McLaren developing a premium electric SUV, report says

Jessica Thompson

McLaren, a steadfast holdout in the stampede among Lamborghini, Bentley, Aston Martin, Ferrari and other ultraluxury and exotic brands to market high-performance utility vehicles, may be reversing course.

That’s the conclusion of a report from British magazine Autocar. The publication, without attributing the information to any sources, says the British automaker plans to launch an SUV in the second half of the decade.

The company has often signaled it has no plans to offer an SUV. Things might be changing since Michael Leiters, a key utility vehicle advocate for other brands, was named CEO in April, Autocar said.

Leiters, a German engineer who becomes McLaren CEO on Friday, July 1, was instrumental in the creation of Porsche’s first crossover, the Cayenne, and Ferrari’s first utility, the forthcoming Purosangue. He has given no indication publicly he plans to do the same at McLaren.

The closest thing to an SUV that McLaren has fielded is McLaren Racing’s MX Extreme E, which competes in a new all-electric, off-road racing circuit using spec vehicles to promote sustainability.

The McLaren SUV portfolio will start with one model that is “relatively low, compact” and with “dual-or-tri-motor, four-wheel-drive,” Autocar said. It will also be fully electric.

Premium and exotic SUVs and crossovers have become increasingly popular. In 2021, global sales of Aston Martin’s DBX nearly doubled, and Porsche’s Macan and Cayenne now make up over half of the famed sports car brand’s U.S. sales. Lamborghini’s Urus outsold the Huracan supercar globally by almost double last year.

McLaren denied any plans to release the SUV described in the report, and spokesman Roger Ormisher said there are “no immediate plans” for such a vehicle.

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