In the wake of the McLaren P1, the supercar the world just can’t get enough of, comes yet another beast from the British automaker – the McLaren 650S. Named for its power output (650PS in metric power), this will undoubtedly be a truly exhilerating car. Mid-engined, its top speed will be 331kph, with 0-60 times of just 3.1 seconds. The 3.8L V8 turbo engine churns out a most impressive 641 bhp, regulated through a 7 speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
Things can get a little confusing, quickly. It’s a little like an updated 12C, yet in the McLaren line-up, it joins the range alongside the 12C – though higher in the pecking order – and the fabulous P1. Wherever it takes its design cues from, it really is a beautiful car. McLaren say the car’s design was inspired by the sold-out P1, and on the front, the P1’s influence is obvious. Aerodynamics is the name of the game here, and an integrated front splitter increases downforce while unique door blades just behind the front wheels also contribute to front end grip and balance. The bodywork is functional as well as beautiful; aerodynamic performance is the same as the 12C yet the air is worked more efficiently – at 150mph downforce levels are increased by 24 per cent, according to the company.
At the back the McLaren Airbrake (originally fitted to the 12C and 12C Spider) can be found, deploying whenever the car senses extra downforce might just come in handy. Beneath this the three-piece bumper, which isn’t too different from the GT3 version of the McLaren 12C, rounds out the car nicely.
Unlike some supercars, however, it isn’t just a stripped-out racing beast. The 650S comes with satellite navigation, Bluetooth connection, digital radio, voice control, audio streaming and wireless tethering as standard, and carbon racing seats, a rear parking camera and extended interior carbon fibre are all optional upgrades should you desire.
The LED lights are new, as are the five-spoke lightweight forged alloys with Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres developed between McLaren and Pirelli especially for the model. When it does become available, you can get it as either a fixed-head coupé or as a Spider, with a retractable folding hard top. Given that it’s the younger sibling of the limited-edition €1 million+ McLaren P1, expect the 650S to be priced well south of that figure. Initial estimates say that prospective buyers will be shelling out somewhere in the region of €240,000 for the pleasure of its company. Anyone who may have lost out on the chance to own a P1 may be ever so slightly mollified by the 650S. More likely, however, it’ll draw customers away from the 12C which sits just below it in the rankings – it’s only around €25,000 more and gets certain things like ceramic brakes as standard – a €12,000 optional extra on the 12C.
The 650S is due to be revealed – in its Coupé and Spider format – at the Geneva Motor Show on the 4th March. Opinion may be divided as to whether it’s simply lazy designing on the part of McLaren, but we can’t wait.