When McLaren finally unveils its successor to the legendary F1 later this year, there won’t be a V-12 engine in sight as the famous motorsports company and now full scale sports car manufacturer has adopted a ‘less is more’ philosophy. While rivals such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani believe that a V-12 engine is a core attribute of the supercar, McLaren says the engine has been made obsolete by smaller turbocharged V-8s.

The information was revealed by McLaren managing director Antony Sheriff, who spoke recently with Dutch website Autovisie.

“The V-12 is a thing of the past,” he said. “The engine belongs in a museum.”

Sheriff pointed out that turbocharged V-8 engines can offer similar performance but weigh less, have less complexity and moving parts (thus less internal friction), are smaller and thus can be packaged better, and deliver improved fuel economy. Not surprisingly, McLaren’s latest supercar, the MP4-12C, has adopted a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 engine as its sole powerplant, and the F1 successor due later this year is expected to feature a similar engine, albeit matched with a hybrid system to deliver even more performance.

Sheriff pointed out that all McLarens going into future will feature a V-8, though he conceded that a V-6 unit was also a possibility. He explained that V-6 engines are lighter yet, as well as being more compact, which further aids handling and overall performance. In all cases, McLaren will stick with a mid-engine layout for its lineup, however.  

Is Sheriff correct in his thinking? Does it matter what type of engine a supercar has or is only the end result, i.e. the overall performance, what matters? Let us know in the comments below.