By on April 21, 2017

570gt mclaren

Here is sentence that nobody has ever uttered: “Honey, you have to take the kids to school in the McLaren today because the Kia is in the shop and it’s our only other mode of transportation.”

Despite this, the automaker that has continuously brought the world road-going hypercars and track day darlings has also considered building a car with a backseat for quite some time. While most supercar manufacturers have at least mulled over something for the entire family, McLaren seems among the worst-suited for the task. 

McLaren CEO Mike Flewit told Auto Express at the Shanghai Motor Show that, if his company did produce a four-seater, it would likely be in the form of a grand tourer.

This is blasphemy — everyone knows that it’s McLaren’s job to produce road-legal track cars. Flewit also said it would only come in the 2+2 setup, as the company isn’t interested in building something with four doors. This is stupid — everyone knows that the 2+2 configuration only works if your children are born without legs or can miraculously stay five for the rest of their lives.

“I can see four seats, but not four doors,” Flewit explained. “It could be either Sports Series or Ultimate Series and I could see the GT further enhance its usability and further move in that direction if that vehicle could have at least a 2+2 configuration.”

“We’d look at it, see if it’s what the market wants and see if it would still have the driving attributes that you’d want from our cars – you would have to use a slightly longer wheelbase so you would lose a little of the agility that’s there. But if what you got back was more attractive than what else is in that segment then maybe, yes.”

So, customers would be offered something akin to an extended wheelbase P1 or 570GT with more docile dynamics? While the majority of McLaren owners probably never approach their car’s physical peak, it’s still difficult to imagine them accepting something less capable on paper. It’s equally hard to conceptualize any supercar manufacturer constructing a coupe with fully functioning rear seats.

Weirdly, the CEO vowed never to produce an SUV — a segment even Lamborghini is trying to get in on — during a discussion where he considered bringing a hypothetical 2+2 into existence “if it’s what the market wants.”

“It’s something we would continue to look at and as much as you’d get me to stand on stage and swear we’d never build an SUV, I wouldn’t take that position on a 2+2,” he said.

[Image: McLaren]

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25 Comments on “McLaren Says It Won’t Build a Four-door or SUV, but It Might Make a Stupid 2+2...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “This is stupid — everyone knows that the 2+2 configuration only works if your children are born without legs or can miraculously stay five for the rest of their lives.”

    No, this comment is stupid. Not everything has to be a jacked up station wagon with a transverse inline motor and limited capabilities expressly made for the empowered-indebted-basket-weaving-pussy-hats of the world. In fact, LESS of this would be better for the “market” as a whole.

    ““I can see four seats, but not four doors,” Flewit explained.”

    F***ing-A, man.

    “a segment even Lamborghini is trying to get in on”

    Get back into, they have previously produced an SUV (as had Bentley for the Sultan of Brunei). I wonder in an era if billion dollar platforms if Lambo can profit on an “SUV” which at most may sell 3,000 units a year. In 2015, production was 3,245 units and was the highest ever.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Not everything has to be a jacked up station wagon with a transverse inline motor and limited capabilities expressly made for the empowered-indebted-basket-weaving-pussy-hats of the world.”

      Glorious! The 28CL Manifesto in 26 words.

      And you’re right; we also need pickups & vans.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      “Lamboghini is trying to get into”

      They used to make SUV’s probably the precursor to the Hunmer and tractors
      https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/in-pictures-rare-lamborghini-suv-up-for-auction/article21868216/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamborghini_LM002

        • 0 avatar
          Matt Posky

          Unless I’m mistaken, Lamborghini hasn’t built an SUV in over two decades. And anything it comes out with now will sell far better than the LM002 did. They want to see Gallardo numbers with the Urus.

          I also didn’t suggest that that McLaren should be building crossovers, just that its strategy seems more than a little muddled. Consider a softer 2+2 to better serve consumer demand but never consider an SUV or 4-door…. What?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Lamborghini essentially invented the “supercar SUV” with the LM002, and sold 328 units. In fact a 1977 concept off-road vehicle, Cheetah, is considered a progenitor of the Humvee. These are certainly interesting details worth noting, assuming you knew of them to note, and in fact shows Lamborghini did once compete in a “supercar SUV” segment.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamborghini_LM002
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamborghini_Cheetah

            “I also didn’t suggest that that McLaren should be building crossovers, just that its strategy seems more than a little muddled”

            Here is a direct reference to Lamborghini, McLaren, and the SUV market. “Weirdly” implies you find it odd McLaren is not trying to get into the market, so lets talk about it.

            “Weirdly, the CEO vowed never to produce an SUV — a segment even Lamborghini is trying to get in on — during a discussion where he considered bringing a hypothetical 2+2 into existence “if it’s what the market wants.””

            In the case of Lambo, since they are part of the VAG evil empire they could probably spin up a VAG MLBevo clone like they did for Bentley and call it a day. So then only 500 or so additional units is just additional profit since you don’t have platform or engine development costs, hell you can probably just assemble them in Crewe alongside the Bentayga and not even involve Sant’Agata Bolognese. There may be a business case for this.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Group_MLB_platform#MLB_2

            On the other hand McLaren is an independent company and doesn’t have a platform waiting in the wings to exploit. McLaren like Lambo sold a small number of units (1,654 in 2015), about half of Lambo’s record year (3234 in 2015). A £475.5 pound firm (2014) does not have economies of scale to leverage, nor can it economically develop a new platform for sedan/SUV/CUV usage. There is no business case for this. None. Nada. The CEO was right to deflect questions about it with vague answers. I find it not optimal in a piece to even imply or allude a rear-mid engine/rear wheel drive supercar platform can be mutated into some kind of sedan or SUV by a small boutique manufacturer.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLaren_Automotive
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamborghini
            http://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/07/mclaren-delivers-record-number-of-supercars.html

            The fact there were record sales in 2015 indicates both McLaren and Lamborghini are delivering the exact product their customers want. But of course you would know that after doing research and dropping details such as these into a piece.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Children? This is about double dating with dwarf couples. It’s the one thing holding back sales!

