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McLaren to use turbo V6, all-aluminum body for entry-level P13?

by Justin King

Dropping two cylinders would help differentiate the P13 from McLaren\'s more expensive offerings.

Additional details surrounding McLaren's entry-level sports car, internally known as the P13, have continued to emerge. The latest reports suggest the model may switch to a turbocharged V6, rather than adopting a de-tuned version of the V8 mill in the 650S.

Although the company has yet to officially confirm full specs, its engineering director, Mark Vinnels, has told Top Gear the company is not absolutely committed to placing a V8 in each of its models, as long as it can achieve certain levels of performance and drivability.

The 650S utilizes a 3.8-liter mid-mounted engine with dual turbochargers that help generate 650 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. Dropping two cylinders is viewed as a way to differentiate the P13 from the 650S, reducing output to approximately 450 ponies while lowering the powertrain weight.

The entry-level car is expected to have the same two-seater mid-engine layout as its higher-end counterparts, but in a rear-wheel-drive format. It may also utilize less carbon fiber -- the body will likely be all aluminum -- and require a fraction of the man-hours to build. Reduced assembly costs will help the company compete directly with the Porsche 911 in terms of power and price.

Although the P13 makes a few sacrifices, Vinnels suggests the expensive suspension system found in the 650S and P1 is one of the company's key advantages that will be offered across the entire range. Valved fluid links between the left and right suspension components help maintain a soft ride during casual driving, and all but eliminate body roll in hard cornering.

McLaren will reportedly finalize the P13 design within the next few days, before preparing to begin production by the end of 2015.

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