A few months ago, McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt provided some insight on the future lineup at the English carmaker. He told Autocar we could expect the next generation of sportscars to feature hybrid powertrains and some measure of self-driving capability. In comments this weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Flewitt appears to expand on and clarify a few aspects from the earlier report, based on updates to the company’s business plan. First, instead of the earlier report that the Super Series and Sports Series would go all by hybrid by 2022, that won’t actually be complete until 2025.
As with the ubiquitous 3.8-liter V8, a single hybrid powertrain will come in different outputs in different models. Flewitt wouldn’t confirm whether the hybrid would be based around a V6. He did say, however, that the system is “designed… to have more differentiation than we have had out of the current package,” and performance variety would come from tweaking the electric portion of the powerplant, not the ICE. He didn’t expand on that point, but that could mean a wider range of driving characteristics within each series, or a greater power spread between series’, or both. The carmaker’s working on batteries that can do 30 minutes of track use, suggesting a potent pack with a high degree of tunability.
The 2025 deadline for hybridization could be due to a rollout of 18 new models and derivatives. Right now, McLaren makes six cars, five in the entry-tier Sports Series, the lone 720S in the Super Series; we don’t count the Senna because it’s sold out. Even overhauling the entire lineup, and counting the BP23 and the P1 successor in 2025, that still leaves ten new and offshoot models in the next seven years. Whatever they are, they’ll help McLaren reach its increased target of 6,000 sales a year by 2025.
Flewitt also took the chance to swap the word “autonomy” for “augmentation” when speaking of future driver assistance technology. In the Autocar report, the CEO said the lineup would need autonomous features “designed in for safety, legislation, and emissions.” At Goodwood, he recast the driver aids as “‘augmentation’ technology,'” the focus on helping the driver be better behind the wheel instead of taking the wheel for him. “Imagine,” said COO Jens Ludman, “having a virtual coach who could show you how to improve on a track.”