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Much rumoured......but now some facts!

The new £160k McLaren P11 supercar has been totally redesigned by ex-Fiat design boss Frank Stephenson, Autocar can reveal.

Prototypes are now in testing and a 2010 launch has been schedule for the new British supercar.

The McLaren P11 will make its debut as a two-seat, mid-engined coupe. A soft-top spider version – as previewed by this exclusive Autocar image - will follow a year later.

McLaren is developing the coupe and convertible versions of the P11 alongside one another. Both are based on a carbonfibre centre tub and have aluminum front and rear subframes. One subframe carries the front suspension module, the other the engine, transmission and rear suspension assembly.

The McLaren P11’s extensive use of carbonfibre will keep its weight down to between 1300kg and 1400kg, according to Woking insiders. This means the P11 is likely to be one of the lightest cars of its kind.

McLaren has contracted German engineering firm Mahle to rework AMG’s 5.5-litre V8 engine. The heavily altered powerplant will be stripped of any AMG or Mercedes branding and rebadged as a McLaren unit when the P11 reaches showrooms.

The engine is the only common component between the McLaren P11 and Mercedes’ forthcoming front-engined gullwing-door supercar.

McLaren is bullish about future sales and production volumes, despite the current global financial downturn. Between 2010 and 2015 it intends to build 1500 examples of the £160k supercar per year. That’s a marked increase on the handful of SLRs currently assembled in Woking.

To achieve these volumes, the company must continue its global search for a factory in which to build the P11. Contract manufacturing plants across Europe are being considered, including Pininfarina in Italy, Magna in Austria and Lotus in Britain. A decision is due in the next six and nine months, say insiders.

Magna is thought to be the front-runner. It has already scooped a major supercar assembly contract for the Aston Martin Rapide, due to start in late 2009.

McLaren intends to build the P11’s carbonfibre tub at its own composite shop near Portsmouth.


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