McLaren uses a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 in its two current cars, and that engine will feature in its third, entry-level car, too. It registers 727 horsepower in the P1, 641 hp in the 650S, and, while it's only speculation for the moment, Autocar reports that the coming McLaren Sports Series will be tuned to make "well over" 500 horsepower. Company CEO Mike Flewitt told the magazine, "Like our other models, this one will have a higher power-to-weight ratio and better performance figures than any rival."

Starting price for the Sports Series – which will almost certainly get a more formal alphanumeric name –could come in around 130,000 pounds in the UK (circa $200k USD including British taxes), making it a 65-thousand-pound discount compared to the 650S. But with its overall size and weight expected to come close to the more expensive coupe, the Sports Series will go without the active aerodynamics and trick suspension of its elder sibling in order to create a performance gap. The report also says that since McLaren expects a much higher instance of use as a daily driver, a different door operation and thinner sill will make ingress and egress easier. To make sure it stands out in a growing field of race-tested competitors, McLaren will launch a GT3 model, but it will go the other way, too, with a turismo version "aimed at long-distance touring."

If it does have 550 horsepower, how will the 130,000-pound coupe stack up on paper against its UK competitors? It will be more expensive than all of them, but also more powerful, and unless McLaren loses the plot, it will likely be more surgical around a track than any of them, as well. The 520-hp Porsche 911 Turbo costs 120,598 pounds, the 542-hp Audi R8 V10 Plus costs 114,835 pounds, and the 510-horsepower Mercedes AMG GT costs 109,160 pounds. We'll know where the Sports Series stacks up when its unveiled at the New York Auto Show.


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