Recent spy shots and leaked images suggested the McLaren Sabre was on the cusp of a reveal. However, we didn't expect to see it like this. The hypercar is revealed, though the word comes to us not from McLaren, but through the automaker's Beverly Hills dealership. There's still quite a bit we don't know, and it's likely to stay that way since McLaren considers the Sabre a customer-commissioned machine. More on that in a bit.
For now, here's the Sabre in all its winged glory and the surprises extend beyond the unorthodox reveal. Rumours pointed to the Sabre wielding a hybrid powertrain packing over 1,000 bhp, but that's not the case. It's pure internal-combustion, using a twin-turbocharged V8 that we assume is the familiar 4.0-litre mill. The press release doesn't offer specifics on the engine, other than it produces 824 bhp (614 kilowatts) and 590 pound-feet (800 Newton-metres) of torque.
Gallery: 2021 McLaren Sabre
It's the most powerful non-hybrid V8 to ever come from McLaren, and it sends the Sabre to a top speed of 218 mph. Incidentally, that makes the Sabre the fastest McLaren two-seater to ever come from Woking, excluding the Speedtail or F1, lest you forget those cars have three seats. Yes, it's a technicality, but the Sabre is still seriously fast.
It's also seriously exclusive. A product of the automaker's MSO group, there are just 15 planned for production. Furthermore, the car is designed exclusively for the US market with McLaren Beverly Hills stating its specific US focus for federal standards negates the car being offered globally. Sorry rest of the world, but if it's any consolation, the first customer car has already been delivered by – you guessed it – McLaren Beverly Hills.
McLaren did provide Motor1.com with an official statement regarding the Sabre, but sadly it doesn't offer more insight into the hypercar.
"McLaren Sabre by MSO is a customer-commissioned hypercar produced by McLaren Special Operations, the bespoke division of McLaren Automotive. There are just 15 examples, all designed for the US market and homologated to federal legislation.
Developed according to the MSO bespoke commission process, which sees designers and engineers at McLaren Special Operations working in close partnership with individual customers, each McLaren Sabre by MSO is unique.
The first McLaren Sabre by MSO is now in the hands of its owner in the United States and the remaining deliveries will take place in the coming months.
Reflecting the ultra-exclusive nature of MSO bespoke commissions, McLaren does not disclose detail of individual cars, the level of information publicly available being determined by customers."
It's unclear if all 15 are spoken for, and how much they cost. We will go out on a limb and simply say they're very expensive, and with just a handful being made, this could be the only time you see it.
McLaren Beverly Hills delivers first example of McLaren Sabre – A bespoke hypercar driven by customer dreams
Exclusive McLaren Sabre by MSO hypercar showcases bespoke capabilities of McLaren Special Operations
Only 15 examples, each developed in close partnership with US customers
Today the McLaren Sabre, an exclusive new McLaren Special Operations (MSO) bespoke commission hypercar, makes its public debut. McLaren Beverly Hills will hand over the keys to the first of 15 customers to take delivery of the Sabre, with each customer having participated in the development process.
The McLaren Sabre is designed and homologated exclusively for the US market, stretching design, engineering and aerodynamic conventions to new limits.
Boasting the most powerful non-hybrid McLaren twin-turbo V8 engine to date, the Sabre has 824bhp and 590lb-ft of torque. A maximum speed of 218 mph makes it the fastest-ever two-seater McLaren.
The McLaren Sabre by MSO is the co-creation of its customers and McLaren Special Operations designers and engineers. There are just 15 examples, each tailored to exacting standards of personalization and – because the car has been homologated solely to US federal standards -featuring ideas and innovations that global homologation would not permit.
Earlier in the Fall, Sabre customers enjoyed a private test drive of a prototype version of their new car on track in Partnership with O’Gara Motorsport and McLaren Beverly Hills – but they have already experienced an immersive journey to get this far.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have been involved with a number of very special cars and I’ve never seen a manufacturer give clients the level of access that McLaren Special Operations has provided for the Sabre,” commented Parris Mullins, Motorsport Director for O’Gara Motorsport
The Bespoke Commission customer experience includes a close working relationship with the MSO development team of designers, engineers and test drivers to ensure that the finished car would exactly match their desired and personalized concept.
“Everything from visiting the ‘skunkworks’ style design studio in the UK to flying out the actual development test mule for clients to get behind the wheel of and drive at a private track –these just aren’t things you typically get access to,” said Mullins.
The build process culminated with a highly exclusive and secret track day* for customers, held at the O’Gara facility inside the Thermal Club Private Race Track. Each owner was allowed to drive a development car multiple times throughout the day, while being coached from the right seat.
After returning from the drive, owners were sat down in a private room to give direct feedback via video chat to the design and engineering team back in Woking.
“We were extremely pleased with how the event went and were honored to support such an integral part of the customer journey for the Sabre,” said O’Gara Motorsport director, Parris Mullins. “And today we are thrilled to hand over the first McLaren Sabre to its new owner - this time, not just a client, more a customer who has been in part collaborator, designer and factory test driver as their dream came to reality”