McLaren Automotive, earlier known as McLaren Cars, is a subsidiary of the McLaren Group, a group where you will also find McLaren Composites, McLaren Electronic Systems, Absolute Taste, and more. McLaren Automotive is an automaker and the creator of the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (codename P7). McLaren Cars was formed in 1989 with the object of creating road cars based on Formula One technology and is still strongly connected to the Team McLaren Formula One constructor.
The McLaren F1 car
The first car produced by the newly formed McLaren Cars was the McLaren F1, a three seat coupe where the driver was placed in the middle of the car. Production commenced in 1992 and the car was designed by Gordon Murray, the same man who designed several competitive formula one racing cars for McLaren. The McLaren F1 was a so called supercar and the price was £640,000 (roughly US$ 1,150,000). The car came with BMW designed and produced 6064 cc V12 engine capable of producing 627 bhp (461 kW).
A McLaren F1 used to hold the record for fastest production car, but was beaten by the Bugatti Veyron 16.4. It should however be noted that the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 engine is assisted by four turbochargers, while the McLaren F1 can reach a top speed of 241.35 mph (391 km/h) with a normally aspirated engine. It can also go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (codename P7)
In 1999, it was decided that McLaren would design and manufacture the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren together with DaimlerChrysler. DaimlerChrysler was supplying the engines for the Team McLaren through its Mercedes-Benz division, and was also the majority shareholder of the McLaren group. The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was given a 5.5 Liter Supercharged V8 engine capable of producing 626 bhp. The car can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.
The Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR 722 Edition was announced in 2006; a car fitted with an engine capable of delivering 650 bhp and a top speed of 337 km/h (which is 5 more than what the standard SLR could do). The “722 Edition” was also given a new type of suspension, a stiffer damper configuration, 19-inch light-alloy wheels, and a body that was 0.4 inches lower.
The Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Convertible was announced in 2007 and will be fitted with the same supercharged 5.5L V8 as the coupé.
Unrealised McLaren projects (codenames P8, P9 and P10)
The collaboration between McLaren and Mercedes-Benz resulted in three more car proposals: the P8 car, the P9 car and the P10 car. The development of all three cars was put to a halt in 2005. No official reason was given, but rumour suggests that Mercedes found the projects to expensive to be a good idea financially. Some believe that McLaren is currently working on a secret P11 car, but this has not been confirmed.
The P9 car was to be a small mid-engined supercar, and the P8 – also referred to as the SLS – was to be a less expensive version of the P9. Both the P8 and the P9 would come with normally aspirated V-8 engines, and the P10 car would have been a SLR replacement. The idea was to make McLaren cars that would compete with cars such as the Bentley Continental GT, the AstonMartin DB9 and the Ferrari F430.