When the chief engineer behind the McLaren F1 makes something, everyone takes notice. It honestly does not matter at all what it is. Of course, Gordon Murray’s most recent mind progeny just so happened to be a lightweight supercar powered by a naturally aspirated V12, but I’m half convinced the man could create a new kind of vacuum cleaner and the world would stop. I bet he’d even give that Dyson guy a run for his money.
This is fortunate for Murray, because the next target of his penchant for problem solving is precisely the kind of car that the sort of enthusiasts who love his work typically enjoy hating: SUVs. Even worse, electric SUVs. Just think of all the weight, and the batteries. The tall center of gravity. The excess of interior volume for fleshy people and their fleshy people problems. It sounds dreadful!
Well, Gordon Murray Design’s electric SUVs will supposedly be different, as the engineer told Autocar in a story published Monday that they’d “change the way we think about range anxiety and vehicle dynamics.” We don’t know when they’re coming, let alone how much they’ll cost. This is pretty much all he’s willing to share about them at the moment:
Murray remained guarded on specifics, saying only that one of the SUVs will be a front-wheel-drive four-seater, the other a four-wheel-drive five-seater, and that each will be priced with accessibility in mind.
Autocar understands that one will wear a GMA [Gordon Murray Automotive] badge when it arrives in its final form, while the other is being developed for an unnamed third-party manufacturer.
GMD has done consultancy work for other brands before. The upcoming 2017 TVR Griffith was supposedly designed on the firm’s iStream chassis, even though GMD recently said it hasn’t discussed the project with TVR in quite some time. Whatever form these SUVs take, Murray and company are approaching them with commitment to the same principles that define the T.33 and T.50 — namely lightweight construction, efficient engineering and relatively compact and tidy proportions. No, I can’t imagine a modern battery-electric SUV like that either, but then I didn’t design the Brabham BT46B fan car.
Of course, that’s not to say you aren’t allowed to be skeptical — I, too, am skeptical. After all, we live in a time when BMW’s first standalone M model in almost half a century happens to be an SUV, and not a small one at that. The cynic in me says that, much like the Cayenne to the 911, this is the car Murray needs to make so that vehicles like the T.33 and T.50 remain commercially viable. Either way, he’ll have a lot of convincing to do — though I get the impression he prefers it that way.