doing things, they are being bold.

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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