With the Paris Motor Show just over a week away, McLaren has finally released three real images of its upcoming P1 supercar. The Paris-bound car is actually a "design study"; the production McLaren P1 will be revealed next year before going on sale in late 2013. This is also the first time we learned the car's official alphanumeric name.
As we could infer from earlier teaser photos and teaser videos, the McLaren P1 is styled like an exaggerated version of the company's current MP4-12C coupe. The rounded nose features a wide and deep lower lip, with big air scoops below each headlight and in the hood. Out back, a giant central exhaust sits above a contorted black diffuser that is likely designed to improve high-speed downforce. The car's greenhouse is a narrow dome with steeply angled front and rear windshields -- don't expect much interior room for this performance-focused machine. The P1 is certainly much prettier than the weird one-off McLaren X1 that was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Ultimate performance will be the primary goal of the McLaren P1, which is designed as a modern-day version of the company's record-setting F1. The McLaren F1 debuted in 1992 with a claimed top speed in excess of 240 mph -- but the new P1 will be even better.
"Twenty years ago we raised the supercar performance bar with the McLaren F1, and our goal with the P1 is to redefine it again," company executive chairman Ron Dennis said in a statement. McLaren says the new supercar will be more powerful and more expensive than its current MP4-12C coupe and Spider.
Despite that, McLaren isn't going for an all-out top-speed record. Managing director Antony Sheriff said in a statement that the P1 would instead aim to be "the quickest and most rewarding series production road car on a circuit." He also claimed the new McLaren would be the world's "most exciting and most capable" supercar.
Earlier rumors suggested the new McLaren could have as much as 799 hp, thanks to a 5.0-liter V-8 engine, and a price tag around $650,000. That would help the British automaker position its so-called "Mega Mac" to compete with the likes of the ultra-powerful Bugatti Veyron. Other purported specifications include aluminum pushrod suspension, a carbon-fiber monocoque, active spoilers, and carbon-ceramic brakes.
For reference, McLaren's existing MP4-12C has a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 engine that produces 616 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. The 2013 MP4-12C coupe costs $241,800 (including delivery charges), while the Spider convertible is $268,250.
Check back with Automobile for full specifications and more photos once the McLaren P1 is fully revealed at the Paris Motor Show on September 27.