McLaren has announced its most accessible model yet is to be launched later this year. Originally codenamed the P13, it has now been officially titled the Sports Series. The first of the new models will begin to emerge from Woking once the full run of 375 units of the P1 hypercar has been completed and factory capacity is freed up, with deliveries expected to start reaching customers’ driveways towards the end of this year.
Not only has McLaren caused Porsche some sleepless nights over the hypercar battle between the P1 and the 918, they are now going after their bread and butter 911 market. If the McLaren is as good as, or better, than the best offerings from more run of mill brands, then surely buyers are likely to flock to a top end brand synonymous with exclusive supercars and hypercars? As well as toe-to-toeing with a 911, the Sports Series will also face competition from the likes of the Mercedes AMG GT, the new Honda NSX, Audi R8 and the Aston Martin Vantage.
It is expected to occupy a very similar footprint to the 650S and even from the teaser photo we can see it is likely to share a lot of design DNA although McLaren says it won’t share any panels with current models. The key difference between the two McLaren offerings is expected to be greater of use of aluminium rather carbon fibre body panels, due to cost reasons. However, both are expected to share the acclaimed carbon fibre monocell tub, which will still cause substantial weight savings when compared to the full metal structures of its rivals.
Under the bonnet, expect to find McLaren’s familiar 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine coupled to the existing seven-speed paddleshift dual-clutch gearbox. Power output is expected to be in the region of 450-500bhp, which will prove highly prolific when weight saving from the carbon fibre tub is taken into consideration. This should ensure a sub four second 0-60mph sprint.
Prices are expected to be in the region of £130,000, around a third less than the next rung up the McLaren ladder. The new model completes the plan for a three tier model range comprising an entry level sports car (the new Sports Series), a mid range super car (the 650S) and a hypercar (the P1), with combined factory output of around 4,000 units per annum.
The new model is due to be unveiled in New York in April. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel and put it through its paces.