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McLaren Unleashes P1 “Ultimate Supercar”

A spiritual successor to the original McLaren F1.

by on Sep.28, 2012

McLaren is keeping key details close to the vest, for now, but confirms the P1 will go on sale by spring 2013.

McLaren is billing the new P1 as the “ultimate supercar,” a claim the folks from Ferrari and Lamborghini might protest. But it’s the closest we’ve yet seen to the legendary McLaren F1 of more than a decade past – and its rollout at the Paris Motor Show generated more excitement than just about any other introduction at the biennial show.

Since its founding as a race team, McLaren has never been anything but ambitious – and its success on the Formula One track is proof positive of its capabilities, underscored Chairman Ron Dennis, who declared, “”The McLaren P1 will be the result of 50 years of racing and road car heritage,” during the well-attended unveiling at the Mondial de l’Automobile.

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Like rival British sports carmaker Lotus, McLaren has laid out an ambitious target – in this case, rolling out a new model every year.  In McLaren’s case, it’s delivering.  The P1 will be its third new offering starting with the MP4-12C and the newer convertible version of that 2-seat supercar.


McLaren Reveals One-Off X1, Spider 12C – and Hints at More to Come

F1 successor reportedly planned for Paris.

by on Aug.21, 2012

The controversial McLaren X1.

For such a little company, McLaren has a lot going on.  The supercar company is making good on its promise to roll out at least one new model annually, with its second offering debuting at the Pebble Beach Concours and a third set to be revealed at the Paris Motor Show next month.

The annual Pebble Beach even actually saw two new products from British-based McLaren, if you include the one-off X1 model produced for a secretive client.  The maker also rolled out its 12C Spider, the convertible version of the MP4-12C coupe that went on sale earlier this year.

But the real question is what’s to come next month, and if industry sources are to be trusted, it will likely mean the introduction of a formal successor to McLaren’s legendary F1 supercar, a 3-seater that marked the first serious use of carbon fiber in a street car.  Super-strong and ultra-light, it is now the material of choice for McLaren – while other makers struggle to expand its use.

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“This is going to be an incredibly important year for us,” Tony Sheriff, McLaren’s managing director, tells  Officially, he won’t discuss the next model, nor even confirm it is scheduled for a Paris debut.  But he then hints that “It’ll be expensive.”

McLaren's one-off X1 shares the scissor doors but not much else with the original Coupe.

The F1 was, at its time, the world’s most expensive car, at more than $1 million.  The Bugatti Veyron now holds that honor, at around $1.4 million.  So, it’s anyone’s guess what McLaren will be targeting.

One thing is certain, the next-gen McLaren F1 will have to deliver some eye-popping numbers.  Today’s top supercars are pushing up and even beyond the 1,000-horsepower mark and delivering 0 to 60 times of well under 3 seconds, with top speeds that blow through the 200 mph mark without breathing hard.

The new McLaren 12C Spider comes in at only 616 hp – which is still a 25 hp bump from the earlier MP4-12C Coupe.  (It also gets some more subtle improvements, such as twin A/C modes.) The new Retractable Hard Top, or RHT, folds away in a matter of seconds.

But coupe and convertible have some key things in common, notable the use of a carbon-fiber monocell chassis that is critical to their light weight and rigidity.

The McLaren 12C Spider gets its Pebble Beach premier.

In fact, noted Sheriff, “Most companies take a coupe and cut the top off – losing rigidity in the process, which they have to spend money and mass on to get back.  But we started by developing the Spider and then turned it into a Coupe.”

That strategy means the Spider adds only a minimal amount of mass to the Coupe’s already segment-leading weight.

Production starts in November and U.S. customers can expect to start taking delivery by January, with the base price for the McLaren Spider set at $265,750 plus $2,500 for delivery.

No price has been revealed for the X1, but then again, no one else will be able to order one. The distinctively polarizing supercar is the first to roll out of Special Operations unit which will oversee bespoke cars.

It took 2.5 years to develop the vehicle for the “anonymous car enthusiast,” in McLaren’s words, who ordered it.  The design alone was an 18-month project for McLaren’s Hong Yeo.  He reportedly incorporated elements of such classic luxury cars as a 1939 Mercede-Benz 540K, as well as the Citroen SM and even an Airstream trailer.

Like the new 12C Spider, it will be powered by McLaren’s 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8.

The X1 now will return to McLaren HQ in Woking, Surrey, England for a final checkout before being delivered to an unspecified market.

First Look: 2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider

Second entry goes al fresco.

by on Jul.11, 2012

McLaren will add a hardtop convertible version of its MP4-12C supercar.

McLaren is going topless.  The British maker, which recently returned to the consumer automotive market, is getting ready to reveal the al fresco version of its 200 mph MP4-12C supercar.

Best known for its staggeringly successful racing program, the marque will literally pull the covers off the McLaren 12C Spider at next month’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  But we’ve got a few early images to share with readers.

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The Spider is the second in what McLaren promises to be a series of new supercars it hopes to roll out at a pace of roughly one a year for the foreseeable future, Managing Director Antony Sheriff told earlier this year.