Will McLaren Pull a Ferrari and Build a Shooting Brake?
If you’re an exotic sports car enthusiast, you’re probably familiar with Ferrari’s FF, which is a four-wheel drive sports car that also seats four. You’re probably also aware that the FF has caused a bit of controversy thanks to its design — critics are quick to point out that the Ferrari FF is a two-door wagon, while FF fans argue that it’s actually a shooting brake.
Semantics aside, there’s one thing that everyone can agree on: The FF has sold fairly well, which means there’s a market for “family-friendly” exotic sports cars (Aston Martin Rapide, anyone?). Consequently, it stands to reason that other exotic car companies may be thinking of getting into this segment, and this is rumored to include British carmaker, McLaren. So, let’s take a look at McLaren’s 570S, and why some think it may spawn a shooting brake.
With a starting MSRP of $184,000, the McLaren 570S is the first of McLaren’s more affordable Sports Series — “affordable” being a relative term here. However, for that price you get a baby supercar that’s nothing less than incredible.
Thanks to its carbon fiber MonoCell II chassis construction, the 570S has a curb weight of 3,200 pounds, meaning it’s lighter than its rivals. Additionally, the 570S has a mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 engine that produces 563 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. This allows the 570S to go from zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds.
Of course, as any true gear head will tell you, 60 miles per hour is not nearly fast enough. So, for those who desire more speed, the 570S can accelerate to 124 miles per hour in 9.5 seconds, and it has a top speed of 204 miles per hour. More pointedly, this combination of lightweight construction and power gives the 570S the best power-to-weight ratio of any sports car in its class, according to McLaren.
As far as looks go, the 570S is absolutely breathtaking. For its exterior, it has a teardrop-shaped cockpit, dihedral doors, and distinctive flying buttresses that help to extract hot air from the engine bay and increase downforce.
The interior, on the other hand, can only be described as uncluttered elegance. Hand-stitched leather, chrome highlights, a “floating” center console, and a user-friendly 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system all flow together to create a cabin that’s both comfortable and stylish. Simply put, the 570S is astounding, which is why Car and Driver gave it five out of five stars.
As previously stated, the 570S is the first in a series of more affordable sports cars from McLaren, and as such, there’s one question on everyone’s mind: What comes after the 570S?
McLaren has been nothing but forthcoming about its refusal to enter the luxury SUV market. Indeed, according to Drive, McLaren seems to see such creations as poxes on the exotic car market, meaning an SUV is probably out of the picture. When it comes to the subject of a shooting brake, however, McLaren’s design chief Frank Stephenson is a little cagier. In fact, when Drive pressed Stephenson about the possibility of a shooting brake in the affordable Sports Series lineup, Stephenson stated, “I won’t deny or confirm but it could be an interesting way to go because that segment needs space.”
This statement is compounded by the fact that when talking to Drive about what comes after the 570S, Stephenson made it clear that the new car will be significantly different from the 570S, and it will attract a different kind of client:
[Y]ou don’t want to cannibalise one or the other so obviously there has to be two completely different messages. … It will be a different kind of car for the client to aspire to. So the 570S will attract one type of client and the 570-“Blank” will attract a different sort of buyer. You don’t want those overlapping, definitely.
Plus, McLaren has been actively trying to increase sales, and a shooting brake could open up an entirely new market for the company.
There’s no way to know which way McLaren will go when it comes to a shooting brake — experts are split, with some believing that a McLaren shooting brake is nothing but a myth, while others seem to think it’s only a matter of time. However, if McLaren does decide to build a shooting brake, it’ll probably be one of the most attractive people-movers on the market.