Thursday, November 21, 2013

McLaren Designer Frank Stephenson Says More Mainstream Hatchback May Come out of Woking

McLaren’s preferred segment of the automotive market usually has it battling it out in the highest echelons of performance and engineering against an increasingly numerous crowd of increasingly competent models made by new and old manufacturers.

However, while many are trying to break into the supercar niche, the Woking-based company is apparently mulling a way out and starting to make a lower-priced (but hopefully not overly-watered down) interpretation of their philosophy.

That’s the information collected by Autovisie magazine from renowned designer Frank Stephenson, who in the past, penned models like the new MINI Cooper and the Ferrari F430 and is now working for McLaren. He explained that a €30,000 - €40,000 ($40,250 - $53,600) hatchback model built around a carbon fiber monocoque is a plausible future endeavor for the company in the future.

Now that’s a car that’s worth waiting for, if, of course, it stays true to the brand philosophy and its creation uses as little corner cutting as possible. However, if by making it this cheap they’ll lose their ethos, they might as well just take cars from other manufacturers and just make a McLaren-tuned/engineered edition, if they want more mainstream exposure...

Finally, Stephenson expressed his feelings about the modern automotive design scene. He explained that the industry is being plagued by having its decisions taken exclusively by committees, and while this may not be so obviously bad for the stuff you don’t see or use directly, when it comes to styling, it has a definite detrimental effect. He points to Audi (and its design yawn-fest) as an example of what to steer away from.

Note: Photos used here are of the non-Stephenson-designed X1 concept; it shows McLaren is willing to "break free of the norm," though.

By Andrei Nedelea



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