- British supercar maker McLaren is planning a $210,000 entry-level sports car.
- The P13 will be unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show and goes on sale in fall 2015.
- McLaren intends to focus on hybrids and may even produce a full-electric car.
WOKING, England — The entry-level McLaren P13 sports car, to be unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, will go on sale in fall 2015 with a price tag of $210,000, Edmunds has learned.
The P13 — the production model will get a different name — will be much the same size as the new McLaren 650S. Like the 650S, the P13 will be a midengine two-seater and, because it uses a modified version of the pricier car's carbon-fiber body, will be similarly sized.
But according to McLaren Managing Director Mike Flewitt, it will be more practical.
"It's got to be usable, with easy ingress and egress and good storage on board," he said.
The P13 won't look vastly different from the 650S because it shares the same midengine, two-seater layout. Flewitt said that "it's difficult to style midengine cars to look different, not least for cooling reasons; side-mounted radiators dictate a lot of style."
Of its character, Flewitt said that "P13 will be a very engaging car to drive. It will be fun but safe," and its handling unintimidating.
The car will feature a detuned version of the 650S's 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8, and should accelerate from zero to 62 mph in around 4.0 seconds, about a second slower than the 650S, with a top speed of 185 mph rather than 207 mph.
In 2017, the P13 will be joined by the P15, which sits above the 650S at $500,000-600,000.
This car "is not a replacement for the P1," said Flewitt of the current McLaren flagship supercar.
Instead, the P1's follow-up "needs to be a technical step-change — it could be 10 years away," he said.
McLaren Automotive itself will have progressed in 10 years to a company making 4,000-6000 cars, Flewitt said, and "all models will be hybrids, even if some use a basic form of hybridization."
Flewitt also expects to see some engine downsizing: "We will offer two or three mainstream cars, plus some specialty models — something like the P1 or perhaps even a full-electric car."
An SUV is not on the agenda: "We have no technology or platform suitable for an SUV, and it's not what McLaren is about. Never say never, but it's not in the thoughts of the management or the shareholders. We are a sports car maker."
Right now, Flewitt's major goal is raising worldwide awareness of McLaren's road cars, so that they appear more readily on potential buyers' shopping lists.
"We're not in the same league as Ferrari or Porsche in terms of recognition for road cars, but we're still a very young company," he said. "We have only been making them for three years and we're making very good progress."
Despite the company's relative newness as a road-car maker, McLarens are selling well in the U.S., which is now the automaker's largest market. Flewitt attributes the willingness of American buyers to try something new as part of the reason for this success.
Edmunds says: McLaren has an impressively active new product program, and will shortly declare a modest profit. If its only major challenge is limited awareness of its products, that's not a bad problem to have.