What happens when the man behind the McLaren F1 decides to chuck in the go-fast nonsense and devote his considerable energies towards developing a “revolutionary” city car? You’re looking at it. Autocar caught this first image of Gordon Murray‘s three-seat T.25 testing in the UK, and from the looks of it, all the talk of this car creating a new segment wasn’t just talk. We knew it was going to be small, but my god is it ever small. And, as Autocar reports, this first image of the T.25’s near-production look shows off one of its most distinctive features:
Our exclusive photograph shows the car’s compact dimensions and reveals the revolutionary single door for the first time. It swings upwards and forwards to allow cabin access for all three occupants.
Not that the T.25 is being designed to be flashy or sporty. The single-door design is likely a result of the iStream production system, which Murray designed in parallel with the T.25. With an emphasis on efficiency and flexibility, the iStream process will be used to assemble the T.25, starting with a complete chassis, and adding pre-painted body components. Murray’s vision is for a single factory to be able to produce near-infinite variations of body styles and powertrains on a single chassis, allowing the vehicle to evolve with changing energy technologies. And part of that vision means the T.25 has to be light: under 1,400 lbs, according to Autocar.
Murray’s utopian vision of an endlessly variable, iconic city car has to start somewhere though, and this body matched to a 1.0 liter, 3-cylinder engine is going to be the point of entry. With such a light body though, Murray promises the T.25 will boast a better power-to-weight ratio than the average “two litre luxury saloon.” Whether that holds up with the full compliment of three passengers and two “large suitcases” remains to be seen, but the T.25’s appeal isn’t going to based on performance alone.
Clearly inspired by London’s infamous congestion, Murray has designed the T.25 to fit two-abreast into UK traffic lanes, theoretically reducing congestion provided enough are on the road. In fact, he says he designed it with congestion foremost in his mind; emissions benefits, he says, were almost an afterthought. And what’s more exciting, trying to drive a supercar in speed camera-crazed Britain, or wondering if the car next to you is going to stay in his half of the lane?
Murray wants to start selling T.25’s in two years, and will likely be showing variant body styles sometime next year. Meanwhile, development is already underway on the T.27 EV version, with help from a $14m grant from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board. But Murray likely won’t bring T.25s to the mass market himself: he’s hinted that he’d prefer to license iStream plants near major metropolitan centers around the world. How exactly that will pan out is still very much an open question, but the sheer ambition of the project makes it impossible to ignore. Especially from a guy of Murray’s talent. Decades after the F1 was built, it’s still a force to be reckoned with. Where could this tiny, one-door wonder end up?