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McLaren Speedtail Owners May Have Trouble Driving It On US Roads

Government / 14 Comments

Due to some " homologation challenges" in the US market.

McLaren just pulled the wraps off its latest Ultimate Series car, the Speedtail. Though the last car in the Ultimate Series (the P1) was thought of as a spiritual F1 successor, this Speedtail shares far more with McLaren's original masterpiece. In addition to the fabled three-seat layout, the Speedtail can achieve a 250 mph top speed thanks to a hybrid drivetrain producing 1,035 combined horsepower, making it the fastest car McLaren has ever produced.

The Speedtail's limits are truly staggering, though we fear many owners will never be able to reach them. We aren't just referring to speed limits that will prevent owners from ever nearing the car's top speed. Many Speedtail owners may not be able to drive their cars at all. On the road, at least.

Like the recently revealed Ferrari SP1 and SP2, the McLaren Speedtail is not road legal in the US. This is due to a few difficulties with the car's three-seat layout, which prevented McLaren from certifying the car in the US.

We reached out to a McLaren spokesperson who told us, "Essentially there are homologation challenges with the sale of a car with a three-seat configuration in the USA, which we have made our American customers aware of. Once the production run of cars has finished and at the discretion of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it may be possible for US owners to privately import their cars into the US, using the Show or Display process."

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For those unfamiliar with the US 25-year import restrictions, there is a clause in the law, which allow collectors to import rare, non-conforming cars into the country for display purposes with a limit of 2,500 miles per year. Seeing as most Speedtail owners will likely want to keep their mileage low to keep the resale value high, this may not be such a big issue.

Essentially, having the seat in the middle means the car cannot have mandatory side airbags. The car also features side-view cameras instead of mirrors, which are also not allowed in the US. Lexus recently revealed a similar system on the ES, but it is not available outside of Japan. This is certainly bad news for any US Speedtail owner who was planning to drive their car frequently, though we doubt they'll be canceling their orders for this sublime car.