Spec’ing an Ultimate Series car at McLaren HQ is always an event. First you arrive at your allotted time, check in with security, and wait to be cleared. It all has a very secret service feel to it. Once cleared you drive up and around the “lake” to the visitor parking behind the McLaren Technology Center. Parking is always tight and a bit overcrowded, in fact this is the only place I have ever seen even slight chaos on the McLaren Campus. One time I made the mistake of bringing the Ferrari F40 and ended up having to execute a 30 point turn to get back out. That was exercise for the week. After parking it is a short walk back to the circular glass entrance of the MTC where you are immediately met by a member of the VIP client relations team and escorted into the glass enclosed waiting lounge. Wandering around the MTC on your own is viewed with the same openness as it would be at MI6’s HQ.
Once in the waiting area, you are immediately greeted by the one of the VIP or Bespoke Sales Managers. In my case it was a gentleman who has been my main contact at McLaren going back to when I originally ordered the P1. Over the years we have become friends, and a more expensive friend is hard to find. After the formalities are over, a touch on a hidden sensor embedded into a curved wall behind you noiselessly opens the first of several concealed doors you need to go through to get into the presentation theater. It all has a very exclusive and rarefied feel to it.
Upon entering the presentation theater, you are immediately greeted by the dark grey visual carbon fibre bodied Senna that was originally shown in Geneva. While the original bright orange launch car was a bit jarring under blue lights, this visual CF bodied Senna looked stunning. It would serve as our spec’ing mannequin for the better part of the next hour. Mrs. SSO and I had already gone through some rough ideas over the weekend. We had agreed on either black or dark blue for the exterior, orange for the accents, and to keep the interior simple. It turned out to not be quite so simple as a few more options had been added to the list since the last edition of the product guide that Mrs. SSO and I were using in our discussion.
Starting with the exterior, we decided to go a bit bolder than our usual daily driver metallic black with a dark blue this time. Orange, the other color we have spec’ed twice in the past, was ruled out as soon as the launch car rolled in at the Christmas Ball. While I am a fan of blue cars in general, it’s not a color I had seriously considered on a McLaren to date. At this point though, which blue is still in question as we are still looking at both Kyanos blue and a MSO blue. Orange for the brake calibers, aero blades, and fender inners was easy and had all been pre-agreed. Likewise, the choice of dark stealth for the wheels and exhaust shield. Based on the experience with both the P1 and 720S, choosing the gorilla glass option for the door uppers and panel inserts was simple as it adds a significant amount of light and feeling of space to the interior. We also added the glass rear bulkhead option as I do find seeing what’s behind you to be helpful on occasion although I not sure in a Senna it is that relevant. The final exterior options checked were the carbon fibre end plates for the rear wing and the still under debate 24 carat gold exhaust heat shield.
The interior was a bit more straight forward in the end. After looking at different alcantara and leather color options, we settled on the jet black leather with McLaren orange perforations. The door struts will also be McLaren orange and we are still debating whether to go with leather or alcantara on the steering wheel. The former will wear better but the alcantara provides for better grip on a track. The interior trim will be galvanic grey brushed aluminum in keeping with a general stealth theme. The boxes for the infotainment system, parking cameras, track telemetry, air conditioning, six-point harnesses in black, and push to drink system all got checked.
Reflecting back, we have tried to spec a McLaren Senna that is balanced between track and road usage. The six point harnesses can be fitted as needed and the push to drink system is not something that can be retro fitted so those were straight forward choices. Air conditioning and the infotainment system are mandatory in my mind for any car that will see plenty of time on the road. The rest of the spec really comes down to personal taste. As we don’t have to lock in our build spec for a few months, this inevitably will be played with a bit more. However right now, we are just waiting to hear from McLaren on what the wallet damage will be from this spec.
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