Images of a modified 720S in camouflage have been confirmed as the test mule for McLaren’s upcoming three-seat grand tourer, codenamed BP23 (standing for bespoke project two, three-seater). The hypercar will join the P1 in the British manufacturer’s Ultimate series of cars.
It will have a limited run of just 106 units and feature a central driving seat flanked by two passenger seats, just like the iconic McLaren F1. McLaren also claims that the production-spec BP23 will be “the fastest ever McLaren”, even though it will not be a track-focused model.
“It’s just faster - that’s all we’re saying at the minute,” said Andy Palmer, McLaren’s Ultimate Series line director. “The goal of this car is to give customers the ability to have a high level of luxury, bespoke elements on the car, high performance, high speed – a very much road-focused grand tourer.”
The three-seat model is expected to get the ubiquitous twin-turbo V8 motor with assistance from an electric powertrain. As it is expected to eclipse its siblings in terms of speed, the total output from the hybrid powertrain is expected to be more than the P1’s 916hp.
Although the BP23 is ‘bespoke project two’, our sister publication Autocar UK understands that another member of McLaren’s Ultimate Series line-up, the P15 track-focused sports car, will arrive before the BP23.
It seems like the P15 hypercaris the third car in the Ultimate Series range, but it will be on sale before the PB23 due to the hyper GT’s hybrid complexities and the number of changes required to the carbonfibre passenger cell – which Palmer will only describe as “different” to the 720S’s – to comfortably accommodate three occupants.
“The centre seat is an amazing thing,” Palmer told Autocar. “The attraction is not only the driving position, but you can take two passengers and luggage on a long journey. I’ve been sitting in the back and it’s not a bad place to be.
“Technology has moved on, particularly in carbon, and in our tub and in our monocell, and how we engineer that to accommodate three seats. It’s not without compromise, it’s not sitting in the back of a Mercedes S-Class, but nevertheless it’s not a huddled or tight space.” Palmer and his colleagues say that entry and egress to the BP23 is far easier than it was in the F1, too. Cameras might augment mirrors to increase visibility without compromising aerodynamics.