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Smell that fresh carbon fiber? McLaren’s $1 million hybrid P1 just hit production

After a year of teasing and previews, the McLaren P1 hybrid supercar is finally heading down the production line.

McLaren began taking orders for the P1 following its unveiling as a thinly-disguised concept at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, and now the first customer cars are being assembled.

McLaren will only build 375 cars, at a rate of one per day. Each car is worked on by 61 people, who follow a 10-step assembly process.

The McLaren Production Center in Woking, England looks more like a facility that assembles NASA satellites than a car factory, which is completely appropriate for a high-tech car like the P1.

The P1, the successor to the legendary F1, features a carbon fiber chassis and a hybrid powertrain.

The car is powered by a 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 and an electric motor, which put out a combined 903 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. That power is routed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The result is 0-62 mph in under three seconds, and a claimed top speed of 217 mph.

When the P1 is at maximum attack, the hybrid system can operate like the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) used in Formula One cars; it can use the electric motor to give an extra boost of power.

Unlike the Ferrari LaFerrari, the P1 can also travel short distances on electricity alone. Mclaren says it will be able to go about six miles, at speeds up to 99 mph. That’s better than nothing, right?

With production underway, the first customers should receive their cars before the end of the year. Despite the P1’s $1 million-plus base price, we expect it will be worth the wait.

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