  • avatar

    I owned a 1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 for several years and 14,000 miles. The great auto writer Karl Ludvigsen called it “The Magnificent GT” in the 1968 Sports Car Graphic road test. At 5′ 6″ tall, another person my size could set behind me – and the 12.5 cubic foot trunk held quite a reasonable amount of luggage. A 2+2 design CAN be beautiful, fun to drive, and practical for carrying 3 or 4 people at times.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Absolutely, but I haven’t seen that happen with any regularity in recent history and don’t expect McLaren to manage without making some major concessions.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        Yes. I like the idea of the 570GT (as noted in masthead photo) but the implementation is comical.

        Unless they stretch the monocell platform to ridiculous lengths to accomodate 2+2 this wont happen.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Here is a sentence that nobody has ever uttered: “Honey, you have to take the kids to school in the McLaren today because the Kia is in the shop and it’s our only other mode of transportation.”

    That’s because the Kia wouldn’t be in the shop. Get real, man.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Mid-70’s suburban NYC. The middle school and high school I went to. Amidst the panoply of wood paneled station wagons, broughams, landaus, muscle cars, Teutonic cruisers and Japanese fuel misers there was one parent who dropped their kid off in a Lamboghini Espada which was their 2+2, front engine V12.
    It was dark navy blue and fairly quiet but with a nice throaty exhaust note. The low lean styling stood out to me particularly the rear hatch Kamm tail glass which must have influenced Honda when they designed the 2nd generation CRX as well as the later CR-V.

  • avatar

    Matt, not making an SUV is a thing at McLaren. When I wrote about the introduction of the 570, I mentioned that I’d asked about McLaren making a Miata priced car and they said their capacity was limited to 4,000 cars/yr and an everyman’s sports car has to sell in pretty big numbers just to break even. I speculated that while I didn’t ask about an SUV, the answer on that would probably be no too. Wayne Bruce, head of communications for McLaren, tracked me down specfically to say that he wished I had asked about an SUV, just so they could say no.

    That ultimately resulted in my driving the 675LT and 570S so I won’t complain about McLaren’s thing about not building SUVs.

    The question that I have is with Maserati and Lamborghini both making crossovers or SUVs, how soon before there’s a Ferrari with a lot of ground clearance?

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    McLaren should figure out racing part of their business before building another road car; if their rep in motorsport is a joke, it hurts the prestige equity they sell road cars on. They are in historically bad slump with Honda power in F1, who ironically compete with McLaren 540/570 with the NSX.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      The road cars are a serious hindrance to McLaren being able to get powertrain partners in F1 too. Honda’s NSX is just a low volume halo car, but Mercedes are now selling serious cars in the same price range with the variants of the AMG GT and now their hypercar. And Ferrari are obviously a major competitor.

      Even if VWAG decides to bring Audi to F1 after they are no longer hemorrhaging cash to pay for the diesel crisis, McLaren competes with the Audi R8, various Porsches, and all Lamborghini models.

      This is a serious problem for McLaren’s F1 team and basically limits them to Renault or Honda (or maybe Toyota if they ever want to come back).

  • avatar
    keviton

    A fantastic car!

  • avatar

    What about making a competitive F1 car, McLaren? One that could make us relive the days of the golden combo McLaren-Honda-Ayrton Senna. I feel pity for F1 driver Alonso who went from Ferrari to McLaren. Ferrari seems back on top now, and Mac is sinking further away. Don’t be surprised if this season will be even worse than 2016.

  • avatar
    mcs

    “This is stupid — everyone knows that the 2+2 configuration only works if your children are born without legs or can miraculously stay five for the rest of their lives.”

    This wasn’t the way it was with my kids. “Okay kids, do want to be nice and comfortable in the Expedition or do you want to squeeze into the back of one the sports cars and be totally uncomfortable?” It was the cool cars every time. Even when they were little and especially when they were teenagers. They were pretty flexible and could pull it off. Remember, they’re your kids and probably have the same tastes in cars.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Just thanking the writer for telling me how to feel about this story from the “stupid” headline. Please keep saving my precious time like that. And never, ever leave me responsible for making up my own mind, OK?

    The way the writing on this site is going, in five years you can just publish the word “stupid” five times a day and call it good.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    Two weeks after I bought my ’84 944 in 1991 I had to fold the rear seats down to accommodate my musical gear ( I was A/B/Ying two half-stacks at the time. Great rig ). I never once folded them back up until 1994, when I did so to show the eventual buyer of my battered and anemic old Porsche that it really did have rear seats. They were beyond useless. Fast forward to my 2006 Mustang: same rear seat utility but without the hatchback and, thus, even less utility. The fact that I was usually the only person ever in the car mitigated this seating drawback nicely but I’d never buy a 2+2 and expect to carry three passengers.

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