Iconic British supercar manufacturer McLaren may be riding the crest of a wave in terms of publicity with its new 675LT, but it is not resting on its laurels and is planning to replace the volume-selling 650S in 2018.
The 650S was effectively the replacement for the MP4-12C, which marked McLaren’s return to the road car world as a fully-fledged manufacturer for the first time since the all-conquering F1 in the 1990s. It has been well received by the motoring press and has carved out a reputation as a worthy rival to Ferrari’s 458. Sitting beneath the P1 in the line-up, the 650S, which is joined by the mildly detuned 625 in Asia has helped McLaren to a healthy market share.
A new entry-level sportscar that is due in 2016 will help ramp up production numbers to more than 4000 cars a year, but McLaren is already hard at work on the new car that will mark a whole new design direction for the Woking company.
The car will feature a carbon-fibre tub , a development of the 3.8-litre twin turbo powerplant that sits in the current car and a turbo car aircon. The power output will almost certainly rise beyond the 641bhp in the 650S, which gets its name from the PS rating. This will be simplicity itself to achieve, as simply raising the turbo pressure will give an added dose of power, although McLaren will almost certainly improve the engine in every respect for the new car.
Ferrari has recently introduced the 488 GTB, which gives McLaren a clear target of 666bhp and a 0-60mph time of less than 3.0s. McLaren has also promised extreme styling that could even overthrow the £1 million P1 as the company’s most extravagantly styled machine.
The MP4-12C marked a difficult birth for McLaren as problems with the Iris Sat-Nav system and other teething troubles meant the car was quietly replaced with the 650S, although technically both cars remained in the line-up.
With significantly more development time and the lessons learned from the first generation, the P14, which is the code number for the car that has yet to be officially named, is likely to be a major step forward in terms of refinement and raw speed. Considering the sheer speed of the 650S, that should make the next generation McLaren a truly intimidating proposition.