As cars get faster, there will come a point where horsepower will exceed the grip level of even the stickiest tires. There are all sorts of ways to manage traction, from trick differentials to traction control to torque vectoring, but the most tried and true way is adding all-wheel drive. While this isn’t ideal for a number of reasons, sending power to all four wheels generally improves performance. That’s why McLaren is investigating all-wheel drive systems for future products.
Car and Driver spoke with McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. He confirms the automaker is looking at adding AWD on future products, though if and when that happens could be a long way off. He argues that with horsepower and torque levels creeping ever higher, we’re getting close to the limits of what a tire can handle.
Unlike traditional mechanical all-wheel drive systems like those found on the Nissan GT-R, Audi R8, and Porsche 911 Turbo, look for electric motors to drive the front wheels, similar to the Acura NSX. Not only would a hybrid system help packaging, electric motors give McLaren much more control over what’s happening at each individual wheel.
McLaren told Autoblog that the automaker’s plan through 2022 involves mid-engine two-seat sports cars, so don’t look for an all-wheel drive SUV to come out of Woking anytime soon.