It’s almost criminal these days for supercar and hypercar manufacturers to produce cars that don’t make use of some kind of electrification. Most do so in a mild capacity, acting as a torque filler, a high-efficiency around-town drive mode, or as a means of green-tinged marketing.
But the pure internal combustion engine supercar is not dead. Not quite, anyway. McLaren Special Operations is the latest to unveil one — whipping the covers off what it calls the Sabre overnight.
Unlike other McLarens, the Sabre is limited geographically as well as in outright production numbers. It says that the Sabre is exclusively for the American market, and is made with “ideas and innovations that global homologation would not permit.” Possible translation — this doesn’t adhere to Euro 6 emissions regulations.
McLaren’s claimed figures back this up somewhat; the Sabre now representing its most powerful pure ICE vehicle to date. Its twin-turbo V8 produces 614kW of power and 800Nm of torque, and features a claimed top speed of 351km/h — the highest Vmax for a two-seater McLaren.
In terms of looks, the Sabre is likely to divide the audience somewhat — although perhaps not as much as the Senna that came before it. Squinted headlights help establish a relatively minimalist front end (somewhat unlike the Senna) before contrasting with a busy, cladded, layered, aero-gumbo down the side (like the Senna).
It all seems to work, though, particularly when you get to the rear end where the wind curtains and gauges all tuck neatly into the rear diffuser and LMP-ish rear wing. A Formula 1–inspired colour scheme helps tie it all together, too.
Not many other details have been revealed about the model just yet, with things like engine capacity, the nature of its probable carbon-fibre tub, and its interior not touched upon in the firm’s release. Don’t assume this might be because these things are still in development — McLaren has delivered its first Sabre to its first customer already, an enthusiast in Beverley Hills.