McLaren’s spiritual successor to the iconic F1 could debut in 2018

As a successful race car builder since the 1960s, McLaren’s decision to launch its first road-legal car in the early 1990s made a huge impact on the British firm. Although the F1 was its sole vehicle for many years, and the SLR and then the MP4-12C stood as McLaren’s only offerings during their tenure, 2013 brought both the 650S and the P1. For the very first time, the Brits had two cars in dealerships. A couple of years later and the Super Series expanded to include more versions, while the more affordable Sports Series arrived to complete a trio of nameplates. Come 2017 and McLaren launched the Senna, a successor to the P1. But contrary to spy shots and rumors, the Senna doesn’t have a three-seat layout like the F1, which means that McLaren may be working on another flagship vehicle as we speak.

Okay, it may sound a bit confusing, so let me explain. When word got out of a successor to the P1, reports talked about a car codenamed the P15. It was supposed to be a more radical version of the P1 with a more powerful hybrid drivetrain. Later on, reports started talking about the BP23, also known as the Hyper-GT, a supercar with a three-seat layout with the driver in the middle, just like the F1. With no confirmation that McLaren was actually working on two different cars, the successor to the P1 was eventually believed to be the BP23. Now that the Senna is official, it’s pretty obvious that McLaren had different plans and will launch a new supercar soon. Whether it will hit the market alongside the Senna or go into production after the current model is discontinued remains unclear, but it will most definitely have the three-seat layout and a hybrid drivetrain.

The latter is more likely now that the Senna arrived as a gasoline-only model. McLaren said that half of its models will go hybrid by 2022 and the project should include the flagship models as the Sports Series line needs to remain affordable, thus use V-8 power only. But let’s find out more about the BP23 in the speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren P15

  • 2019 McLaren BP23
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8(Est.)
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    789 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    650 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    3.8 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    2.6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    220 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    € 400000
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Spy Shots

October 5, 2017 - McLaren P15 caught testing in the wild

2019 McLaren BP23
- image 736316
2019 McLaren BP23
- image 736323

Exterior

  • Teaser photo shows extreme design
  • Organic features combined with sharp lines
  • Unique styling
  • Canopy-like cockpit
  • Carbon-fiber body
  • Adjustable aero elements
2019 McLaren BP23
- image 736313
McLaren's teaser shows a pointy nose, flared wheel arches, and a fighter jet-style canopy

The design of the P23 is a complete mystery at this point. Although McLaren did release a teaser photo showing the figure of a car seen from above, it’s far from revealing. All we can draw from it is that it will have a pointy nose, flared wheel arches, a fighter jet-style canopy, and an aerodynamically shaped engine hood. It’s not much, and even though I’m tempted to say that the new 720S could be used as inspiration, McLaren will probably go with a unique design. As you may remember, the P1 inspired both the 650S and the 570S, so this range-topping supercar will probably introduce a brand-new design language rather than borrow from an existing model. Which makes a lot of sense given that the Senna is also unique.

Meet the 2019 McLaren Senna – Track-Going Evil With a Hunger For the Road Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 752204
All other 499 examples
were priced at £750,000 or just over $1 million

While I can’t go into specifics without any design direction to cling on, and the Senna isn’t really an option, I think it’s safe to say that the BP23 will boast a wild design. In addition to the sleek, maybe Le Mans-like styling, the supercar should also sport a number of innovative aerodynamic devices. McLaren has launched quite a few features like this on its recent vehicles, including the radical Senna and I’m sure that the BP23 will get its fair share of spectacular and advanced aero elements. Of course, the body will be made almost entirely of carbon-fiber, so look for a bare carbon option in addition to the regular color palette.

2019 McLaren BP23
- image 724836
I think it’s safe to say that the BP23 will boast a wild design

Autocar, claiming to have accurate renderings of the vehicle, described the BP23’s (back when it thought it was the P15) styling as "brutal" and says that the car is said to be the "ultimate distillation of form following function." The outlet’s rendering indeed shows a brutal design, but there is no proof that that what we see here is based on the real deal. As far as I know, the BP23 has yet to be unveiled to customers and the car has been a well-kept secret until now. But yeah, much like in the rendering, look for a massive diffuser and a huge rear wing with all sorts of adjustable elements.

I know it seems rather difficult to bring out a car that’s more aggressive and radical than the Senna, but if there’s one automaker than could do it, it’s definitely McLaren!

