McLaren's on-again, off-again SUV is taking shape — and it may not be shaped like an SUV after all. The company confirmed it's seriously looking at expanding its range with a bigger model capable of seating more than two passengers, but it hasn't decided which route to take.
"The most important thing is to provide a [vehicle] that has more space or ability for a McLaren customer to share the experience with more people. How high-riding it is, whether it's a crossover ... that's to be decided and in fact, nothing is set at this point," explained Jamie Corstorphine, the British firm's director of product strategy, in an interview with industry trade journal Automotive News.
Offering more space or ability is reasonably easy when your range consists exclusively of low-slung supercars. While an SUV such as the Aston Martin DBX would certainly fit the bill, Corstorphine's comments suggests that other body styles are on the table as well. Something like, say, a Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo would offer more space and ability than a 765LT. So would a little hatchback in the vein of the Subaru Impreza, and that's precisely where the challenge lies: McLaren wants to ensure that its family-focused model stays true to its roots.
"If we're going to do anything, whether it's this type of product, or any other type of product, the test for us is, can we accurately reflect the DNA of McLaren? That's the bit you need to spend the time upfront thinking about and proving out," Corstorphine added.
Michael Leiters, McLaren's chief technical officer, echoed these comments in August 2022. He acknowledged that high-end SUVs are in hot demand, Ferrari notably had to stop taking orders for the Purosangue to avoid ending up with a massive backlog, but he stressed that pelting McLaren into this segment is easier said than done. Whatever the firm comes up with has to be in line with its DNA, he added.
While SUVs and supercars seemingly exist on opposite ends of the same spectrum, wedding the two isn't as far-fetched as it might seem. Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche are among the companies that have successfully fused these two opposing segments.
It doesn't sound like McLaren is in a rush to bring its family car to production. More details could be announced in the coming months.