Who's got the clout to take a McLaren Senna for a road trip across southern Europe? McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt? Possibly. But Top Gear definitely does! Mind you, the people there did it for science, I think.
According to IndyCar driver JR Hildebrand, the McLaren Senna is what happens when you build a race car without rules. But the Senna isn't a race car. It's a street-legal road car that just happens to lap Portugal's Estoril Circuit six seconds faster than a 720S, the mid-engined blast we named our 2018 Performance Car of the Year.
As Top Gear's Chief Tester Ollie Marriage can confirm, such pace comes with concessions on the road. For starters, all that downforce means drag, so a tank of fuel will only last around 200 miles. So, just in case the 201st mile finds you between two abandoned farm houses in The Pyrenees, you'll be wise to cary a jerry can.
Then, there's the road noise on anything but perfect tarmac. Broken concrete surfaces? Forget about it. The Senna's active hydraulic suspension will never compromise for comfort, and nor will the single-piece carbon fiber bucket seat you're strapped into. Additionally, tiny rocks will continuously make themselves known by bouncing off the wheel wells and the underbody, as you struggle to finesse its massive carbon ceramics tuned for the track.
Yet despite all the cons, Marriage argues that on the right road, the Senna shines through as an utterly capable street car, offering what feels like as much usable performance as a 675LT. That's quite a feat from a car that—like it or not—won't likely be road tripped from Estoril to Monaco in two days by its future owners, like Top Gear has.