As the man behind some of the most successful McLaren Formula 1 cars and the incomparable McLaren F1 supercar, Gordon Murray has designed some of the fastest cars ever. Now he’s building one of the smallest. And most radical.
The British engineer finally unveiled his T.25 City Car, the Lilliputian runabout he’s spent three years developing. Although the 74-mpg T.25 and its T.27 electric sibling recall the microcars of post-war Europe, it’s quite advanced. Beyond using a tubular steel frame, composite materials and a canopy that opens like a Lamborghini’s doors, the T.25 will use a manufacturing process said to tremendously reduce capital, space and materials.
Many leading automakers are embracing compacts and subcompacts, which could comprise one-third of the U.S. market by 2013. But to say the T.25 is tiny is to say John Isner and Nicolas Mahut can play tennis. At just a hair over 4 feet wide and just shy of 8 feet long, it’s smaller than a Smart ForTwo or Toyota iQ yet can seat three.
A car that small opens up all kinds of possibilities in a congested urban setting. Parked nose to the curb, three will fit in a single space. With a turning radius of just under 20 feet, the car will almost literally turn on a dime. And the T.25 is so narrow you could drive two abreast.