plug it in, plug it in
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Over the last decade, McLaren has made a lot with a little. While the company has cranked out more than a dozen high-end sports cars in that time, they’ve all been built around the same basic components: a carbon-fiber monocoque and a twin-turbo V8. That might be about to change, though. According to Autocar, McLaren is about to unwrap a new model packing a plug-in hybrid powertrain combining a powerful battery, an electric motor — and a turbocharged V6.
PHEV powertrains aren’t new to McLaren; the range-topping P1 hypercar of several years ago made its monstrous power by combining the company’s ubiquitous twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor and a 4.7-kWh battery to produce a combined 903 horsepower. This new model, however, will reportedly occupy the opposite end of the spectrum. According to Autocar, the new plug-in hybrid V6 Macca will be a member of the Sport Series — the entry-level models, such as the 570S and 600LT. That generation of cars is expected to be replaced by the new electrified V6 model, much as the 720S replaced the 650S and 675LT several years back.
The new Sport Series will reportedly be able to travel up to 20 miles on electric power alone, Autocar says, making it perfect for scooting through London’s congestion charge zone without paying the toll (at least, until late next year). Of course, don’t expect this Macca to be some kind of pathetic mid-engined Prius; given the carmaker’s relentless pursuit of improvement, we can likely expect it to exceed the 570S’s 592 hp and 417 lb-ft. Expect to see it revealed later this year, Autocar reports.
McLaren is hardly the only supercar-maker exploring the idea of downsizing to six-cylinder powerplant. Aston Martin is also creating its own hybrid twin-turbo V6, with the fruits of that labor expected to first arrive in the engine bay of the Valhalla supercar in 2022. Maserati’s upcoming MC20 has been unofficially confirmed to use a twin-turbo V6, and Ferrari may well follow suit for its least-expensive models. And, of course, there’s Ford, which chose to outfit the latest version of its GT with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 in lieu of the traditional roaring eight-pot.
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