McLaren announces next Ultimate Series model not due out until 2025

McLaren will slow its cadence of hypercar launches until the middle of the 2020s, according to its chief executive. It released the Senna, the Speedtail, and the Elva in rapid-fire succession, and it’s now ready to take a break.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that actually we didn’t need to launch another Ultimate Series car after Elva,” revealed company boss Mike Flewitt in an interview with Automotive News. He added that his team made this decision after realizing that “the market was getting a little bit overpopulated,” and he stressed that the on-going coronavirus pandemic wasn’t the main push behind the company’s shift from hypercars.

In hindsight, the writing was on the wall. McLaren unveiled the Elva (pictured) in 2019 as a roof-less, window-less roadster with 800 horsepower and 399 available build slots each priced at $1.7 million. It backpedaled in April 2020 and said that only 249 examples would be built, which was a big reduction and an unusual move. Officially, the firm’s customers said they wanted more exclusivity, but the difficulty of filling 399 orders was likely a factor, too.

It sounds like the next Ultimate Series will be well worth the wait because it will be the long-awaited successor to the gasoline-electric P1 released in 2013. Flewitt said it will make its debut near 2025, undoubtedly as a limited-edition model, and all signs point to another hybrid powertrain with jaw-dropping horsepower and torque figures. 

“All of the significant launches going forward will be hybrid cars. I think by 2026, we’ll be fully hybridized right across the range,” Flewitt told the same publication in a separate interview. He indicated that the next Ultimate Series model will not be electric, because the company’s first battery-powered model isn’t scheduled to make its debut until 2028 at the very earliest. Engineers still need to solve key packaging-related problems.

Although hypercars are on hiatus, new product launches will carry on as planned, and McLaren isn’t out of ideas. It announced in Nov. 2020 that its first series-produced hybrid model will be called Artura when it makes its debut during the first half of 2021. It will ride on a new platform developed specifically for electrified powertrains, and it will ditch the brand’s V8 for a smaller, lighter V6 that partially offsets the battery pack’s weight.

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