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Latest McLaren P1 Supercar Adds Hybrid Technology To V-8 Engine

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Not all cars are born equal. Some, if they're lucky, will be born as McLarens--supercars infused with technology from the race track, with one of the most famous names in motor sport.

There are--believe it or not--parallels between the disparate worlds of green vehicles and hypercars, and not just because the new McLaren P1 you see here is actually a plug-in hybrid.

Light weight is essential, allowing the engine to work as efficiently as possible. Acceleration, braking, cornering and, yes, gas mileage--all are improved with a light car.

Efficiency of the drivetrain is important too. Naturally, the P1 errs on the side of performance, but every drop of gasoline it uses is worked as hard as possible to improve performance.

The other element of this comes from the P1's hybrid drivetrain.

At the car's heart is a 3.8-liter, V-8 twin-turbocharged engine. Alone, it produces 727 bhp, over 100 horses more than the iconic McLaren F1 supercar.

Coupled to that mighty engine is a lightweight electric motor, developed my McLaren itself. Maximum output is176 horsepower, and its 192 pounds-feet of torque is delivered from zero rpm. Together, they develop 903 horsepower and 663 lb-ft of torque.

On its own, the electric motor will take you 6 miles, which McLaren says is enough for "most city journeys". Its battery, mounted underneath the car in the carbon-fiber tub, features a cooling system, and can be charged via plug. An owner living in the city could realistically do many of their journeys on electricity alone--unheard of in a traditional supercar.

As with any hybrid vehicle worth its salt, the battery can also regain energy in deceleration. An F1 racing-inspired "Drag Reduction System" (DRS) features movable wings to reduce drag at higher speeds.

We're intrigued to see the P1's EPA numbers when they eventually arrive. With those six miles of electric propulsion it won't be challenging the Chevrolet Volt, but as far as uber-powerful hypercars go, its fuel efficiency may raise a few eyebrows.

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