This McLaren is all about function over form.
It’s difficult not to appreciate the insane amount of engineering expertise that went into designing the track-focused McLaren Senna, regardless of whether one likes the polarizing design or not. Yes, the styling is controversial, but when an automaker puts function over form, you’re bound to get some oddities.
This video from Top Gear takes a close-up look at the Senna. It feels like an attempt to explain the odd design choices to those who think the car looks downright weird in hopes the haters can appreciate the finer engineering marvels sprinkled throughout the car.
Almost everything about the car is designed to achieve fractions of speed and performance over its competitors and stablemates. Take the massive active rear wing for example. Instead of being mounted on the bottom, it’s hanging from arms that wrap around to the top of the wing to keep the underside clean for better aerodynamics. Even the double-decker, one-piece diffuser at the rear is a marvel to look at it.
It’s fascinating to hear about all the little details hidden on the McLaren. This is the automaker’s first center-locking wheel ever on a car, which houses massive carbon-ceramic brakes that each take seven months to make. Inside, the seats are carbon-fiber buckets with minimal amounts of padding.
There are other little bits that are just cool. The start-stop button, race-mode selector, and handles for opening the doors are found mounted to the roof behind the windshield, just like controls in an airplane. Buttons typically found on the center console – hazard lights, gear selector, and launch control – are attached to the driver’s seat and move along with it. Inside, there’s also the folding instrument cluster from the 720S.
The other thing the Senna borrows from the 720S is the engine, which is visible from the cabin through an optional glass panel. The Senna has the same biturbo 4.0-liter V8 though McLaren increased horsepower and torque. The Senna makes 789 horsepower and 590 pound-feet (800 Newton-meters) of torque, which is 79 hp and 22 lb-ft (30 Nm) more than the 720S.
It doesn’t matter if the video isn’t enough to convince some the McLaren Senna is a well-engineered hypercar. McLaren already sold each of the 500 units it plans to produce. Hopefully, what this video can do is at least force some to appreciate the Senna’s polarizing design and engineering prowess.