For decades, there has been a stalemate in the car vs. bike wars — the most expensive cars claim higher top speeds, but much more affordable bikes have had them beat in every other performance metric. No longer, with the launch of the McLaren P1, a production car can now claim to beat any bike going, everywhere. It is simply faster than a motorcycle.
Sure, the P1 retails for a cool $1.15 million, and you can achieve 90 percent of its performance with a five-year old, $5,000 Suzuki GSX-R1000. I know we’re a motorcycle site, but as speed enthusiasts we have to appreciate what McLaren has been able to accomplish; here’s a look at how the supercar stacks up to superbikes on the track.
McLaren P1 Specs:
Power: 903 bhp
Torque: 722 lb.-ft.
Weight: 3,075 lb.
Engine: Mid-Mounted 3.8L V-8 paired with electric motor
Gas Mileage: 34 mpg combined
Top Speed: 217 mph (limited)
“Right. The P1. The next chapter in motoring. Speed like you simply would not believe.” – Jeremy Clarkson
Let’s Play With Some Numbers
The P1 has a power/weight ratio of 0.29 hp/lb. This is absolutely trashed by the Ducati 1199 Panigale R (202 hp/414 lb. curb weight), with a ratio of 0.49 hp/lb.
The P1 has a torque/weight ratio of 0.23 lb.-ft./lb., just barely off of our two-wheeled champ, the KTM 1290 Super Duke R (0.24 lb.-ft./lb.)
The Panigale R tops out at (gearing limited, RideApart-verified) 202 mph. Benefiting from the typically huge aerodynamic advantage held by cars, the P1 will hit (electronically limited) 217 mph..
So What does this translate to in acceleration? We have to beat it there, right?
Evo magazine reports the McLaren P1 has a 0-62 mph time of 2.8 seconds, the same as a BMW HP4.
It has a 0-124 mph time of 6.8 seconds, one tenth of a second faster than the HP4.
The P1 has a 0-186 mph time of 16.5 seconds (5 seconds faster than the McLaren F1), the HP4 does it in 19.1 seconds.
The McLaren P1 has a 1/4 –mile time of 9.8 seconds. The Bugatti does it in 10.5 seconds, the HP4 at 9.6 seconds.
The HP4 retails for $20,525 which means you could buy 54 of them for the price of a McLaren P1…just in case you were wondering.
So, with inferior torque-to-weight and power-to-weight numbers, how does the P1 achieve faster acceleration than the bikes? According to Car and Driver, “The 57-pound electric motor can declutch from the driveline, and produces 177 horses and effective torque of 192 lb-ft. In addition to its normal propulsion duties, it helps, McLaren says, “fill in” torque gaps after shifts while the turbos spool up and also aids faster upshifts by providing driveline drag to drop engine speed more quickly.”
This article began as a, “Look how a normal sportbike is faster than this new awesome car,” until I realized that McLaren has finally come up with a car I don’t think we could actually race (and beat) on a track. The good news is that it’s still crazy expensive and we can rest assured we’ll still be able to take on everything except purpose-built track cars for a little while longer.
I’d love to stand with you, my fellow two-wheeled brethren, and try and hate this latest attempt to exceed the kind of performance we get to experience on a daily basis but, this thing just has us beat.