Review

McLaren Senna

by staff writer JP

 True to the legendary abilities of the racing driver whose name it bears, the McLaren Senna has been designed, engineered and developed to be the ultimate road-legal McLaren track car. With 800PS (789bhp) and 800Nm (590b ft) from its 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8, McLaren’s most powerful-ever internal combustion engine in a road car – and the ability to generate a staggering 800kg of downforce, the McLaren Senna delivers the purest possible connection between driver and car.

Performance is breathtaking. The McLaren Senna can cover 0-100km/h (62mph) in 2.8 seconds; 0-200km/h (124 mph) is achieved in just 6.8 seconds and a standing quarter-mile (402m) in only 9.9 seconds. Impressive though the straight-line acceleration and maximum speed of 340km/h (211 mph) are, the true depth of the performance credentials of the new Ultimate Series McLaren will be revealed when it calls on downforce of up to 800kg on a circuit, against the stop-watch.

"You give everything you have; everything, absolutely everything"
Ayrton Senna, three-times Formula 1 World Champion in a McLaren

The McLaren Senna is priced at £750,000 including taxes (UK). Just 500 will be built, each hand-assembled in a 300-hour process at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey, England.  All are assigned to buyers, the one remaining build allocation having been auctioned in December 2017 at a private event for McLaren customers. The winning bid was £2 million, with the proceeds going to the Ayrton Senna Institute, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing education for nearly two million unprivileged children and youngsters in Brazil.

The driver’s seat moves on rails and the foot pedals are fixed – the optimum solution to reduce component complexity and weight. The module to select Drive, Neutral and Reverse is fixed to the driver’s seat and moves with it, ensuring the controls are always close at hand.  Door release mechanisms and window switches have been moved to the centre of the vehicle in a roof-mounted panel. The three-spoke steering wheel, trimmed in Alcantara® or leather, is free of buttons and switches to allow a pure focus on the sensory feedback it delivers. The grip offered with and without gloves has been optimised for track driving, as has the design of the wheel itself. Tactile, extended gear shift paddles in satin-finish visual carbon fibre, linked with a rocker switch, are fixed behind the steering wheel.

In addition to selecting the exterior colour theme for their new McLaren Senna, customers can explore the different By McLaren Designer interior alternatives that complement the Jet Black leather or Carbon Black Alcantara® and visual carbon fibre cockpit materials. Colour-coded aero blades and fender inners; an exhaust heatshield in Gloss Black, Satin Raw Metal or Dark Stealth finish; a carbon fibre or Alcantara® steering wheel and three finishes to the Ultra-Lightweight 9-Spoke forged alloy wheels are among the specification choices available at no additional cost. Well, that’s a relief!