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New McLaren High-Performance Hybrid design previewed

As McLaren gears up to unwrap its first mainstream production hybrid model next year, patent filings have previewed the car’s final production design. 

Filed with the Chinese patent office, the drawings reveal that the as supercar, referred to as a High-Performance Hybrid (HPH) will borrow heavily from models in Woking’s current portfolio, most obviously the 720S and GT, between which it will sit as a replacement for the maker’s Sports Series models.  

Details familiar from recently spotted prototypes include a gaping front air intake and sizeable rear diffuser, while new elliptical brake lights appear to sit behind a mesh grille. The exhaust exits are positioned centrally, as is the case with the Super Series flagship, the 720S

McLaren boss Mike Flewitt has recently suggested that the firm is ramping up development of electrified models: “We have experience of hybrid systems with cars like the P1, P1 GTR and Speedtail,” he told Autocar, “and that recipe of offering a car that can be both truly economical and thrilling to drive remains our goal. 

McLaren is all about building the best driver’s cars, and we see opportunities with hybrid [powertrains], in terms of the instant torque and filling the gaps in the powerband.”

The HPH’s electrified powertrain will mate a twin-turbocharged petrol V6 to an electric motor of undisclosed capacity. Performance details are yet to be confirmed, but it’s expected to be capable of travelling for 20 miles on electricity alone.

The Sports Series replacement is also expected to come with a charging port, making it a plug-in hybrid rather than the recuperative hybrid system found in the P1. It will also put both petrol and electric power through the rear wheels only. 

While it won’t be possible to fully cancel out the weight penalty of a hybrid system, Flewitt hopes to minimise it. “I’ve always said my ambition was to launch the hybrid at the same weight as the outgoing car,” he told Autocar last year.

“We’re not going to hit that, but we’re going to be within 30-40kg. When you think the P1 hybrid system was 140kg, we’ve done a huge amount to manage the weight. I’ve driven a prototype of it and the car is very compelling. We wouldn’t be launching it if it wasn’t going to be.”

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