(some) Mclaren road cars... not what they should be?
Okay. So let's say that I want to treat myself to a mid engined, supercar. Fine, let's go to Italy or alternatively go to Germany for a cyborg-esque R8 or I could cross the pond and come back with a wild Ford GT (no comment on the V6 in the back). Now that would be something. Wouldn't it? Or I could go to the legion of small manufacturers you've never heard of and get something truly unique. Heck, it will even come with a door that doesn't fit very well. How Italian…
All this introduction leaves a rather big elephant in the room. What about Mclaren? Sure they’ve got a cracking V8 and their cars are some of the best engineered on the market. You get the impression a Doctor made it with a scalpel and a microscope rather than the hammer and hands of Lamborghini and Ferrari. Computated by a roomful of nerds to munch through that beautiful mountain road in that beautiful forgotten valley. Surely in this sense the 540, 570, 600, 720 – even the speedtail models are all embodiments of the Mclaren identity. Is It even possible for a brand to create something that doesn’t reflect their brand identity? Yes. Yes it is.
That’s not what Mclarens should be. They shouldn’t be mass produced (if we can even use that word) cars that bridge the gap between GT and true supercar monsters. They shouldn’t have a distinct styling feature. They shouldn’t be for cruising down Saville Row at six miles an hour in a grotesquely vain paint job.
Right now, it seems that increasingly, they are just like any other supercar manufacturer. They are just that.
They are no longer that almost unattainable nugget of perfection. The final word in speed and handling. Aerodynamics weaponized to destroy lap times. A soulless hulk at a standstill, a living, breathing racehorse trained to perfection at two hundred miles an hour.
That is what Mclaren is about. A slam dunk hypercar that blows the likes of Ferrari and co not so much out of the ground but out of this universe. A car not meant for mere mortals like us. But for driving gods. The F1, the P1, even the Senna. This is what the Mclaren is. A hypercar that will never stand out when flanked by Lamborghinis or Paganis. A quiet, reserved, bland car. But all the stops have been pulled out to make it the fastest car of the lot. At Mclaren, words such as normal or standard shouldn’t exist.
Yet they’re starting to appear with cars mentioned earlier. Why make a ‘normal’ supercar with five hundred to seven hundred horsepower, a rear mid engine V8 and a price between one hundred and three hundred thousand pounds when your name is Mclaren? Why stoop that low when ‘all’ you have to be is that liquid gold that is a road legal formula one with a roof. So here’s what I’d do if I was in charge of Mclaren. Fire all the stylists. Stop making whatever it is I’m making and focus for the next five years on making the world’s best hypercar. Make a tiny quantity then repeat. They are what F1 designers should get up to when they’re bored. Mclaren these days is a company trying to sell cars, lots of them it seems. Trying to fit that supercar mould. Trying to assimilate with these noble families when they are well and truly royalty.
They do this to fund an impressive motorsports division. So the Mclaren conscience can live on in their racecars and every once in a while a one in a million hypercar. It’s a tough pill to swallow, to see them go down this path, but it seems like there is no other option if your name is Mclaren.