McLaren P1 successor allegedly due in 2024 with plug-in power

McLaren’s long-awaited follow-up to the P1 hypercar will make its debut by the end of 2024, according to a recent report. Tentatively called P18, the model will inaugurate a new, lighter plug-in hybrid drivetrain built around a V8 engine and break with tradition in several key ways.

Citing anonymous inside sources, industry trade journal Automotive News Europe described the P18 as “Formula One-inspired.” Its plug-in system will develop more than 1,000 horsepower thanks in part to a new V8 engine, though the drivetrain’s layout (including the number of motors) hasn’t been revealed. The same sources revealed that the powertrain will weigh about 70% less than the system McLaren currently uses. And weight is why it won’t be fully electric.

“Customers certainly appreciate the electric elements of a hybrid powertrain, but an electric McLaren must also be lightweight and deliver on the brand’s signature driving performance — on the road and on the track. And, the technology is not there yet. It’s not simply about straight-line performance. It has to be able to deliver 10 laps of sustained performance,” product strategy director Jamie Corstorphine explained in the Automotive News Europe report.

Like the P1 (pictured), which was built from 2013 to 2015, the limited-edition P18 will be positioned as McLaren’s halo model. “McLaren is putting everything into the car,” a source told Automotive News Europe. It will reportedly feature a carbon fiber chassis with integrated seatbacks, 3D-printed parts in the suspension system, and Formula 1-inspired aerodynamic elements. Interestingly, the report claims that the P18 will be the first street-legal McLaren model not equipped with dihedral doors; it will instead receive a pair of roof-hinged gull-wing doors. 

McLaren hasn’t commented on the report, and it hasn’t publicly announced when the P1’s successor will make its debut. If the rumor is accurate, the British brand will return to the hypercar segment before its main rivals. In the 2010s, the P1 competed against the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Ferrari LaFerrari. Porsche will reportedly decide whether to build the electric Mission X concept in the coming months. Over in Maranello, Ferrari has remained tight-lipped about when it will design a follow-up to the LaFerrari, though we imagine one is coming. Spy shots taken in Italy in 2023 may have given us an early look at the model, though they depicted a heavily camouflaged early prototype.

Corstorphine also confirmed that the idea of a more spacious model remains on the table. McLaren remains one of the only luxury brands not present in the SUV segment; Ferrari has the Purosangue, Lamborghini has the Urus, and Aston Martin has the DBX. In 2014, McLaren described itself as “a sports car brand” and said it didn’t plan on entering the SUV segment. It reiterated this position in 2018 and in 2019, but the company can’t ignore two key points: SUVs and performance aren’t always mutually exclusive, and SUVs sell spectacularly well.

Automotive News Europe learned from dealer sources that a family-friendly McLaren should make its debut in 2028. “It may have four doors and four seats,” Corstorphine reportedly hinted during a meeting. Another source claims the model will be developed in-house from the ground up, so it won’t ride on a third-party architecture, and an earlier report suggests the model may not be shaped like a traditional SUV. 

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