McLaren says its next P1 hypercar could be pure-electric

The days of pure petrol power are numbered

McLaren says its next P1 hypercar could be electric

KEEN MOTORISTS who wear their string-backed driving gloves with pride and lament the rise of newfangled hybrid technology in sports cars had better brace themselves: McLaren says that in a handful of years, half of the British brand’s sports cars will be powered by hybrid systems and it could produce a pure-electric successor to the P1.

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At the 2016 Geneva motor show, the company announced a £1bn investment programme that will see fifteen new models launched by 2022, including a range of hybrids, as well as a prototype for a pure-electric version of its next ‘Ultimate Series’ — which may become the successor to the P1 hypercar.

McLaren P1 cutaway image showing hybrid powertrain

Whether or not the pure-electric hypercar makes it out of a test track and into showrooms remains the subject of ongoing debate. McLaren’s boffins admit that their key challenge will be delivering electrification without ruining the essence of what makes a McLaren a McLaren.

The new hybrid system will likely be based on McLaren’s existing 3.8-litre V8 engine, but with a reduced capacity. Some models are likely to follow the P1’s lead and be plug-in hybrids, capable of running for a number of miles on electricity alone before the petrol engine is needed.

New McLaren 570GT

Also debuting in Geneva was the 570GT, a more usable version of the McLaren 570S (which is reviewed for us here by new Top Gear presenter Chris Harris).

McLaren  has introduced an extending, side-hinged rear window that opens in the style of an E-Type Jag. It reveals an extra 220-litres of boot space. Add that to the 150-litres in the nose and you have a supercar with more luggage capacity than a Ford Focus.

New McLaren 570GT

It’s also been subtly retuned to be more refined and cosseting on long journeys, but it shares the 562bhp, twin-turbo engine of the 570S. McLaren says the new model will hit 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds. Prices start at £154,000, around £10k more than the 570S.

As for its future plans, Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren, has ruled out, for now at least, building anything other than mid-engined sports cars based around a carbon fibre monocoque chassis.

Boot space in the 2016 McLaren 570GT

The fifteen new cars will therefore continue to be derived from McLaren’s series of ‘Sports’, ‘Super Sports’ and ‘Ultimate’ cars. Soon, there’ll be a convertible version of the new 570 and 540 models and, in due course, a replacement for the 650/675.

The lightweight ‘LT’ concept has proved such a success on the 675LT that it will now become a sub-brand and feature across the range – think of it as McLaren’s equivalent of the Porsche 911 GT3.
Also read: I am still slightly amazed — and thrilled — that we live in a world where a car as fast as this can be made.” Jeremy Clarkson reviews the McLaren P1 for The Sunday Times Driving.