The middle McLaren.
Move over MP4-12C and P1, there’s a new McLaren in town and its sitting right between the two British siblings. The new McLaren 650S however, won’t fall victim to the dreaded “Middle Child Syndrome” and become an overlooked car in the lineup; it promises to offer new levels of driver engagement and excitement that are unmatched by any other supercar.
Named after its output, the McLaren 650S utilizes the same 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged McLaren M838T V-8 engine that puts out a stunning 650 PS (641 bhp) and works alongside the advanced suspension, aerodynamics, and steering to essentially make the driver a part of the vehicle. The ‘S’ at the end of the power-filled name further hints at the DNA of the supercar and stands for the ‘Sport’ that McLaren poured into the 650S.
The sold-out display of technology that is the McLaren P1 provided the basis for the design of the new 650S. Available in either Coupe or a Spider with retractable hard-top, the McLaren 650S has the same sleek but curvaceous shape and figure of its more powerful sibling but incorporates the latest in active aerodynamics technology from the British automaker.
“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.”
A clean but dynamic fascia defines the McLaren 650S. Things start at the integrated front splitter of which blades flow upwards and towards the rear of the supercar as they taper off into the LED headlights that bear resemblance to the P1. Door blades mounted behind the front wheels allow airflow to be expelled along each side of the 650S and aid in the creation of downforce at the front axle.
As air moves towards the rear, it is either sucked into the new intakes that house a pair of radiators or pushed onto the new active aerodynamics’ McLaren Airbrake. The unit had been fitted on the MP4-12C Coupe and Spider, but now features new functionalities that create even greater levels of downforce and stability. The McLaren Airbrake can be deployed whenever the complex computers determine that extra downforce is necessary on the 650S, instead of just under braking or in ‘Aero’ drive modes as with the MP4-12C models. Beneath the large wing sits a new diffuser that is similar to the GT3 racing version on the MP4-12C to create a Venturi effect beneath the rear axle.
The new P1-inspired design and high-tech systems on the McLaren 650S results in a car that is just as aerodynamically efficient as the MP4-12C with the same drag-coefficient, but uses the air more efficiently to create more downforce. This is evident at 150 mph where downforce has been increased by 24-percent for greater overall performance.
“McLaren is a fast moving company, continually striving for improvements and technical advantages. We are always seeking to innovate, to be the class leaders, to bring new technologies and thinking to market. That’s our Formula 1 heritage shining through,” explains Flewitt. “Everything we’ve learnt from the 12C and the McLaren P1™ has gone into the design and development of the McLaren 650S.”
Technology is showcased in the advanced ProActive Chassis Control (PCC) that was originally developed by the British automaker. In the McLaren 650S the PCC system offers three different modes: Normal, Sport, and Track that are isolated from the drivetrain and allow drivers even greater amounts of control over the supercar. The PCC system also incorporates the new five-spoke ‘650S’ lightweight forged wheels with Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires or the optional bespoke ‘MC1’ tires that were developed in cooperation with Pirelli specifically for the 650S to offer the best overall performance on the asphalt.
Just because the new McLaren 650S promises to be the most engaging and best driver’s car in its class doesn’t mean that it sacrifices driving comfort and luxury. The supercar has been designed to offer an executive-sedan-like smooth ride and doesn’t have the same stripped-out interior like other supercars. Standard features like IRIS satellite navigation with Bluetooth, DAB digital radio/SIRIUS, wireless tethering, and audio streaming and voice control give drivers the convenience of a “normal” vehicle. As with most supercars, options are a plenty, with fixed-back carbon racing seats, carbon fiber trim, rear parking camera, and more that can be had for a pretty penny.
The new McLaren 650S will make its global debut at the 2014 Geneva International Motor Show on March 4th. Pricing and further specifications will be released at a later date. The new 650S will be available as a Coupe and Spider, and go on sale in the spring of 2014.
McLaren 650S Gallery