McLaren: Changing the Game One Supercar at a Time
Two of the biggest reveals of this year didn’t come from Italy, or Germany, or even the U.S. But rather, the two cars came from Britain — Surrey, to be precise. What began as a one-and-done project in 1992, complementing a historical and iconic racing team, has turned into one of the biggest forces in road car engineering in recent history. We’re talking, of course, about McLaren. The 12C
Following the heralded F1 supercar, which ended production sometime in 1998, McLaren spent years in research and development. The result of all this time well spent was the lovely MP4-12C (aka, 12C). It was a super sportscar the world had never seen.
It featured a carbon fiber chassis, a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 which returned an impressive 20+ mpg and 616 horsepower. It checked every single box on the supercar checklist. But for McLaren, it was only the beginning.
PHOTOS: See More of the 2013 McLaren MP4-12C
While the 12C made its rounds, heading out of dealerships faster than they could build them, McLaren was hard at work on another project. A hypercar.
Unlike the 12C — which was often said to be “an everyday supercar” — the P1 was the brand’s newest halo model. A spiritual successor to the F1, if you must. But unlike the F1, the P1 comes loaded with impressive new technology.
While it uses the same 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 found on the 12C, an electric hybrid system propels the engine to 903 horsepower, a 0-60 mph time of 2.8 seconds, and a return of 28 mpg. Again, unheard of in a supercar.
Nearly before it hit showrooms, the $1.15M supercar had already sold out, with only a limited number being sold to the public. But the buck didn’t stop there…
PHOTOS: See More of the 2014 McLaren P1
With the 12C on the market for nearly four years already, McLaren went back to the drawing board and thought of all the ways they could improve their already near-perfect sports car. And behold, the 650S was born.
Melding cues from the 12C and the P1, the 650S pushes out 641 horsepower from the same 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8, and manages a 60 mph run in only 3.0 seconds. So far, the 650S has received numerous amounts of praise from press and fans alike. Even its 24.2 mpg fuel economy is a notch better than that of the 12C.
PHOTOS: See More of the 2015 McLaren 650S
So what is McLaren hoping for in the (very) near future? Well, we’re expecting the arrival of a new baby McLaren, undercutting the 12C sometime soon. With a smaller engine and a few less horses, the P13 (as it’s been named internally) is set to be the 911 killer we’ve been hoping for.
The price will also be smaller, the MPG higher, and all around the whole thing just better than ever.
Last year alone, McLaren recorded its first profit since 2011. Citing the 12C's success and the P1's initial sellout, the automaker is riding on the fact that the 650S will bring in even more cash in 2014 and 2015. Along with the P13 and a new halo dubbed the P15 coming soon, McLaren's takeover doesn't look like it's slowing down anytime soon.
PHOTOS: See More of the 1993 McLaren F1