McLaren V6 plug-in hybrid delayed to 2021

Jonathon Ramsey

In the middle of May, the McLaren Group began the hunt for up to $335 million to endure the downturn caused by the coronavirus, with the conglomerate ready to put every sacred asset on the block for collateral. A few days later, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt told Automotive News Europe, "This will have cost us probably two years. [In] 2020, we're going to do very little. I think it'll take us the whole of '21 to climb back [to] where we are." Even though the Woking firm had already moved to cut supply in anticipation of lower sales, a 67% sales drop in Q1 this year led to McLaren laying off 1,200 employees — a quarter of the workforce — across Automotive, Racing, and Applied Technologies divisions. Another casualty of current events is the timeline for the anticipated plug-in hybrid model reported to replace the 570S in the entry-level Sports Series tier. Chatter had suggested McLaren would debut the car this summer and begin deliveries in some markets before the year ended. But Evo magazine reports the coupe will be on the tardy list, a company spokesperson telling PistonHeads the schedule has slid back "a handful of months."

The PHEV represents a big step, being a volume model built on a brand new platform, powered by a brand new engine at the heart of a brand new powertrain. The twin-turbocharged V6 said to sit behind the cockpit inaugurates a life beyond the small-displacement V8 that has powered every McLaren Automotive product since a 3.8-liter twin-turbo unit entered service in the MP4-12C. We don't know much about the V6, but spy shots appear to show that it will rev 500 rpm higher than the V8, to 8,000 rpm, and its peak output with electrical assistance will exceed the 570 horsepower in the 570S. The plug-in hybrid component contributes an Electric driving mode to Comfort and Sport modes, the powertrain supposedly able to go 21 miles on battery power. As for looks, the compact body seems to crib from the 720 S in front, the GT in the midsection, and add a lot of cooling apertures in the rear.

The "little" that Flewitt said McLaren would do this year means focusing on the Elva roadster, 765LT, and Speedtail. A spokesperson said testing and development have resumed, and "dealers are [also] already opening for appointments." Since we're still not halfway through 2020, it's hard to imagine what anything will look like when — hell, if — the dust settles. It's good bet, though, that McLaren could need to recalibrate the two dozen or so remaining models in its Track 25 strategy that envisions 18 new models by 2025.

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