The TopSpeed Rendering

2019 McLaren BP23 Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exterior
- image 725713
We kept some familiar McLaren features, starting with the swoopy beltline

In creating this rendering, our artist took all the details above and combined them into a virtual design that we think is pretty close to what the supercar will look like. As you can see, we kept some familiar McLaren features, starting with the swoopy beltline that goes high above the front wheels, then descends above the doors, only to ascend again toward the rear fascia. We also kept the trademark side intake with the black detailing on the doors.

The front fascia combines some familiar features, like the organic trunk lid and boomerang-shaped headlamps with a huge grille fitted with active aerodynamic elements and thin LED stripes for daytime running lights. Granted, the boomerang lights might not be a thing now that the Senna came out with different details up front, but the design was conceived long before the new flagship was unveiled.

2019 McLaren BP23
- image 736318
The canopy-style cabin is inspired by Le Mans prototype cars

The canopy-style cabin is inspired by Le Mans prototype cars and it’s more aggressive than anything else seen on a McLaren so far. The British firm will probably offer two roof options: a standard carbon-fiber top and a full-glass option for those who want to enjoy natural lighting during the day.

In case you’re wondering why this extreme supercar doesn’t have a rear wing, I think that the aerodynamic element will sit flush on the rear decklid when not use. When the car goes into track mode, the big wing will move away from the body to enhance aerodynamics and improve cornering. Also, it will tilt forward during breaking. Based on the latest aero features unveiled by McLaren on the Senna, the BP23 could get a two-tier wing and a complex retracting system. Of course, there’s also the possibility that McLaren will also build a track-only version with a fixed wing.

720S-based Mule

  • Prototype based on 720S
  • Wider body
  • Revised air vents
  • New side mirrors
2018 McLaren 720S High Resolution Exterior
- image 708573
The British firm is already testing the upcoming hypercar in the wild using a prototype based on the 720S

While no one outside McLaren has seen the PB23 yet, the British firm is already testing the upcoming hypercar in the wild using a prototype based on the 720S. McLaren has already released photos of the car on social media, and our paparazzi spotted it on public roads recently.

But, how do we know this is a test mule for the upcoming PB23 and not just a new version of the 720S? For starters, it has a three-seat layout with the driver seat placed in the middle. But that’s something we will discuss in the next section. Second, while it may seem identical to the standard 720S on the outside, this prototype is actually different.

Two new features stand out, starting with the side mirrors, which are significantly wider and placed in different positions. Then there’s the wider body. The latter is quite obvious in McLaren’s very own photo, which shows a wider center section and rear haunches. What’s more, the intakes carved into the upper doors and the rear fenders are much larger than on the standard 720S. This could very well mean that McLaren is already testing a new drivetrain.

Interior

  • Three-seat layout
  • Centered driver seat
  • Race-inspired cabin
  • Carbon-fiber everything
  • Lightweight seats
  • Rotating instrument cluster
2019 McLaren BP23 Interior
- image 734785
The three-seat layout is borrowed from the iconic McLaren F1, which had a driver’s seat in the center

The interior of the BP23 was an even bigger mystery up until now, but McLaren’s recent activity on social media confirmed the old rumors that McLaren is planning a supercar with a three-seat configuration. This layout is borrowed from the iconic McLaren F1, which had a driver’s seat in the center and two passenger seats on each side, but placed toward the back in the cockpit.

1993 McLaren F1 High Resolution Interior
- image 674545

Note: McLaren F1 pictured here.

An identical configuration is being tested in the 720S mule, but footage suggests that the cabin design is far from finalized. The dashboard appears to have been designed for a full-fledged race car, with the steering wheel flanked by an array of buttons and switches. The configuration is a bit rough though, and it feels as if the cockpit should get a more welcoming appearance once all the features are installed. On top of the dash sits a flat instrument cluster that’s similar to the Folding Drive Display in the 720S and the Senna. It’s very likely that it will be used in the production model, as the slim display mode would come in handy at the race track by minimizing distractions.

It’s also safe to assume that the BP23 will be heavily oriented toward track performance

Another interesting feature seen in the prototype are the large displays hanging from the roof at each corner of the windshield. These are used to display images from outside the car, but the photos suggest they show what the driver can already see in the side mirrors. So whether these are actual production parts or just a monitoring system for track testing is still a mystery.

Much like in the F1, the driver seat of the BP23 will be custom fitted to the specifications desired by the customer for optimal fit and comfort. So regardless of height and weight, all buyers will feel comfortable behind the steering wheel. All three seats will most likely be made of carbon-fiber.

