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2016 McLaren Sports Series Spy Shots

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These are the first spy shots of a near-complete prototype for McLaren’s new entry-level model, which the automaker recently confirmed would be called the Sports Series (its code name is P13) and make its debut early next year. The Sports Series name might sound a bit odd but it’s meant to signify that the new McLaren is more of a sports car as opposed to the high-end supercars most people associate with the brand.

In terms of styling, McLaren previously told us the Sports Series will look something like a cross between the original 12C and P1. This prototype reveals that the Sports Series may be slightly longer than existing McLaren products like the 650S and P1, despite all three cars sharing many of their internals.

Yes, the basis of the Sports Series will be the same carbon fiber monocoque chassis used in McLaren’s other cars, and borrowed from them as well will be the familiar Ricardo-built 3.8-liter V-8 engine and Graziano-sourced seven-speed SSG dual-clutch transmission. With the 650S packing 641 horsepower, output in the Sports Series will likely start around 500 hp, providing a healthy performance gap between the two.

So apart from less performance, what else will help differentiate the Sports Series? The basic answer is price. The Sports Series is designed to challenge cars like the Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Ferrari California T and high-end versions of the Porsche 911, so it's possible we'll see pricing dip below $200k. The 650S is priced from $265,500. And like the Porsche in particular, the Sports Series will offer a number of variants designed to cater to different buyer types, from those seeking a soft grand tourer to hardcore track fans. A convertible is also planned.

McLaren recently started a teaser campaign for the new Sports Series that revealed a part of the car’s design. As mentioned, the world debut will take place early next year, most likely at March’s 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Sales in the U.S. should start towards the end of 2015 or early the following year.

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