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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

McLaren begins the long striptease of the 911-fighting P13


McLaren teaser photo
McLaren may be relatively new to building road cars for the masses, but it clearly knows how to speak to them, at least on their favorite social media channels.
 As of yesterday, McLaren has taken to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to begin what is bound to be a lengthy striptease of its upcoming entry-level P13 sports car, which will be positioned below the 650S and go head-to-head with the Porsche 911 Turbo.
 A trio of images were posted on McLaren Automotive’s official Instagram, Twitter (@McLarenAuto for both), as well as its Facebook page, all denoted by the hashtag “#blackswanmoments,” implying that — just as the unexpected discovery of black swans in Australia in the late 1600s ruffled the feathers of the entire aviary world — the arrival of the P13 will change the paradigm in the sports car world.
 If you don’t know what a “black swan moment” is, or what it has to do with cars, well, that what McLaren’s YouTube video is for (though, sadly, it doesn’t say much about the P13 itself).
In fact, only one of the three pictures tell us anything about the car.

 The most revealing of them shows the front-end of the P13 as it powers around a corner, covered in camouflage and a sports bra, while the other is a close-up of its fixed dome-like roof. From what we can tell, the car appears to share many design elements with the mid-engine 650S, including the roofline, exterior mirrors, and headlamps with LED running lamps on their outboard edges, this time rendered in smooth light tubes.

 The front fascia is clearly different, however, and the chin does not jut out as far as the ground-scraping 650S. The door cutline implies that the P13 could use the same swan-wing door design as other McLaren road cars, while a peek though the passenger window shows an air intake on the rear fender (versus mid-door for other McLarens) which would certainly help transmit some blissful sounds from the engine at full throttle.

Speaking of the engine, we don’t know much about the powertrain that will sit behind the P13’s lucky occupants, though we expect that it will be a version of McLaren’s turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8, detuned from the 641 hp it produces in the 650S to about 475–500 hp. And as with the 650S, we expect a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic to do the shifting.
Just as we are a long way from seeing the car in person, which could happen as soon as the New York Auto Show in April, we are probably even further from learning how much McLaren will charge for the little sexpot when it eventually makes its way to the U.S.

 It is fair to say, however, that the prices of its coupe and expected convertible versions will come in within spitting distance comparable Porsche Turbos, which means that you won’t probably won’t get too much change from your $200,000 bill.