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Six new cars underway at McLaren, but no SUV

Blossoming family: McLaren’s 570S is the first of its Sports Series range and a new segment for the British marque, but it’s just the start of new products it says.

McLaren product development plan extends to 2022 with six new vehicles on the way

31 Mar 2015

MCLAREN’S development centre is working on six top-secret new models that will keep an assortment of fresh product coming from the British high-performance car-maker for the next seven years.

The company is remaining tight-lipped about the details of each new model, but possibilities include vehicles borrowing hybrid and EV technology filtered down from the P1 supercar and even a four-seater.

A blossoming range has been made possible by year-on-year profits and “unprecedented” growth since 2013, after its first volume supercar, the MP4-12C, was a global hit.

At the New York motor show overnight, McLaren unveiled its new 570S sportscar, which breaches new territory for the company, and it says the success of the Sports Series range will secure investment for more new models.

Speaking at the unveiling of the 570S, McLaren program director Mark Vinnels told media the range of at least three Sports Series models marked the arrival of more McLarens over the coming years.

“We’ve got six car programs on the go at the moment that go all the way out to 2022,” he said.

“It’s a clearly defined product plan which includes platform and engines and powertrains, as well as body-styles.

“We are working on lots of new stuff.”

While Mr Vinnels could not reveal any detail regarding the future-model strategy, when asked if one vehicle would represent a company-first four door he responded, “We’ll see”.

“Even that’s got to be justified. It’s pointless just putting two seats in the back for the sake of it.”

McLaren’s flagship P1 hyper hybrid uses a cutting-edge petrol-electric drivetrain to push the car to 100km/h from standstill in just 2.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 350km/h, but its clever power-boosting technology could find its way into more affordable future models.

“The nice thing about the P1 price-point is that it allows us to spend quite a lot of money to bring hybrid to the car,” said Mr Vinnels.

“What we won’t do is burden the car with hybrid technology that doesn’t improve the performance. We are looking at fundamental issues with weight, particularly the batteries with power and energy density.”

Mr Vinnels explained that the technologies being developed on the race-track were directly linked to advancements in its road cars, particularly the highest performance versions.

“What we are doing in racing is actually very relevant to road cars now,” he said. “If we can put 100kg [of battery] in the car and take 100kg out of the rest of the structure and deliver instant torque response, great EV range then we will do it.

“At the moment, or the next few years anyway, it’s not quite possible.

“That’s going to exponentially improve and ultimately 10 or 15 years out, definitely, there will be electric cars.

“It’s all about the battery and to a certain extent – power electronics. With Formula 1 and Formula E, all of those things are genuinely making improvements but they are still too expensive – to practically put even on a P1, but it will come.”

McLaren executive director of global sales and marketing Jolyon Nash repeated Mr Vinnels’ predictions for hybrid and electric McLaren vehicles, saying nothing had been ruled out.

“It’s probably a few years yet until we have some sort of hybrid system into cars in the Sports Series or Super Sports Series – certainly not beyond the medium term,” he said. “The hybrid technology is developing very quickly so for it to be more accessible I think it will be in the medium term.

“We’re looking always to the long term along our drivetrain possibilities, so I can’t say we are looking at it specifically but we are not ruling anything out.”

While the company is considering possibilities in different segments, McLaren aficionados will be relieved to hear, unlike other high-performance brands Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce, McLaren has no plans to produce a high-riding SUV model.

Mr Nash said he understood the segment could represent a lucrative market for prestige brands, but McLaren would not risk damaging its reputation with a model that did not fit its core values.

“I can categorically say no,” he said.

“I’m sure there are growth opportunities in the segment but that’s not McLaren.

McLaren is about high-performance sportscars.

“The promise to our customers is that we will deliver sportscars that will provide a breathtaking driving experience. That’s our full confidence and that’s what we will stick to.

“We just cannot imagine an SUV McLaren.”

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