McLaren pulls U-turn, now mulling (possibly electric) luxury crossover

This article was originally published https://www.autoblog.com/2022/08/30/mclaren-suv-crossover-electric-rumor/.

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For years, McLaren was adamant that they would never build an SUV. Now, reports are saying the company has taken a 180 degree turn on that stance, and its new CTO, ex-Porsche and ex-Ferrari exec Michael Leiters, is only likely to accelerate down that path. 

“McLaren is a sports car brand and that’s exactly what we’re going to remain,” the company said in 2014. While repeating their minimalist design mantra in 2018, “Everything for a reason,” the chief designer went even further, dealing some choice words about SUVs: “[Their] reason is to clutter up the streets.” The position was reiterated in 2019 with a different design chief, who said, “We really do deliver on the ultimate driving experience. For us, it means no compromise. An SUV … [isn’t] a no-compromise kind of vehicle.”

McLaren was already considering an about-face, as Autocar reports before the new sheriff in town. However, with Leiters had a hand in ushering both the Porsche Cayenne and Ferrari Purosangue into existence during his tenures at those companies, it’s looking increasingly likely we’ll see a McLaren luxury crossover sooner rather than never.

Speaking about the segment, Leiters told Autocar, “It still is, and it continues to grow. It’s very attractive as a market segment.” However, he stressed that the product should be “in line with our DNA.”

Autocar is already predicting some loose parameters. The vehicle would be all-electric with either dual- or tri-motor setups to compete with the likes of the Aston Martin DBX 707. In that company, as in Porsche and Lamborghini, crossovers have accounted for more than half of their new car sales in recent years. 

The report goes on to say that the McLaren crossover is expected to cost around $410,000 and will go on sale in the second half of this decade. That makes McLaren’s interest in an Extreme E race team a bit more understandable.

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