Electric McLaren SUV Rumored To Arrive In 2026 With Carbon Fiber Tub

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McLaren is rumored to have begun development on its electric-only SUV.

When McLaren brought CEO Michael Leiters on board its admittedly sinking ship, rumors began circulating around what the British brand had sworn off for years: an SUV.

Having a luxury SUV in the range is like having a license to print money, and it doesn't make economic sense to build supercars like the McLaren Artura only.

Now, we have more details about the new McLaren SUV, including a potential 2026 debut, the car's lightweight leanings, and its power source. Car asked Leiters whether customers would be interested in a McLaren family car.

"Why shouldn't you offer something for a different purpose without negating your brand DNA? I think there are very, very good examples in the market which have shown how it works," he continues.


Leiters told Car that the crossover has to be a McLaren. That means lightweight. We heard a similar pitch from Lotus when it was building the Eletre. There may even be a carbon fiber tub in the works for this SUV, as Lieters has asked employees to conduct a study to see if McLaren can make larger carbon structures.

"[A big McLaren] has to be lightweight. And carbon fiber is one of the best ways to do lightweight," insisted Leiters. Obviously, at this point in the car's development, a carbon monocoque is a mere suggestion. This also means a slightly different approach than Lotus took with the Eletre.

"I could use batteries, but it's not a convincing product because weight is too high. [Impressive] longitudinal acceleration with battery cars is not a problem: you can have that in a limousine or an SUV with 1,000 kW [of power]," said Leiters.


Leiters says that the software pioneered by the Artura will, at least to some degree, lay the groundwork for the SUV. "With an EV, it's even more important to have a connected car, to have good control systems to use all the potential you have with electric motors," said the CEO.

This new software will likely be used to manage an AWD or 4WD system- a first from McLaren. It'll be a tough trick to manage, but the brand has plenty of technical expertise. We think that many of McLaren's traction control systems- like its Drift Control software- could be successfully adapted to an AWD platform.

As with so many other electric SUVs, you have total control over each wheel at any given time, so it'll be interesting to see how McLaren chooses to take advantage of this. "This architecture [that of the Artura's software] allows us to do these things flexibly and very quickly, independent of outside partners," said Leiters.

Charge Port McLaren

While he didn't give away any significant details, Leiters touched on design and the current predicament McLaren finds itself in. "We haven't differentiated our cars sufficiently from a visual standpoint," he said.

We'd beg to differ. To the enthusiast, it's easy to differentiate McLaren's current lineup from the rest of the pack, but some delineation between the brand's models would be appreciated.

We'll see the numbers-only naming strategy continue to fade, with names like Artura continuing to enter the lexicon. Leiters says they're simply too confusing. Car states that McLaren needs to create a more efficient production strategy for a volume-based vehicle like a crossover or SUV. They're right, and McLaren will have to find a way to scale production up. Currently, 6,000 cars a year is just too little.

2022 McLaren Artura Driving Front Angle McLaren
Source Credits: Car

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Charge Port 2022 McLaren Artura Driving Front Angle

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