The Speedtail’s exterior is unlike anything else in the automotive world. Every element has been honed into the most aerodynamic shape possible. Air is channelled without interruption over, under and around the body – from the nose all the way to the innovative ailerons at the tail. While it’s an undeniably jaw-dropping aesthetic, everything speaks of the Speedtail’s extraordinary velocity.
This is a car shaped for performance. With a design that draws on the way the natural world has adapted forms to create the ultimate in stealth and speed. This is automotive design innovation on a new level. This is the Speedtail.
Purity of form. This was part of the single-minded design brief for the Speedtail. And an objective that has been brought to life… with jaw-dropping results. But every line, every curve is there for a reason. To reduce drag. And to keep the airflow attached to the vehicle. When viewed from above, the car has a distinctive teardrop shape – the most speed-efficient natural form, as seen in high velocity birds and fish. It channels air in a seamless, uninterrupted way. Seen from the side, the Speedtail’s strikingly sleek outline ends in the elongated tail. Shutlines – gaps in panels – are at an absolute minimum to prevent turbulent air over the body. Inspired by nature yet honed by the latest technology… the look of the Speedtail may be beautiful. But it is purposeful to the last millimetre.
In stunning new automotive technology, the Speedtail does away with a traditional rear wing. Instead, its trailing edge integrates controllable surface elements known as ‘ailerons’ – usually found on aircraft. These extend at high speed to provide balance and provide airbrake function. Unlike traditional hinged ailerons, however, the Speedtail’s are formed from the bodywork of the tail. There is no separate, moving element – the carbon fibre bodywork itself actually bends. This removes the need for joins or shutlines. And minimises turbulent air… with no loss of speed. Hydraulically actuated, the ailerons move the centre of pressure towards the rear, increasing downforce. The Speedtail’s active ailerons only became possible because of a relentless commitment to pushing boundaries – in both aerodynamic design and materials innovation.
Innovations abound. Another automotive first… the Speedtail has no wing mirrors. Instead, two discreet high-definition cameras glide out from the doors when ignition is activated. Being much smaller than traditional mirrors, they vastly reduce air turbulence. But they also provide a far wider field of vision for the driver via two screens within the cockpit. And are ergonomically designed to help the driver focus on the road ahead. When the cameras retract, the pure-form outline of the Speedtail is left fully undisrupted to eliminate any drag from buffered air.
Wheels create turbulence. As they spin, they push disrupted air away from the vehicle. This increases drag and ultimately slows a car down. Not so with the Speedtail. It features lightweight carbon fibre front wheel aero covers incorporated into the 20” alloys. The covers do not rotate with the wheel but stay fixed in place. This creates a flat surface that smooths airflow. It actually keeps the passing air snug to the body of the car. And guides it towards the blades on the leading edge of the dihedral doors. This smooths the airflow so the Speedtail can pass through with minimum disruption.
The aerodynamic performance of the Speedtail is down to a design philosophy that encompasses the entire car. While some elements are visually striking – such as the elongated tail and static wheel covers – others are less obvious. But their role is just as vital. The vertical duct beneath each of the car’s LED headlights is one such innovation. Tucked discreetly away, they are particularly slender. And yet they have been meticulously tapered to feed enough air into the low-temperature radiators. All while still minimising drag. Some little wins. Some big. All mount up to the most aero-efficient McLaren to date.
Contact a retailer or register your interest to be kept up to date with the latest McLaren Automotive news