McLaren Sports Series Will Include At Least Six Models
The 2015 Geneva Motor Show has been quite the important event for McLaren Automotive, which had no fewer than three cars on display. Bringing three models to an auto show might be business as usual for the likes of BMW or Audi, but, for McLaren, a company that sells only two models as of March 2015, that’s quite an achievement. The P1 GTR, the 675LT and the Le Mans-winning F1 GTR made for an awesome display at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, but the event was also a great opportunity to find out more about the company’s upcoming Sports Series. With the 675LT and the P1 GTR already out in the open, the Sports Series is the next big thing from McLaren thing to keep your eye on.
Very little is known about the entry-level sports car, aside from the fact that it will compete against the Porsche 911, but as the New York Auto Show draws near, new details are surfacing. The latest batch of valuable info comes straight from McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt, who, while having a chat with Car & Driver on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show, revealed the new Sports Series will expand McLaren’s model lineup further than most of us imagined. Specifically, while the 650S spawned a coupe, a roadster, a detuned version, and a race version, the Sports Series could include six family members.
Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren Sports Series.
Six Models for McLaren’s Largest Lineage Yet
It’s not unusual for McLaren to create different body styles of a single model — we’ve seen that happen with the 12C and the 650S — but things are about to become more complex with the Sports Series. According to Flewitt, in addition to many exterior configurations, there will also be different trim levels, at least for the coupe and spider versions. They will be an the entry-level "C" variant and a more powerful "S" model.
"The C model will still be an absolutely complete car in terms of technology," Flewitt told Car & Driver, "but the S becomes almost our ideal specification—more power, more focus, and so on." Remember the detuned 650S sold in Asia as the 625C? It’s likely what McLaren is gunning for here, which already means four different models.
The fifth model will introduce a new body style, likely similar to the 650S-based 675 Long Tail, according to Flewitt. “If you think of the Super Series, we’ve got the 650S Coupe, the 650S Spider, and the 675 Long Tail," he noted, basically confirming there will be a long tail version of the new Sports Series.
A sixth model is not yet confirmed, but knowing McLaren, I have a hunch the Sports Series will also get a track-exclusive model similar to the 650S Sprint. The Sprint bridges the gap between the road-going 650S and the FIA-spec GT3 by appealing to amateur motorsport enthusiasts that spend their weekends at the track.
Lastly, Flewitt confirmed once again that the Sports Series will be priced against the Porsche 911 Turbo, which starts from $151,100 in the U.S. Given the British sports car will hit the road with more than 500 horsepower at its disposal and a carbon-fiber shell derived from that in the 650S, that’s impressive to say the least.
Why it matters
The fact that McLaren Automotive is planning to expand its presence in the sports car market is no longer a mystery, but the Sports Series is shaping up into a bigger model line than I thought it would be. And that’s a good thing, as McLaren is stepping into a completely new market with the Sports Series. While the variations offered for both the P1 and the 650S are enough to compete against the likes of Ferrari, launching a smaller sports car aimed at the mighty 911 requires a different strategy and a broader lineup. The Germans are currently offering no fewer than 21 iterations of the 911 in the United States, and while McLaren can’t (and I assume it doesn’t want to) match that, it needs at least five or six versions of the Sports Series in its showrooms. I think McLaren is headed in the right direction with its new sports car.