McLaren’s road car division is pressing ahead at maximum pace to fill out its ranges and meet its stated aim of selling around 5000 cars per year by the middle of the decade.
First into the onslaught is the new 650S, a thoroughly upgraded version of the 12C with an additional 25bhp to provide the 650bhp referenced in its name. It comes with a dramatic new look that combines the nose of the P1 hypercar with the back of the 12C, which McLaren insists will remain in production albeit “at a more accessible price point”. By contrast the 650S will cost about £195,000 as a coupé and £215,000 in Spider form, a rise of approximately £20,000 over the current price of a 12C.
The price is more than explained by the extra power, standard carbon ceramic brakes and navigation equipment. In addition, McLaren claims improvement in downforce (up by 40 per cent at 150mph), steering feel and a reduction in the 0-62mph time of 0.1sec to 3sec precisely.
Nevertheless, the big sales jump will come courtesy of a car code-named P13. This is expected to go on sale next year and will be a direct rival for the Porsche 911 Turbo, at a cost of about £140,000. The carbon-fibre tub used by the extant 12C and 650S will be retained, as will its 3.8-litre twin turbo motor, albeit detuned to something nearer 500bhp to keep clear air between it and the 12C.
Both coupé and convertible versions are guaranteed: there is huge demand for open cars in the US and the monocoque does not include the roof, so its removal presents no significant challenge in terms of engineering or retaining structural integrity.
After the P13 will come the P15, probably in 2016. Expected to lean heavily on the technology already seen in the P1 hypercar, the P15 will become the McLaren flagship, at least so far as standard production rather than limited edition cars go.
No details of the powertrain are available, but it is believed to be another new version of the V8 boosted by a hybrid powertrain to nearly 800bhp. This provides a reason to spend what is likely to be double the money required to buy a 12C and also helps the car score bragging rights over Ferrari’s 740bhp F12 flagship.