McLaren has just announced what its next supercar will be and you’ll never guess it

Ladies and gentlemen, whenever McLaren announces a new car, various strata from the industry jumps for joy. Not the competition, of course, knowing how the McLarens of recent times are ready to give their rivals a rough run for their money. But even so, as soon as Woking has official details on a fresh model it’s working on, everyone spreads their antennas. This time, McLaren will step away from the usual sports car-supercar-grand tourer dance and build a speedster.

A McLaren Speedster? What is that?

McLaren's Next Supercar Takes on Rare Porsches and an Even Rarer Lamborghini
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Now, hold your horses. The model is still unnamed but McLaren has a few interesting details to share. For starters, the new car will slot between the McLaren Senna and the Speedtail in terms of price. Mind you, this is a tight bracket, since the former costs £750,000 and the latter can be had for £2.1 million. We’re thinking £1.5 million (roughly $1.8 million) would be a nice, meet-me-halfway price point. But we’ll have to wait and see about that.

McLaren also says the model is a two-seater and we know for sure that only 399 examples are to see daylight and you can bet most of them, if not all, have been already accounted for by select members for The One Percent, despite the fact that McLaren says it “will be taking expressions of interest from current customers at the Pebble Beach Concours over the course of this weekend.”

Nevertheless, the British carmaker also offers subtle hints that touch on the speedster’s nature, such as “designed more for the road than the track,” “carbon fiber construction,” and “classical roadster proportions and low-profile dihedral doors.” We’ve saved the best for last: powering the upcoming McLaren speedster will be a version of the V-8 found inside the Senna. We guess McLaren had 99 problems in developing the speedster but performance wasn’t one. Oh, and by the way, market launch should happen in late 2020.

McLaren Senna Engine Specs

Power 800 PS, 789 hp
Torque 800 Nm, 590 lb-ft
Top speed 335 km/h, 208 mph
0-100 km/h 2.8 s
Engine M840TR
Engine capacity 3,994 cc
Type 90-degree V-8
Turbo tech twin scroll, electrically-actuated turbochargers
Max RPM 8,500 rpm
Valvetrain 32 valve, DOHC, VVT

OK then, what are McLaren Speedster’s Rivals Then?

Well, we can tell you this: they’re not many. Obviously, Woking will have a peg at the Porsche 911 Speedster but also at the one-off Lamborghini Aventador J revealed back in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show. Let’s take them one at a time.

McLaren's Next Supercar Takes on Rare Porsches and an Even Rarer Lamborghini High Resolution Exterior
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The Lamborghini Aventador J took just six weeks to make the transition from a white sheet of paper to production version and was concocted mainly because Lamborghini’s Stephan Winkelmann wanted to do something for Geneva. Its beating heart is the same engine that powers the regular Aventador (6.5-liter V-12) tuned to produce 700 horsepower, enough to imprint a top speed of 186 mph. In fact, the Aventador J is so light that Lambo had to drop the top speed from 217 mph to 186 mph to get a better grasp on safety. The Aventador J sold for $2,800,000.

McLaren's Next Supercar Takes on Rare Porsches and an Even Rarer Lamborghini
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Coming up next is the more-recent 2020 Porsche 911 Speedster, which also comes closer to the ethos of its future competitor from McLaren. Porsche will build the 911 Speedster in 365 units based on the recently-replaced 991.2 911. Or course, Porsche’s experience with speedsters stretches way back, as this is the brand’s eighth such model, so it would be interesting to see how McLaren approaches the battle. For now, it look like David versus Goliath if we refer strictly to speedster, but Woking should not be underestimated.

The 911 Speedster, however, is nothing to mess with either. Thanks to a powertrain and a skeleton that have been donated by the 911 GT3, it packs 502 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque channeled to a six-speed manual transmission. Top speed is rated at 192 mph, while the 0-60 mph sprint is dispatched in 3.8 seconds. We could also give the Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster a mention here, but as its name suggests, it is a roadster and not a full-blown speedster. Nevertheless, it does pack 577 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque coming from a twin-turbo V-8 and it tops out at 197 mph, so on paper it is a worthy adversary.

Now, coming back to the Porsche 911 Speedster, it sells for $275,750, which means it will only cost of fraction of what McLaren plans to ask for its new speedster. This makes us think that McLaren is aiming for hardcore with the said speedster. After all, the Senna - which it shares the V-8 with - packs 789 horsepower, but since the speedster is bound to be a tad lighter, we’re thinking power will also go down a bit, yet not too much. Something in the region of 600-650 horsepower seems like a fair estimate for the time being.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert -
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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