We have parted ways with the McLaren P1. It was a very tough decision driven by two issues; the hybrid system and it just wasn’t getting used. The former was the key driver but the later certainly didn’t help the P1’s case. The arrival of the McLaren 675LT Spider was also a contributing factor although it probably shouldn’t have been. The 675LT Spider did have a noticeable impact on the P1’s road time.
The P1’s hybrid system is a technological marvel. The combination of gas and electric engines work in tandem to completely eliminate any noticeable turbo lag and help the P1 deliver crushing linear acceleration by seamlessly filling in the gaps in the twin turbo V8’s power curve. The P1 can also operate in full electric mode for short distances, allowing you to glide stealthy through town. The downsides to this are the extra 155 Lbs of batteries mounted directly behind the back wall of the passenger cabin and the fact that the P1 needs to be kept on a massive battery conditioner whenever it is garaged. If the batteries go dead, McLaren will happy replace them for a figure north of $70k. I know of several cases where this has happened. It’s the massive iron battery conditioner which is the weak link in this whole system though. If you have a power outage, you need to manual restart the battery conditioner when power is restored. For most owners this is probably not a major issue or concern. In my case it became a major risk factor as I travel extensively, in many instances for multiple weeks at a time, and live in an area that seems to get hit by power outages at least once every few weeks. Hence every vacation and long business trip came with a potential extra $70k surcharge.
The other major factor driving the P1’s departure was just a general lack of use. We have a family rule that cars that aren’t getting regular use get sent on to new homes. While the P1 was a phenomenal car to drive, there simply aren’t any roads near us where you could enjoy and exploit its abilities. Generally poor condition dead straight sun baked concrete highways do not bring out the best in the mighty Mac. Hence the P1 just wasn’t seeing that much road time and in several instances, it was more than a month between outings. Unlike a few other cars that we have sent north to live at our place in the mountains, because of the above nature of the batteries, this was simply not an option with the P1.
In the introduction I mentioned that the arrival of the 675LT Spider also impacted the P1’s road time. While it was not direct in terms of a “which key to grab” situation as the P1 & 675LT Spider only shared a garage for a very limited period of time, it was again battery related. As the 675LT Spider is not a hybrid requiring 24/7 adult supervision, this allowed us to leave the car in different areas in the US for use on multiple long road trips over several months. Over one six-month period we ended putting 10x the number of miles on the 675LT Spider as we did on the P1.
In the end, parting with the P1 was neither the most difficult car related divorce I have gone through, nor the easiest. We never really bonded tightly as we never really had the chance to. The relationship was hobbled from day one by location and ultimately severed by the substantial risk on the replacement cost of the batteries. Would I acquire one again if our situation and location changed, yes absolutely. During the few instances where I did get a chance to open the P1 up, it is simply the most awe inspiring car I have ever driven.
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