While storied automotive marques like Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Lamborghini and Ferrari are in a perpetual race to create their fastest, most powerful road-going models to date, the Gordon Murray T.50's mission is purer: "to be the lightest, most driver-centric supercar ever."
Its designer, Gordon Murray, is the same man who conceptualized the McLaren F1, which remains one of the fastest rides money can buy, even after a quarter-century. Power comes from a a bespoke 3.9-liter V12 built by Cosworth GMA that produces 654 horses and has a 12,100 rpm redline—the highest of any naturally aspirated production vehicle.
Speaking to Car and Driver, Murray described the V12 as "probably the greatest internal-combustion engine ever fitted to a road car." The auto mag added that this not necessarily not a hyperbolic statement.
"Cosworth are so far ahead of Ferrari and other people on internal combustion now," Murray says. "Everyone else is concentrating on hybrids and EVs. It's incredibly rare for anyone to do a new engine from a clean sheet of paper these days."
The engine takes other measurable titles as the most-responsive naturally-aspirated engine (28,400 revs per second pick-up) and lightest road-going V12 (about 392 pounds), which contributes to its low 2,174 curb weight. More subjective is the claim that the engine produces the "best V12 sound ever."
"Everyone said the F1 had a fantastic exhaust, but it's not the exhaust at all—it was induction noise," Murray told C&D. "On cam timing, you've got a period when both inlet and exhaust valve are open together and you get this wonderful pulse resonating back through to the inlet—in the central driving position that's right above the driver's head."
"In the F1 I tuned the thickness of the panel to resonate from that induction sound, which was beautiful. I'm doing the same here, except this time we’re going to 12,100 rpm."
Being a true driver's car, its transmission is an Xtrac manual H-pattern six-speed—no dual clutches or computer-actuated precision shifts. The gear change motion was honed meticulously under Murray's direction, resulting in a "narrow cross gate for smooth, crisp, satisfying changes."
The cabin features a totally unique switchgear, a conventional tachometer flanked by display screens with controls for lights, wipers. Rotary controls on the left control six aerodynamic modes: Auto, High Downforce, Streamline, Braking, Test and V-Max Boost that raise's output to 690 hp.
"I would say the outcome is about as perfect as it could be in terms of the transition from my brain to the real car," Murray said of the T.50. "Standing back and looking at it, I don't think there's anything I would change, even if I had more time."
Nearly all 100 customer versions of the limited-edition Gordon Murray T.50 have been sold for just over $3 million per vehicle.