Launch date: unknown.
McLaren has revealed something new at every Geneva Motor Show since the 650S in 2014. It's a reliable tradition we always look forward to. Last year was the McLaren Speedtail. This year is the McLaren 765 LT. Well, it was supposed to be but the coronavirus outbreak had other plans. Despite this year's Geneva show being canceled, CarBuzz still caught up with McLaren design chief Rob Melville and Global Sales and Marketing Director Jolyon Nash to talk supercars, styling, and what's next for the UK carmaker.
First things first: McLaren's Track25 plan is still very much on schedule. If you recall, this is a $1.66 billion investment that will see a total of 18 new models and derivatives by the year 2025. It will culminate with a P1 successor in five years' time. In terms of technology, it's impossible not to ignore electrification these days.
"We are certainly very focused on electrification," Nash said. "We said that when we announced Track25. By about 2023 or 2024 our mainstream model ranges (Sport and Super Series-ed) will be completely electrified in one form or another. Hybridization will play a major role in our product strategy."
This also brings to mind the successors to today's McLaren 570S and 720S. The latter dates back to 2015 so we expect its successor to arrive in the near future. But it's the next Super Series, the 720S replacement that interests us more. Why? Because it competes directly against the Ferrari F8 Tributo, often seen as the benchmark mid-engined, V8-powered supercar. However, there's now the Ferrari SF90 Stradale, a plug-in hybrid capable of 16 miles of all-electric range thanks to a 7.9-kWh lithium-ion battery for regenerative braking. Shouldn't that be McLaren's new target?
Indeed, and we asked Nash and Melville accordingly.
Neither could offer specific details, as can be expected, but Nash did make something very clear: "The Ferrari SF90 Stradale is too heavy for us." For reference, it has a dry weight of 3,460 pounds. Nash didn't provide a target weight for the next Super Series, but he reiterated McLaren remains determined "to build the lightest supercars on the market."
We also quizzed Melville regarding the next Super Series design.
"I understand many of the technical issues so when we go to do the first sketches we see things from an engineering point of view," he said. "Our original sketches of the 765LT were done a few years ago and although no final product ever looks 100 percent like the sketches, the 765LT is awfully close because me and my team took into account the technical elements the car would need."
The way in which the 765LT's rear end drops down allows for not only great visibility but also for heat to escape from the exhaust system. "Every design element on our cars not only tells a story but is also functional."
We also asked whether the next Super Series will bring with it a new design language. "I so want to tell you but I can't right now. All I can say is that there will be a strong family feel going through the products, including hybrids and electrics."
The Ferrari SF90 Stradale may hold the title as the benchmark mid-engined V8 hybrid supercar today, but give McLaren isn't far behind.