McLaren is replacing the Sports Series with a V-6 hybrid in 2021

A few years ago, McLaren announced that all of its cars will soon feature some sort of electrification. Come 2020, and it seems the British firm is set to unleash its first fully hybrid vehicle series. It will debut in the first quarter of 2021 with the first all-new McLaren platform since 2011, it will replace the Sports Series, and will switch to a new naming scheme that’s no longer based on the engine’s output in PS.

Out goes the V-8, in comes the V-6 plug-in hybrid

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As of 2020, McLaren's entire lineup is powered by a variation of its award-winning twin-turbo V-8.

Whether it’s a 3.8- or 4.0-liter unit, the V-8 motivates everything from the entry-level 540C and 570S to the 720S and the exclusive Senna, Speedtail, and Elva. The V-8 will remain in use for a couple more years, but 2021 will bring McLaren’s first V-6 engine to the street. Set to replace the current entry-level Sports Series line, the upcoming sports car will reportedly fit in a brand-new category called High-Performance Hybrid (HPH). All iterations, assuming McLaren will offer variety, will feature a twin-turbocharged V-6 mated to one or two electric motors. Details are scant, but the hybrid system is said to deliver "astonishing levels of performance and a uniquely intense driving experience."

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But how powerful will this new V-6 hybrid be? Specifics are still under wraps, but word has it total system output will exceed 600 horsepower. While the V-6 won’t be more powerful than the V-8, the electric motors’ power will put the upcoming sports car atop any version of the outgoing Sports Series lineup. As of October 2020, the 620R is the most powerful Sports Series model, rated at 612 horsepower. Likewise, torque will exceed the current 457-pound-foot rating of the range-topping model.

The electric motor will enable a substantial increase in torque, with total system output likely to surpass the 550-pound-foot mark.

Despite plans to keep the new hybrid as light as the old Sports Series, it will be a tad heavier due to the electric motors and the battery. But McLaren says the extra gear will only add 66 to 88 pounds. But this means that it should be at least as quick as the model it replaces. When it comes to range, the V-6 PHEV will be able to travel for around 20 miles on electric power only. It might not sound like a lot, but it’s a decent range for a sports car, especially when compared to the P1. The latter was capable of only six miles, while the Speedtail hybrid doesn’t even have an official range.

McLaren is switching to actual names for its cars

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Both the Sports Series and Super Series currently feature alphanumeric names based on their output in PS. The 570S, for instance, is called like that because it develops 570 PS (562 horsepower), while the 720S comes with 720 PS (710 horses) on tap. But McLaren is also using actual names on models like the Senna, Speedtail, and Elva, and it seems that the upcoming hybrid will get a normal name as well.

McLaren recently trademarked a handful of monikers, and it's safe to say that the High-Performance Hybrid model will feature one of them.

The list includes Arkon, Veo, Artura, Vion, and GTZ.

The McLaren V-6 PHEV will feature a brand-new architecture

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The upcoming V-6 hybrid will debut the company’s new platform, called the McLaren carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA). This carbon-fiber tub replaces the MonoCell, which debuted back in 2011 in the MP4-12C. The tub was updated in 2015 into the MonoCell II, being used since then across the entire lineup. Just like its predecessor, the new MCLA platform combines a carbon-fiber central structure with aluminum subframes, but it will offer greater structural integrity while also offering more body style and powertrain flexibility.

The McLaren Sports Series is being discontinued after almost six years

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Introduced in 2015 as a new entry-level lineup of sports cars, the Sports Series includes the most affordable vehicles you can buy from the British firm. The range begins with the 540C, rated at 533 horsepower, but the core model is the 570S, rated at 562 horsepower. McLaren offers both coupe and retractable hard-top models, but the lineup was expanded to include the 570GT, which offers extra trunk space above the mid-mounted engine.

In 2018, McLaren introduced the 600LT, a higher performance, longtail version of the 570S. Featuring a more aggressive and more aerodynamic body, the 600LT also features a more powerful V-8, rated at 592 horsepower. In 2020, the 620R arrived as the most hardcore version. Essentially a road-legal version of the 570S GT4 race car, the 620R comes with 612 horsepower on tap and a long list of race-spec features inside and out.

The Sports Series line also includes two racing models. There’s the 570S GT4 created for FIA GT4-spec racing and the 570S Sprint built without FIA restrictions and available to regular customers.

Source: Autocar

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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