Or should the company stick to what it knows best?
Unlike a lot of other supercar manufacturers who have branched out to build more practical models, McLaren has stuck to its laurels, saying it has no plans to build an SUV. McLaren's idea for a "practical" car is the recently revealed GT, which packs a lot of trunk space for a mid-engine car but is still slightly compromised. We respect McLaren for not wanting to tarnish its brand image with an SUV, but that doesn't mean the company can't compromise by instead building a front-engined Grand Tourer.
The resulting car would likely be brilliant, but thanks to Nathan George Malinick, a transportation design student at the Art Center College of Design, no guesswork is required to see what that car would look like since he's rendered his vision for a front-engined McLaren and called it the McLaren Monaco.
Malinick calls the Monaco "a grand touring supercar" and "an incredible opportunity for McLaren to exploit a large market in the luxury supercar world." If it were to ever reach production, the Monaco would likely be a rival for cars like the Ferrari 812 Superfast and Aston Martin DBS Superleggera.
Based on the design sketches, the Monaco hasn't lost any of the trademark elements that make a McLaren great. The doors still open in an exciting manner, and even though the engine is positioned ahead of the driver, it is pushed back behind the front axle to create a front, mid-engined layout. In fact, the engine lives under the glass windshield, like on a rear, mid-engined supercar.
"This was done to immerse the driver more fully in the experience, and to show off the engine through the glass," Malinick explains. "But it's the main reason why the windshield is so exaggerated." The overall design looks great and Malinick should be in line for a great career in automotive design. Our one complaint would be a lack of family resemblance to McLaren's other models, but with a front-engined layout, that's to be expected.