For once against the odds, McLaren’s new CEO says the automaker will develop a lightweight, performance SUV

Side view of the McLaren SUV

Under the previous CEO, McLaren spoke out against the development of SUVs, but new horizons are opening up for the automaker. McLaren is developing an SUV under new CEO Michael Leiters, and the new chief has announced more details about the upcoming model in an interview with Car Magazine. It should impress not only with excellent performance and exciting dynamics, but also with its lightweight construction compared to other SUVs.

McLaren puts lightweight construction at the fore

Three-quarter front view of the McLaren Speedtail on the track

Leiters told Car Magazine that McLaren’s SUV should be in line with the brand’s focus on lightweight construction, with McLaren’s Composite Technology Center exploring how the design and manufacturing processes can be overhauled to produce larger carbon fiber structures.


On the topic: The McLaren Solus GT brings Gran Turismo to life

To achieve the lowest possible weight, the SUV will make massive use of composite materials. ‘[A big McLaren] should be easy. And carbon fiber is one of the best ways to lighten a car,” Leiters told Car Magazine. It is not yet clear whether the structure will consist mainly of carbon fiber monocoque, as in sports cars.or will use a hybrid structure in which a carbon fiber body is combined with an aluminum chassis, he told the publication.

The McLaren SUV comes fully electric

McLaren Solus

However, it is already clear that the SUV will be McLaren’s first purely electric car. According to Leiters’ interview, “[Impressive] longitudinal acceleration is not a problem with battery cars: you can get it in a limousine or an SUV with 1000 kW [of power].”

On the topic: It’s official: BMW M4 Competition xDrive can compete with McLaren and Ferrari

The new state-of-the-art software should also provide McLaren with improved dynamics. “With an electric car, it’s even more important to have a connected car, to have good control systems to use the full potential you have with electric motors,” the article says. The software can ensure that the power delivery is more linear and not as abrupt as is common with electric motors. To make the most of this potential, the McLaren SUV will likely also have all-wheel drive to control torque at each individual wheel.

The design and names of future McLarens will change

McLaren 720S

Leiters told Car Magazine that there will be more visual variation among McLaren models for the brand, as well as a new naming scheme. “The branching out into new body styles gives McLaren design a great opportunity for a new direction,” Leiters said. “We haven’t differentiated our cars enough from a visual standpoint.”

He also told the publication that McLaren wants to use its F1 know-how to achieve the best possible aerodynamics for its SUV, and the model is likely to get a new name, as the current number-based naming scheme is puzzling. According to Car Magazine, McLaren still needs to set up production for its upcoming SUV, with the model potentially set to go on sale in 2026.