8 April 2005

McLaren’s new 6.3-litre V8 mid-engined supercar has been granted a surprise reprieve, despite its partner Mercedes-Benz having frozen work on the project. The new two seater, codenamed P8 and previously revealed in Autocar, is now being solely engineered by McLaren, which plans to put it into production alongside the SLR at its Woking factory. It should go on sale in 2008, possibly badged as a McLaren, although the name has yet to be decided.

Mercedes will still supply engines and components and has given the project its necessary blessing; it has a 40 per cent shareholding in McLaren.

News of the P8’s resurrection comes after confirmation from Mercedes-Benz boss Eckhard Cordes that the project had been eliminated from Mercedes’ plans as part of a wider cost-cutting program (see top story, right). McLaren is believed to be considering alternative ways to fund the project now that Mercedes has pulled out.

Autocar sources suggest that the new car, originally intended to slot between Mercedes’ SL65 AMG and SLR, could be sold through Mercedes’ SLR showrooms. Initial estimates put its price at around £150,000, though it remains to be seen whether this is realistic.

The P8’s body-chassis unit will be made of carbonfibre, while its naturally-aspirated 6.3-litre V8, produced by AMG, is a development of today’s 90-degree 5.4-litre V8 and should produce over 500bhp and at least 440lb ft of torque.

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