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McLaren Bringing Three Levels Of Sports Car

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On: Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 4:07PM | By: Chris Weiss

McLaren Bringing Three Levels Of Sports Car

It was literally days after the MP4-12C was officially revealed when rumors of additional McLaren vehicles started heating up. At the time, it was speculated that the MP4-12C would be the middle of the road, while a supercar and entry level model would join it in the years to come. A new report confirms that rumor and provides some further insight into the next few years at McLaren.

In the September issue of Motor Trend, the venerable magazine talks to McLaren about the future of product expansion. The first item on the docket is a convertible version of the MP4-12C. The Internet snippet doesn't say when the car will be revealed, but based on other time frames, we're guessing it'll have to be next year.

After the MP4-12C drop-top, McLaren will be focused on the most interesting of its projects: a full-on supercar and spiritual successor to the F1. Ever since McLaren made its comeback, we've been waiting for word of an F1. The F1 was a dynamic, untouchable supercar that pretty much owned its era—it was basically the predecessor to the Bugatti Veyron in terms of speed, performance and all-out exoticness. So we're quite happy to report that McLaren should debut the supercar by early 2013.

The top-of-the-line McLaren, codenamed P12, will be built on the same carbon-fiber monocell chassis as the MP4-12C. Thanks to the addition of even more carbon fiber around the body, the car is expected to weigh roughly the same as the MP4-12C. And that's with a 5.0-liter V-8 engine worth somewhere around 800 horses.

Motor Trend's report suggests the top-end McLaren will compete with flagships like the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 and Ferrari 599 GTB successor. But past reports have indicated that it's aiming its sights even higher—at the likes of world-topping exotics like the Veyron and SSC Tuatara. Given the F1's legacy and Ron Dennis' famous calling out of the Bugatti Veyron, we'd expect that it will be making a car that can compete on this level.

If the reported figures prove correct, however, it will go about it in a different way. Unlike other world-class supercars that have upped the game to 1,000-hp +, the McLaren will use a combination of light weight and powerful motivation to get it moving. Word is it will lag behind cars like the Bugatti Veyron in 0-to-60 mph acceleration with a ~2.8 second time, but will make up for that the longer it's driving: it will beat the 0 to 200 mph time of the Veyron with a 20-second run. That's all based on rumored preliminary numbers, so take it with a grain of salt.

McLaren's supercar should also offer superior handling and drivability over other supercars. When chairman Ron Dennis famously called out the Veyron as a piece of junk, one his beefs was with the Veyron's focus on lack of track-savvy handling.

After the P12, McLaren will launch the P13, an entry level sports coupe, within about a year.


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