When the McLaren 12C was first launched it was heavily criticised for having no real personality: It was very clinical and capable, both in the way it drove and the way it looked. This was something McLaren was looking to rectify in the 650S.
It definitely has more personality; the 650S turns heads wherever it goes thanks largely to the new nose, which is a double for the one used on the P1 supercar. It now has bolder vents and more stylish headlamps with LED lights.
Much like the 12C it's available as a coupe or this hard-top Spider version. Supercars are designed for pace, not practicality. However, the 650S is easier to live with than you might imagine. There's a deep and wide boot in the front and this Spider has a bit of extra storage space where the roof is stored when it's lowered.
The dash layout is very clean and functional – exactly what you'd expect from McLaren. The centre console is dominated by a large touch screen which controls the satellite navigation, phone and radio settings. One word of warning though; while the scissor doors may look the business, you need to find extra-large parking spaces to be able to get in and out.
Moving on to performance, as you'd expect it's pretty mind blowing. No surprises when you consider that a lot of the technology has come from its bigger brother, the McLaren P1 hyper car. It's powered by a 641bhp 3.8 twin turbo which is good for 0-100 in 5.7 seconds, with a top speed of 207mph. There's more torque, too, now up to 678 Newton meters – noticeably more than the performance version of the hard-core Ferrari 458 speciale. The steering is virtually perfect, which means you can really place the car exactly where you want to on the road. In fact the only down-side we've come across is that the aero pack which helps hunker the car down on the road, does have a tendency to bottom out, especially at pace.
What makes it even more incredible is that when you switch the settings into comfort mode, you can use it quite comfortably as an everyday runabout. It simply glides over pot holes and imperfections at low speed even better than some mass-produced cars.
So to sum up, the McLaren 650S is an improved evolution of the 12C. It's faster, more technologically advanced, stylish and has a bit more personality too, making it a serious challenger to rival models from Ferrari and Lamborghini.
October 2, 2015