Funny how a country that developed the most boring game in the world (cricket) could do just the opposite with an automobile. Though the new McLaren 650S comes in other colors, I’d order mine as tested, in Volcanic Orange. No one buys this car to fly under the radar anyway, so why pretend?
Slammed between the MP4-12C and the supercar P1, McLaren claims the new 650S has 25% new parts, lots of carbon fiber and weighs a bit less, but those new parts have created an incredible car.
The “650S” designation comes from the horsepower (actually 641 HP stateside, up 25 HP from the 12C) and the S, of course, indicates the spider configuration.
And that much horsepower with 500 ft.- pounds of torque, translates to 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and through 1/4 mile in 10.5 seconds. All channeled through a new 7 speed dual-clutch auto…
There are lots of reasons to buy the 650S, but abject lust tops the list. A P1 nose, huge air scoops, the things you can see are compelling. Even more compelling is the uprated software and spring rates supported on standard Pirelli P-Zeros and standard ceramic brakes.
Dihedral doors swing up and away, taking up no more room than a regular car door.
Understated but cutting edge, the interior is well thought out and not the hodge podge that other supercars can be. Everything you see or touch is luxurious but purposeful.
Gauges pointed slightly toward the driver, beautiful seats combine elegance with a race-ready sportiness. Never designed to compete with a Range Rover, there is, however, enough room upfront for a small overnight bag, and there’s a small parcel shelf for, well, something small…very small. Hauling anything but ass is not the purpose here.
And the drive?
Pottering around the near north side of Chicago with McLaren dealer Rob Mancuso, headed for Lake Shore Drive, the least aggressive chassis mode makes for a wonderfully compliant ride, and on anything other than a track, just set it and forget it.
But enough of side streets, through a wicked tunnel, shift down to second, and hang on. Forget what you’ve heard (literally) about turbos muffling sound, the McLaren 650S screams.
Ungodly fast from any gear, the car is so quick the computer barely catches up when you are at full throttle. And it simply goes where you look…point and shoot.
I drove the MP4-12C a couple of years ago and the difference is staggering, as is the price, but McLaren has them standing in line for the new 650S.
Other journalists justifiably compare this car to the 458 Italia; the cars are the same size and shape, but the 650S is faster, both on paper and on the road, and it won’t be until the 458 Speciale that Ferrari draws even.
FYI-my ride didn’t have the optional lift capacity so uphill grades into gas stations make this option mandatory for real world driving.
The future? McLaren says ALL its cars will be hybrids in the next 10 years, and trickle down from the P1 will most likely cut that number in half.
The McLaren 650S is honestly the most comfortable, well thought out, fastest and most fun car I think I have ever driven. Damn good stuff!
BEFORE YOU BUY, CONSIDER:
- Attorney on retainer
- Rear bumper sticker that says, “I SUPPORT LOCAL POLICE”
- Optional lift for nasty driveways
458 Serie Specialie
Porsche 911 Turbo
Want a test drive, too? See Rob Mancuso @ McLaren Chicago…
77 W. Huron St.
Chicago, Il 60654