McLaren’s plan to introduce a new model each year continues with the 650S, designed to sit between the 12C and its recently introduced hybrid P1.
The announcement is not without some confusion though.
This is ‘not’ the compact P13, the model intended to compete with the Porsche 911, and neither does it strictly speaking fit mid-way between the 12C and P1 – that would imply a 750bhp £500,000 supercar.
Instead it’s a McLaren “..developed to offer the enthusiast driver the ultimate in luxury, engagement and excitement, as well as dramatic yet beautiful styling.”
As expected, the 650 in 650S refers to the new car’s power output (or 641bhp in imperial money), while ‘S’ stands for Sport – as if the 12C wasn’t already sporty enough. Power is provided by the same 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine used in the 12C and P1 with key improvements made to its handling, transmission, drivability and driver engagement.
It will be more than fast enough for most customer’s tastes, with 95% of its 678Nm peak torque spread between 3000rpm and 7000rpm. That’s enough to reach 207mph and sprint from 0-62mph in 3.0 secs. McLaren say “..the 650S revs like a racing car but retains low-speed flexibility.”
Its design is clearly inspired by the McLaren P1, showcasing McLaren’s new design language which will eventually make its way to the regular 12C which continues in production.
“As always with McLaren, the new design is there for good engineering reasons,” says McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt. “The newly designed front bumper improves downforce and steering turn-in. The high speed handling balance is now even better. The LED lights use less power and last longer.”
The 650S will stand toe-to-toe with the Ferrari 458 Speciale, using several aero features from the 12C GT3 including a distinctive rear three-piece bumper and enhanced Airbrake system. A new five-spoke lightweight forged ‘650S’ alloy wheel is unique to the model, clothed in specially developed Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres wearing the branded ‘MC1’ label.
The 650S offers a more cosseting feel inside than its Ferrari rival, with a mixture of hand-stitched Alcantara juxtaposing with its exposed carbon fibre monocell. Luxuries such as satellite navigation, DAB or SIRIUS radio and air conditioning are all standard while customers can further personalise their car by selecting from carbon fibre race seats, an extended leather pack and further use of carbon fibre trim throughout the interior.
A rear-view camera and electrically adjusting steering column can also be specified, further blurring the line between race car and luxury sports car.
McLaren have enhanced their ProActive Chassis Control (PCC) suspension system for the 650S, recalibrating both powertrain and suspension settings to improve driver engagement – these changes are most pronounced in ‘sport’ mode which has been retained alongside ‘normal’ and ‘track’ modes.
The all-new 650S Coupé and Spider will debut at next month’s Geneva motor show on Tuesday 4th March, where they will join the P1 and 12C.