This Autocar image shows how the McLaren P15 could look
For a successor to the McLaren P1 to be built, there would need to be a breakthrough in battery technology
A new McLaren supercar to sit between the 12C and the P1 in an expanded line-up form the Woking firm is in the early stages development, McLaren Automotive chief executive Mike Flewitt has confirmed to Autocar.
Although company officials say the model, referred to as P15, is still "quite a long way off", it's been confirmed that the car will use a mid-mounted turbocharged engine, likely to be a heavily revised version of the 12C's twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8. Also confirmed is the now-familiar carbonfibre tub chassis, which sits at the core of all McLaren's road cars.
McLaren won't reveal more, saying that as the P15 is so early into its development, technology is likely to change before the model arrives in showrooms. Therefore its exact engine specifications, materials and electronic systems are unknown.
Company sources are keeping tight-lipped about the P15's other details, with new McLaren chief executive Mike Flewitt only saying it will be different than the company's other planned new arrival, a Porsche 911 Turbo rival known as P13, in its purpose and character.
Pricing for the two models will also differ wildly, with the P15 likely to go on sale for around £400,000. By comparison, McLaren is pitching its P13 at a price point of £120,000.
With the P13 pitched to account for between 2000 and 2500 cars per year, McLaren will soon have an annual output of more than 4000 cars over two shifts.
Several derivatives of the P13 are planned, including a Spider version and a stripped-out, extra-performance variant along the lines of the Porsche 911 GT3. In total, McLaren has the capacity to build 6000 cars annually over three shifts a day, but says it could grow to 7000 units per year if needed, possibly with the arrival of a P15 later in the decade.
McLaren chairman Ron Dennis has previously said the company will launch “something of substance” every year, and it has so far stuck to its plan. Joining the range this year will be an enhanced version of the 12C, which will be sold as a stand-alone model. That car has been developed to deliver on-road performance to rival the Ferrari 458 Speciale. The new model uses a modified version of the 12C's engine producing around 650bhp.
Flewitt has also hinted at a potential P1 successor in the long-term future, but said that a new game-changing range-topper would only be likely after battery and electric motor technology have taken significant leaps forward.