It’s also safe to assume that the BP23 will be heavily oriented toward track performance, so it should feature a stripped out interior. Granted, it won’t be completely devoid of premium features, but don’t expect it to be as friendly for long trips as the McLaren 570GT. Despite its ruggedness, it will have plenty of Alcantara and some leather, contrast stitching, and loads of exposed carbon-fiber. The infotainment screen in the center stack will be kept as small as possible for the sake of lightness and practicality.

Drivetrain

  • Hybrid drivetrain with V-8 engine
  • Likely more than 1,000 horsepower
  • EV drivetrain possible
  • Less than 2.7 seconds to 60 mph
  • At least 220 mph
2019 McLaren BP23
- image 736319
It could either use a beefed-up version of the 4.0-liter V-8 or a brand-new V-8 engine

A while back, Autocar claimed that the upcoming supercar will use a tweaked version of the company’s acclaimed twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8. The engine was reportedly rated at 789 horsepower, a 72-horsepower increase over the P1. The source also said that even though it will be less powerful, the supercar will have a better power-to-weight ratio, due to a curb weight of less than 1,300 kg (2866 pounds). These figures proved to be true, but for the Senna, which cranks out 789 horsepower from a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 and tips the scales at only 2,641 pounds.

As a result, the Senna is expected to match, if not beat the P1’s performance figures. As a reminder, the P1 needs 2.7 seconds to hit 60 mph and 10.2 clicks to complete the quarter mile, to go with a top speed of 217 mph. The Senna could (performance ratings aren’t available as of this writing) reach 60 mph in 2.6 seconds and run the quarter mile in less than 10 ticks. Top speed should increase too, but not by much. My best guess is a new top speed of around 220 or 221 mph.

There's also the possibility that the BP23 will be an all-electric supercar

With these figures matching that of the Senna, the speculation leaves us with no info for the BP23. Of course, it makes sense for this supercar to be quicker than the P1 (and maybe even the Senna), but I’m not convinced that McLaren will use the same V-8. McLaren has already created a bigger, 4.0-liter unit for the 720S and Senna and it’s no mystery that the Brits are working on new drivetrains.

So the BP23 could either use a beefed-up version of the 4.0-liter V-8 or a brand-new V-8 engine. A V-6 isn’t out of the question either, especially if paired with two or three electric motors. Anything is possible here really and I wouldn’t be surprised if the BP23 arrives with at least 1,000 horsepower combined. In this case, the 0-to-60 mph sprint could drop below the 2.5-second mark. But I’m pretty positive that it will be a hybrid in order to take part in McLaren’s strategy for 2022, when at least 50 percent of its vehicles should be electrified.

There’s also the possibility that the BP23 will be an all-electric supercar, but that’s less likely if the vehicle arrives by 2019. McLaren is already testing an EV but said that current battery technology doesn’t favor high-performance drivetrains. While it could give its supercar a solid electric range, it needs advanced batteries that aren’t yet available in order to achieve P1-like performance on the race track. Things evolve pretty fast nowadays, though, so all we can do is wait and see what happens.

Prices

This where we also got contradictory information before the Senna’s. Whereas a report from March 2017 said that the supercar will cost around $2.5 million and spawn 106 units, Autocar quoted a price tag of around £840,000 (about $1.1 million) and a production run of 500 examples. The latter was actually for the Senna, which retails from £750,000 (around $1 million) and will hit public roads in 500 units. A $2.5 million price tag for the BP23 is definitely plausible given the hybrid drivetrain, the far more exotic look, and the extremely limited production run (identical to the F1).

Competition

Ferrari LaFerrari successor

2021 Ferrari LaFerrari Successor Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exclusive Renderings
- image 721739

Given the exclusive and track-focused nature of the BP23, there aren’t many competitors to talk about. While the Bugatti Chiron is too heavy and not so agile at the race track, the Koenigsegg Agera is no longer in production. This leaves us with the next-generation Ferrari supercar, which will succeed the already iconic LaFerrari. Although nothing more than a rumor and a rendering right now, the LaFerrari successor should sport a wild exterior design with race-inspired features and active aerodynamics. The drivetrain will most definitely feature some sort of electrification, with most hints pointing toward a gasoline V-12 paired to a few electric motors. However, it’s not out of the question for Ferrari to create an all-electric supercar. With some modern EVs good for at least 1,000 horsepower, an all-electric Prancing Horse would be more than capable of competing against the McLaren P15. And much like any Ferrari supercar, it will cost a fortune and will become available in very limited numbers. As usual, sales will be restricted to Ferrari owners that already own a handful of Maranello-made sports cars.

