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This is it, the new McLaren P1 supercar - unadorned, undisguised and entirely official ahead of its world debut at the Paris Motor Show 2012 next week. The company is remaining tight-lipped about the technical details but this is the car - and the production version due next year will succeed the legendary McLaren F1.
Let's start with the name: McLaren P1. Representing stark simplicity in comparison to the mouthful that is the existing McLaren MP4-12C, it's also an unabashed statement of intent. P1 is pole position, first place, the winner - and McLaren is aiming to make this car the very best in the world.
What is McLaren's aim with the new P1?
It probably won't be the outright fastest - McLaren has revealed that's one record it's not explicitly chasing, although things may change if the speed seems to be there in testing - but the P1 is intended to be the very pinnacle of driving pleasure, the most extreme and exciting vehicle on the road.
McLaren Automotive's managing director, Anthony Sheriff, said: "Our aim is not necessarily to be the fastest in absolute top speed but to be the quickest and most rewarding series production road car on a circuit. It is the true test of a supercar's all-round ability and a much more important technical statement."
He goes further: "Our goal is to make the McLaren P1 the most exciting, most capable, most technologically advanced and most dynamically accomplished supercar ever made."
Interesting reading for everyone at Ferrari, currently hard at work on the Enzo-replacing F70 that's also rumoured to be debuting in Paris; the prancing horse is surely shooting for the same thing.
How will the McLaren P1 compare to the McLaren F1?
But where does this place the P1 in the context of a company that brought the world the seminal McLaren F1 - the original hypercar, and a work of automotive art many may feel has never been bettered? Well, it certainly seems as if the firm is far from afraid of its legacy.
McLaren Automotive's executive chairman, Ron Dennis, puts it like this: "Twenty years ago we raised the supercar performance bar with the McLaren F1 and our goal with the McLaren P1 is to redefine it once again."
Fighting talk - but 'redefine' is an interesting choice of words. Perhaps it is another coded reference to the lack of emphasis on outright top speed. The 241mph McLaren F1 was the fastest production car in the world right up until the Bugatti Veyron came along.
So is there any technical info about the McLaren P1?
At this stage McLaren has released literally no technical information - though we are promised more on the day of the show, when the covers come off at 6pm.
Officially the car in these images is just a design study. The full production version will be revealed in 2013 - we'd guess Geneva in March, but it could be one of the American shows instead, the Middle East or China - and McLaren intends to have the P1 on sale within 12 months of that.
Things we can infer from previous conversations with McLaren, some dating as far back as the launch of the original MP4-12C, include the likely use of the same carbonfibre MonoCell as the 12C for the P1's main structure, and perhaps a development of McLaren's bespoke 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8, rather than an all-new engine.
How powerful is the McLaren P1?
Whatever the engine, it will produce considerably more than the 625hp currently available in the 12C coupé and Spider convertible. We would expect at least 800hp to be competitive with Ferrari, and perhaps as much as 1,000hp - possibly aided by a Formula One-derived hybrid system.
Active aerodynamics are also likely to be a key part of the new McLaren's design. Whether that's just another pop-up airbrake or something far more radical, along the lines of the Pagani Huayra, we'll just have to wait and see.
As for the looks, you can draw your own conclusions. But if the P1 appears relatively conventional from the side - an evolution of the F1's cab-forward stance, if you will - a quick glance at the front and especially the rear should be all it takes to change your mind.
Whatever you think of it, the closer image crops hint at detailing that is utterly sublime.
What will the McLaren P1 cost?
Unsurprisingly there is no word on pricing at this stage, though we'd estimate anyone with less than £250,000 to spend will be struggling, and the P1 may in fact demand double that.
All this and more in full, high-resolution-as-it-happens from the 2012 Paris Motor Show next week. Opening press day is Thursday 27 September - MSN Cars will be there in force. Stay tuned.
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