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HomeClassic CarMcLaren is working on an SUV, but don’t call it that

McLaren is working on an SUV, but don’t call it that

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British supercar maker McLaren has finally confirmed it’s developing a performance SUV, even if it won’t call it that.

Speaking to US publication Road and Track, McLaren CEO Michael Leiters said the company would expand its model range, and it’s likely to include an SUV developed in part with another carmaker.

“To unlock our full potential as a company, we believe there is a second stage to enlarge and expand our lineup beyond the segment where we are today,” Mr Leiters said. 

“We have called this ‘shared performance,’ because you can share the performance with more people than you can have in a McLaren today.

“I think the smart way is with technology partnership, to find a partner and create synergies but not to lose anything which is core to McLaren and the DNA of our brand.”

Shortly after being appointed CEO almost two years ago, Mr Leiters expressed his interest in bolstering McLaren’s range with an SUV.

The executive was instrumental in Porsche’s development of the Cayenne – often referred to as the brand’s saviour – and held a senior position at Ferrari in the lead up to its introduction of the Purosangue.

Like McLaren, the Italian marque has never referred to the Purosangue SUV as such, instead calling it a ‘Ferrari Utility Vehicle’. BMW too refuses to use the general term, coining the name ‘Sport Activity Vehicle’.

While previous reports suggested McLaren’s SUV would be electric, Mr Leiters said it would likely use one of the brand’s existing engines and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivetrain.

“If we do a PHEV, we want to understand if we can use our own powertrain. To integrate our powertrain into an existing platform – that would be the ideal world,” he said.

McLaren’s Artura supercar is powered by a twin-turbo V6 mated to a plug-in hybrid system, while there’s also reportedly a V8 PHEV in development to replace the 750S.

According to Road and Track, Mr Leiters wouldn’t elaborate on which carmaker it could partner with to help develop and possibly build the SUV, however previous reports have suggested BMW was one brand on the shortlist.

BMW has experience with performance PHEV SUVs through its flagship XM, which mates a twin-turbo V8 to an electric drivetrain to be the most powerful model in its lineup.

A McLaren SUV would reportedly be closer in price to high-end rivals such as the aforementioned Purosangue and Lamborghini Urus than the BMW XM, likely giving the latter brand more of a reason to help as its own sales would be at lower risk of being cannibalised.

MORE: McLaren is working on an SUV – report
MORE: New McLaren CEO keen on adding electric SUV to range



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