In 2009, McLaren pressed the reset button. Following a six-year interlude with Mercedes, which brought about the various variations of the Mercedes SLR-McLaren, the traditional English brand once again went its own way when building a supercar. For the first time since the legendary McLaren F1, which was produced until 1998 and was fired by a powered up BMW V12 with 618 HP.
McLaren 12C as the basis for other sports cars
The second McLaren supercar with road approval bore the name MP4-12C. Later it became known simply as the 12C. It initially had 592 HP beneath the hood. Later 616. With the McLaren 12C the Brits began a new model offensive. Following on from the convertible version came the successor, the 650S, which is now also offered as a Spider. A version intended purely for racetrack use (650S Sprint) and a toned down version (625C) were also designed.
In the meantime, with the P1 McLaren built a supercar from scratch, which tussles with the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari for the hybrid crown. At the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the Brits are now appearing with the McLaren 675LT and the racetrack version, the P1 GTR.
What unites them? All McLaren sports cars draw on the 12C construction kit. In all cars, a 3.8-litre V8 biturbo discharges its power. In all of them, a dual clutch transmission works through the seven gears. At the heart of all of them lies the same chassis - the MonoCell, a monocoque carbon chassis with a separate body. The advantage of this chassis concept: in comparison to an aluminium or steel structure, according to McLaren the MonoCell is said to be more torsion-resistant, more durable, safer and lighter.
One construction kit, one engine, one chassis - this saves on costs and facilitates the production of new sports cars or spin-offs. This, McLaren soon also hopes to peek around the corner with a new entry level model – christened internally as the P13.Four McLaren sports car series
McLaren breaks its range of sports cars down into four series. Customers can enter into the McLaren world via the "Sports Series". The price level should be around 140,000 Euros. The P13, which is said to produce around 444 HP, is still keeping its appearance and technical details under wraps. However, the McLaren Sports Series is already being intensively tested by the traditional English brand.
Positioned above the "Sports Series", McLaren groups together its 675LT, 650S Coupé and 650S Spider models, and the 625C model planned for the Asian market, within the so-called "Super Series". The top end of the model range – referred to as the "Ultimate Series" – is comprised of the McLaren P1 and its race track spin-off P1 GTR. In addition to this, there is still the "Legacy" series. Here the Brits group the 12C, 12C Spider, F1 and M6GT (produced in 1969).
M838T with several power ratings
M838T – this is what McLaren calls its biturbo drive system, which was built in collaboration with the English company Ricardo (based in Shoreham). Depending on the vehicle specification, the engineers from Woking get more power out of the V8 and enable the turbo chargers to shovel on more torque,or alternatively rein in the eight-cylinder.
In the last model version, the McLaren 12C rolled over the asphalt with 616 HP. Its successor, the 650S, should make more of a racket. New pistons, cylinder heads and outlet valve and different valve control times raise the power of the V8 biturbo by 25 to 641 HP.
The 650S is basically a modified version of the 12C. Both have a practically identical gene pool. In order to justify the additional cost of around 50,000 Euros (base price: 255,000 Euros), McLaren has fine-tuned the technology.McLaren 650S with less flab
The gearbox, chassis and bodywork have landed in the gym. The transmission from the Italian manufacturer Graziano is now said to slam into the gears more quickly. The chassis has harder suspension. To this end, the engineers designed the spring rates at the front axle to be 22 percent harder and those at the rear 37 percent.
The damper characteristics of the electronically controlled PCC chassis (Proactive Chassis Control) have been tightened. The overall result: "Within the limit range, fewer roll and pitching movements are noticeable than in the 12C", attestssport auto-Test Editor Christian Gebhardt.
The 650S, which pummels ont he drive shafts with a force of 678 Nm, carries less flab around the haunches. Thanks to increased use of carbon fibre – for example the carbon seats reduce the weight by 15 kilograms – the sports car weighs in at 1,330 kg. Thre 12C weighed 1,375 kilos.McLaren 675LT - the "Longtail" tradition lives on
The new McLaren 675LT has gone even further in shaving of unnecessary pounds. The Brits claim to have burned a hefty 100 kilograms off the sports car (dry weight 1,230 kg). In addition, McLaren are injecting an additional boost of power into the V8. As the number in the name gives away, the supercar unleashes a metric power of 675 PS (666 HP). In addition, it applies 700 Nm of torque to the crank shaft.
With the 675LT, McLaren continues the tradition of the legendary F1 GTR Longtail racing car, an F1 extended by 64.1 centimetres. The 675LT doesn't have quite so much overhang, with the measuring tape showing 3.4 centimetres.
The strongest road-approved sports car from Woking is the McLaren P1. The familiar 3.8-litre heart beats inside the supercar. However,it has been pumped up to 727 HP and 900 Nm. As if that weren't enough, a further 177 electric horses are saddled up in the P1. Altogether, McLaren's first hybrid sports car totals a system power of 904 HP.
Consistent lightweight construction keeps the weight to about 1,395 kilograms in spite of the 26-kilo electric engine and the battery cells. To put it in context: competitor, the Porsche 918 Spyder, including the Weissach Package, weighs 1,634 kilos.
Race track model: McLaren P1 GTR
However, the McLaren engineers did not only rely on light-weight carbon to save weight. In the P1 drive system – referred to as the M838TQ – the starting motor has been omitted. The electric motor that sits beneath the V8 does its job.
The technicians also modified the chassis concept for the P1. MonoCell has become MonoCage. Unlike with the monocoque of the 12C here part of the vehicle roof, including its air intake section, is also integrated. The weight of the P1 chassis: just 90 kilograms.
McLaren produced 375 P1s. All of them have already been sold. Unit price: over one million Euros. Expanding on the road-approved P1, Woking has also built a GTR for the race track. With a pimped up V8 (789 HP) and electric engine (197 HP).
In our image gallery we present the most sports cars from McLaren.