Appearances can be deceptive. While this looks like a lightly disguised McLaren 12C Spider test car, it’s actually an early validation prototype for McLaren’s next model being shaken down at the Nurburgring in Germany.
Early reports claimed that the car in the pictures was a facelifted 12C Spider, due to be revealed at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. However, a McLaren spokesman confirmed to us that the firm is not exhibiting at Frankfurt this year. He added that the test car is “a mule prototype of P13 undertaking early testing.”
Codenamed P13, the new car is expected to be rival to the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo. It’ll be pitched as a usable, ‘everyday’ supercar which blends plenty of performance with a decent sized boot and cabin space, and we expect it to be priced on a par with its rivals, from around £120,000.
The P13 is expected to use a revised but detuned version of the current 3.8-litre M838 V8 engine used in the 12C, possibly without turbochargers.
Senior designer at McLaren, Rob Melville, told us that the car would be mid-engined, too, when we visited McLaren to get the full story on the P1 project. He also added that the car is likely to use the carbonfibre MonoCell as the basis for its construction to keep the car light but strong.
That also means that the P13’s new engine can be hidden away in the shell of a current model without arousing the suspicions. It’s also likely that the Graziano seven-speed seamless shift gearbox used in the 12C will be fitted to the P13
We expect that the P13 will make its debut in 2015, with a reveal at the Geneva Motor Show in the spring of that year.