Yeah, yeah — I have a pretty good idea what you’re going to say. The Volkswagen ID. R is a no-limits, balls to the wall race car, and the McLaren 720S isn’t. Instead, you can actually buy the McLaren yourself, provided you have a spare $300,000 or so lying around, while Volkswagen’s pure-electric record smasher is a one-off. For us mere mortals, though, the hunkered down British sports car is still stupid fast. Thanks to a twin-turbocharged V-8, the folks over at Top Gear brought it along because they knew it was no slouch in a drag race.
Which is what makes it that much more embarrassing that the Volkswagen ID. R obliterated the gas-powered 720S on the track.
That’s electric for ya
On paper, it’s too easy to see why the Volkswagen ID. R race car was able to leave the McLaren in its dust. In 2018, the car set a record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. From there, it managed to destroy the Nurburgring lap record with a time of 6 minutes, 5 seconds. And now, it’s in Chris Harris’ hands, and he reacts about as you’d expect with a car that pushes the limits of what’s physically possible right now.
The Volkswagen ID. R uses a dual-motor electric setup, with a unit up front and at the rear. The motors link to two separate battery packs, giving the ID. R around 670 horsepower. That number in itself may not sound too impressive, but because it’s electric it can use all that power instantly. The McLaren, though it has 710 horsepower, just can’t do that.
And for those that lamented the day where electric cars would make something like the 720S look decidedly old-school slow, at least you there’s solace in that Volkswagen’s purpose-built race car at least makes some properly space age noises as it catapults its driver at the horizon.