No, it's still not happening and here's why.
McLaren has a history of collaborating with German carmakers on some truly awe-inspiring cars. First there was the McLaren F1 that derived its V12 engine from BMW. Next up was the Mercedes SLR McLaren. Then, a rumor hit last year claiming that the British supercar manufacturer was in talks with BMW about producing another legendary supercar, although that was determined to be false. More than a year later, BMW Blog has reignited the rumor, and we found out from McLaren if there was any truth to it.
According to a recent article by the blog, BMW and McLaren are again in talks to build a mid-engine, two-seat, twin-turbo V8 supercar. It’s not like McLaren needs another supercar in its lineup, especially given that it has plans and investment money set aside for new models, but we’re sure no BMW fan would complain about an i8 alternative that’s powered by a twin turbo V8. However, a quick phone call to McLaren’s PR team is all it took to dispel these myths again. McLaren denied any talks between the two automakers stating that "any of McLaren’s current relationships with organizations (either OEMs or the UK government) are purely academic and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future."
There is also a host of reasons why such a partnership wouldn’t make any sense. For one, neither company has much to offer the other. Both BMW and McLaren have extensive experience building fast cars. While BMW once lacked experience with carbon fiber and McLaren couldn’t build its own engines, both companies now count on the in-house production of each of these components. McLaren already knows how to make a sensible yet maniacal hybrid, is working on an engine to replace its already successful twin-turbo V8, and is preoccupied with its new platforms. On the other hand, BMW, as a large-scale automaker, has its hands tied with the industry’s next big thing: electrification.
It chose the i8 as its brand flagship because the car represents the Blue and White Roundel’s aspirations to go electric and stay relevant in the future. On the performance side of things, BMW will continue to downsize and has reportedly been working on a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 for the 8 Series to replace the 4.4-liter V8 seen in many of its current upper-trim cars. Meanwhile McLaren is enjoying its recent rise into the role of a highly respected supercar manufacturer. To us, the math just doesn’t add up and confirmation on McLaren’s part only proves our point. Still, rumors are rumors and we can’t hate on those who allow their imagination to run free. After all, a BMW McLaren supercar would be pretty damn cool in our book.