When the new model was announced in Geneva, Flewitt said it could be the first of several more practical, but performance-focused cars produced by the company.

said Flewitt: “It will be a car that will combine the performance levels of competition with the ability to cross continents, wrapped in a beautiful lightweight body. It is a car that has been designed for distance and that will also provide the comfort and space that is expected of a great tourist.

“But it will also have a level of agility never before experienced in this segment. In addition, it will be the lightest of the major tournaments and, as it also has the best power-to-weight ratio, I promise it will be one of the fastest.

By suggesting that the new grand tourer could be the first of several such models, Flewitt also confirmed that it would sit outside of its established line of three rows of Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series families at the firm, rather than saying that the car will be “a one-size-fits-all model.

Although McLaren has recently registered the name of the GTZ, informants have told Autocar that this is proof of future potential product names, rather than being specific either to the GT or to a possible collaboration with Zagato.

McLarens hybrid plans are more advanced than those of its rivals

In a separate interview with Autocar, Flewittclaimed that the brand is still on course to have for sale partially electrified models before Aston Martin. “Aston is talking about competing with us, but theres nothing near the road yet,” Flewitt said. “Wed rather talk about it when weve done it.”

He confirmed that the first McLaren hybrid, the Sports series replacement expected next year, will send both gasoline and electric power through the rear wheels only, while a hybrid four-wheel-drive system is being considered for higher-performance models.

“I dont see us doing a mechanically driven front axle,” he admitted, “but I could see an electrically driven front axle in the future. In addition to the traction advantages, which increase attractiveness in certain markets, you also get a very significant ability to recharge the hybrid with an electric front axle.

McLaren is also believed to be switching to a lower capacity, weight-saving V6 to combine with electric power. The next Sports Series replacement is also expected to come with a charging port. “Supplements have to be part of the equation,” Flewitt said.

“We have to be honest: weve been driven to this by emissions regulations. I may not be aware of what the Holidays can do today, but when I look at [our] first car and its CO2 emissions, it looks like what I used to hope the Holidays would accomplish in my days at Ford – its amazingly good.

While it will not be possible to completely override the weight penalty of a hybrid system, Flewitt hopes to minimize it. “Ive always said my ambition was to launch the hybrid with the same weight as the outgoing car,” he said.

“Were not going to get there, but were going to be within 30-40kg. When you think of the P1 hybrid system as 140kg, weve done a lot to control the weight… I drove a prototype of it and the car is very convincing. We wouldnt be launching it if it wasnt going to be.

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