This one-of-15, US$5m McLaren Sabre is as mad as it looks... and for sale

By topgear, 06 August 2022

What you’re looking at is a good news / bad news situation.

The good? It’s a McLaren Sabre, which is pretty much what McLaren looks like when it’s properly let off the leash.

The bad? Not only can you not afford it, you’ll likely never even see one in real life.

At this point, it’s probably worth being a bit philosophical about the situation and accept that some things aren’t for everyone to get.

In fact, they’re really only for a select few – McLaren Special Operations built just 15 Sabres, all for customers in the US of A, and each fitted with 835hp’s worth of twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8. So, probably enough to maintain speed up a big hill without having to shift down.

If you’re wondering what exactly the Sabre is, and why it isn’t lodged in your mental Rolodex of hypercars, that could be down to the fact that a) it’s a limited-run, US-only special, and b) one of MSO’s main money-spinners is to do said limited-run specials for very rich clientele, the bulk of whom prefer to keep their light under a bushel.

So a big PR tour was never going to be on the cards.

Time for a quick refresher, then. The Sabre’s based on the bonkers McLaren Senna, but it’s hardly a case of nip, tuck and add tinsel.

More than 70 per cent of the Sabre’s parts are unique, which leaves the basic platform, drivetrain and glasshouse – likely there to avoid having to homologate an entirely new car as much as the fact that the base car is already a track-ready monster.

As you might expect, the more flowing form drastically reduces downforce from the... erm, ‘function over form’ Senna, offering just a third as much. And another 35hp. Unsurprisingly, less aero and more power result in a 350km/h top speed, making the Sabre the fastest two-seat McLaren ever.

And also one that was very much a custom creation, tailored to the whims and wants of its owner from the outset. And credit where it’s due – while the Sabre itself is about as subtle as a sucker punch, the customisation is actually quite measured, accentuating the sheer lunacy of the car rather than detracting from the ‘McLaren Senna bolted inside a Hot Wheels car’ aesthetic with lunacy of its own. Take notes, tuners.

By now, you’re probably wondering about the price. Well, consider for a second that it’s a bespoke, hand-built, limited-run McLaren that’s loosely based on a sold-out, £750,000 track-ready hypercar, just with 70 per cent new, hand-chosen parts.

Which might go some way to explaining why Mecum estimates it’ll fetch as much as $5,000,000 USD at its Monterey auction in a fortnight. That’s two weeks, for our American friends. Some things just aren’t for everyone to get.

STORY Craig Jamieson

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