Remember the last time McLaren and BMW teamed up? It was a sensation. The resulting car broke nearly every pre-conceived notion of what a super car should be. You may have heard of it: It flew under the banner “McLaren F1.” Mr. Bean is a notable fan.
Though it was introduced in 1992, the F1 is, even by today’s standards, one of the fastest and most capable super cars in the world. “It sat three, with the driver in the middle, it cost over $1 million, its engine compartment was lined with gold for better heat dissipation, and with its BMW-built V12, it could top 230 miles per hour,” Derek Sapienza wrote in our homage to the car.
Though it was built and sold as a McLaren, the car wouldn’t have been possible without BMW and its finesse with powerplant engineering. Though the British marque did the legwork for the layout, weight distribution, and everything that made the McLaren so great, it was BMW’s V12 that was the crown jewel and brushed away competition like a horse dismissing flies.
This was over 20 years ago, though. But like good friends are wont to do, Britain’s Car Magazine is reporting that BMW and McLaren are looking to hang out and catch up. The result, it says, could be a 750 horsepower, mid-engined successor that will instead use a cleverly turbocharged V8 in place of the iconic V12.
“Output would be boosted by no fewer than four chargers; two exhaust-driven, two powered by electric motors… Since the V8 is not a McLaren engine, there should be no brand image conflict – though [McLaren] might baulk at BMW embarrassing it in the power stakes.” The car would use a McLaren carbon monocoque chassis, it said.
The timing couldn’t be better, either. BMW’s fellow German countrymen over at Mercedes-AMG have reportedly been working on a hybrid, V12-powered halo car that will pick up where the SLS AMG left off. Though McLaren fields the P1, BMW doesn’t have a presence in the highest echelons of automotive performance, with nothing in its stable comparable to the Ferrari LaFerrari, P1, Lamborghini Veneno, or Porsche 918.
Car further points out that having sunk a colossal amount of money into the i3 and i8 programs, BMW “is understandably keen to seek a top-notch supercar partner with whom to share development, rather than give M Division carte blanche on costs and strategy.”
And who better to work with than its old friends at McLaren?
The magazine also quotes a potential arrival time of 2019, with a roadster version likely. Nothing official has been revealed by either company, but Car says that it could actually take the form of two vehicles, one branded as a BMW and one as a McLaren. Though this strategy is generally popular with more pedestrian vehicles, it’s quite rare in the upper tiers of performance cars.
BMW and McLaren have set the standard together once already. Let’s hope that lightning can, in fact, strike the same spot twice.