Due for its big debut at the Geneva Motor Show, the McLaren Senna has been designed, engineered and developed to be the ultimate road-legal McLaren track car. With 800PS (789bhp) and 800Nm from its 4.0-lit34, twin-turbocharged V8 and the ability to generate a staggering 800kg of downforce, the 1,198kg McLaren Senna delivers the purest possible connection between driver and car.
Performance in the name of Senna
The McLaren Senna can cover 0–100km/h in 2.8 seconds; 0-200km/h (124 mph) is achieved in just 6.8 seconds and a standing quarter-mile (402m) in only 9.9 seconds. Additionally, the McLaren Senna combines low vehicle weight, extreme power, aerodynamic excellence and a revolutionary, active suspension system to deliver the most responsive and engaging road car experience to date from the British luxury sportscar and supercar maker.
McLaren Senna: If looks could kill
The visual impact of the car is the equal of its savage performance. Organic shapes have given way to an aggressive design language that is ruthless in bending and guiding airflow to meet aerodynamic requirements and the strongest expression yet of McLaren’s ‘form follows function’ philosophy. Functional intake or vent are some of the highlights, as well as front splitter; active aero blades, secondary fixed aero blades and slot-gaps located between the headlights and daytime running lights.
The design of the rear of the car was born entirely from aerodynamic and cooling requirements, prominent ‘gurney flaps’ ahead of a succession of stepped louvres directing air away from the rear deck and down the sides of the body. Meantime, the louvres ensures that airflow does not impact rear wing efficiency.
Unique slash-cut exhausts make a similar airflow contribution, their positioning and angle negating any disturbance to the wing or rear diffuser. The exhaust pipes exit through the lowest rear deck (measured at the trailing edge) of any McLaren road car, a full 18cm lower than the McLaren Super Series. In contrast to the ultra-low rear deck, the hydraulically-operated, double-element carbon fiber rear wing is noticeably high and constantly adjusts to optimise downforce and maintain ideal aerodynamic balance. Completing the rear is the double diffuser, crafted from a single piece of carbon fiber.
Inside, the race cockpit takes on carbon fiber and Alcantara materials, reflecting the stripped-back, functional nature of the McLaren Senna. The dashboard, doors and visible elements of the Monocage III are all in exposed carbon fiber. Alcantara (or leather if preferred) covers the side airbags and the lack of further interior trim saves weight and reveals the construction of the dihedral doors. Even the door gas struts, which can be color-matched to the brake calipers and front active aero blades, are exposed to save vital grammes.
The inherent strength of Monocage III chassis allows for remarkably slim roof pillars that ensure excellent views through the deep, wide windscreen and across the front fenders.
Various interior highlights include driver seat on rails; fixed foot pedals; a module to select Drive, Neutral and Reverse; a three-spoke steering in Alcantara or leather; tactile gear shift paddles in satin-finish visual carbon fiber; McLaren Folding Driver Display and the central infotainment screen; ‘floating’ central infotainment screen; edge-to-edge glass screen integrates the Active Dynamics Panel and an 8-inch display; and a range of luxury and convenience features (no-cost options). Additionally, McLaren has collaborated with Bowers & Wilkins to create an audio system specifically designed for the McLaren Senna, the optional, ultra-lightweight 7-speaker audio system weighing just 7.32kg.
M840TR engine and transmission
The 4.0-liter powerplant delivers the power and torque: 800PS (789bhp) peak power comes at 7,250rpm and 700Nm from just 3,000rpm, with peak torque of 800Nm available from 5,500-6,700rpm.
The unique Inconel and titanium exhaust is another key element of the high-performance powertrain. Tightly packaged and engineered to reduce weight, the exhaust uses either a twin-exit or triple-exit active system depending on market requirements. The sound from the exhaust is loud and sharp, singing like a motorcycle race engine in its ferocity and quite different to other McLarens. The intense crescendo encourages the driver to use high rpms, the volume increasing with 10dB for every 2,000rpm, climbing right through to the engine’s rev limit.
A dual-clutch, seamless-shift, seven-speed gearbox delivers power to the rear wheels. The default transmission mode is fully automatic, but a McLaren Senna driver can select full manual control of gear shifts via the Active Dynamics Panel located within the centrally-mounted screen and change gear using elongated, carbon fiber paddles mounted on a rocker behind the steering.
The top speed of the McLaren Senna is not limited in Race mode, but above 250km/h (155mph) the aero blades and rear wing are actively trimmed to preserve peak downforce levels, which would otherwise continue to increase with speed and impart excessive load on the suspension and tyres. A driver can adjust handling parameters using the Active Dynamics Panel to access Comfort, Sport and Track modes; Race mode is selected via a button in the roof-mounted panel.
Due to its extreme performance, the McLaren Senna features bespoke tyres developed in conjunction with McLaren technical partner, Pirelli. The Pirelli P ZERO Trofeo R tyres (245/35 ZR19 at the front and 315/30 ZR20 at the rear) are designed for dry race tracks but are also approved for road use.
The braking system is the most advanced ever fitted to a McLaren road car. Each CCM-R carbon ceramic brake disc takes seven months to create and has cooling vanes machined into the disc, rather than moulded. The Formula 1-inspired front calipers are a super-stiff monobloc design to maintain pedal feel and feature six ventilated pistons to reduce temperatures.
Five ‘By McLaren’ specifications have been created by McLaren designers as those that best showcase the McLaren Senna. Stealth Cosmos black, Trophy Kyanos blue, Trophy Mira orange, Vision Pure white and Vision Victory grey exterior paint is complemented in each specification by front aero blades, front fender inners, brake calipers, door gas struts and seat perforation in a contrasting color. A further 18 exterior paint colors can be specified at no additional cost, with 16 more paint options available from the MSO Defined palette offered by McLaren Special Operations. In addition to selecting the exterior color theme for their new McLaren Senna, customers can explore the different By McLaren Designer interior alternatives that complement the Jet Black leather or Carbon Black Alcantara and visual carbon fiber cockpit materials. Color-coded aero blades and fender inners; an exhaust heatshield in Gloss Black, Satin Raw Metal or Dark Stealth finish; a carbon fiber or Alcantara steering and three finishes to the Ultra-Lightweight 9-Spoke forged alloy wheels are among the specification choices available at no additional cost.
The McLaren Senna is priced at 750,000 pounds. Just 500 will be built, each hand-assembled in a 300-hour process at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey, England.