Read our speculative review of the Ferrari LaFerrari successor.

Conclusion

2019 McLaren BP23 Exclusive Renderings
- image 539661

Needless to say, we don’t know that much about the next-generation McLaren hypercar. The BP23 hasn’t been spotted on public roads and McLaren has managed to keep the paparazzi away, which makes matters a bit frustrating, especially with so many rumors flying. We will find more in due time, but what I can label as certain at this point is that the BP23 will be the wildest, quickest, most powerful McLaren ever built. And if that’s not exciting enough, be sure that it will be followed by a track-only GTR version.

  • Leave it
    • * Very, very expensive
    • * Sales limited to existing McLaren owners

References

McLaren P1

2014 McLaren P1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 525097

Read our full review on the 2014 McLaren P1

McLaren F1

1993 McLaren F1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 674548

Read our full review on the 1993 McLaren F1

McLaren 720S

2018 McLaren 720S High Resolution Exterior
- image 708563

Read our full review on the 2017 McLaren 720S.

Update History

Updated 08/07/2017: We created a rendering for the upcoming McLaren P15 supercar. Check the exterior section for more details on it.

The most extreme road car in McLaren’s history is set to make its debut later this year – and Autocar has the full exclusive story.

Codenamed ‘P15’ and said to feature an 800PS engine with a strippedout interior and overall weight of less than 1,300kg, the new model will be the second in McLaren’s Ultimate Series range after the hybrid P1.

Designed to be the most extreme, track-ready but still road legal car in the line-up, McLaren’s engineers have reportedly been given the freedom to prioritise performance over everything else and the P15 is said to be faster on a racing circuit than any McLaren, bar the track-only P1 GTR.

At its heart is a tweaked version of McLaren’s 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 said to produce around 800PS (789bhp) – making it more powerful than the 727bhp produced by the road-going P1’s engine, but below the 903bhp peak achieved when the P1’s electric motor is also in operation.

However, the car’s weight is said to have been slashed by the use of McLaren’s latest Monocage II one-piece carbonfibre tub (which now includes the roof structure), and when combined with a race-inspired two-seater interior and no P1-style electrical powertrain, that should mean the P15 tips the scales at less than 1,300kg.

Against the 1,547kg P1, that would give the P15 an even better power-to-weight ratio, a crucial factor in achieving the goal of outstanding performance on the track. Straight-line performance is expected to match, if not beat, the P1’s figures of 0-60mph in 2.7 secs and a quarter mile time of 10.2 seconds.

The car’s brutal styling is said to be the ultimate distillation of form following function with carbon bodywork used only where it delivers a performance, rather than aesthetic, benefit. Active aerodynamics, with self-adjusting spoilers (knowledge gleaned from McLaren’s F1 experience), not to mention a huge diffuser are also expected to dominate. Autocar has produced a set of images to give a first glimpse at how the P15 could look.

The official reveal will take place later this year, restricted to existing McLaren customers and potential buyers, followed by an official public debut at March 2018’s Geneva Motor Show. A price tag of around £700,000 plus tax (£840,000 in the UK) is mooted with production set to be limited to just 500 cars.

While other McLaren models such as the 675 have spawned Longtail (LT) and Spider open-top variants, the track focused natured of the P15 has ruled these out. However, as it will be a road car, there is the potential for a track-only GTR version as McLaren did with the P1 and P1 GTR.

Autocar editor Mark Tisshaw said: “McLaren has always been relentless in the pursuit of performance – but with Aston Martin’s upcoming Valkyrie and the Mercedes-AMG Project One set to redefine the rules of the hypercar market, it has to keep ahead of the game. Hence the P15.

“There’s no doubt that this will be an incredible machine, but what McLaren has learned of late is to create a car with a broad dynamic brief. With track performance as its goal, the P15 will obviously be outrageous on a racing circuit, but with that low weight, pared-back cabin and non-hybrid powerplant, it promises to be exceptional on the road too. If it does that, it will have created arguably an even better car than the P1 - some achievement.

“These are certainly exciting times for the Woking-based firm as the P15 will also joined by a three-seat, F1-inspired hyper-GT – another story broken exclusively by Autocar. Codenamed BP23, the car will be revealed next year and arrive in 2019.”

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