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  • McLaren are on a real mission at the moment and after receiving rave reviews for the P1

  • hyper car, they've decided to inject some of its magic into the 12C to create this - the

  • new 650S.

  • We've come here to the Ascari race circuit in Southern Spain and we'll be driving it

  • at the track, but also out on the Ronda road. As you can imagine, I'm quite looking forward

  • to finding out what it's like.

  • Just weeks after its Geneva Motor Show debut, the 650S really moves the styling on from

  • the 12C. That new front end is inspired by the P1with the same LED lights and carbon

  • fibre front splitter, new air blades on the bottom of the doors that funnel air into the

  • side vents, while at the back, there's an optional carbon fibre bumper which is meant

  • to echo McLaren's GT3 car. Lightweight forged alloys, 19-inches at the front, 20-inches

  • at the rear an stickier Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres are now standard, as are the frankly

  • enormous carbon ceramic brake discs. It looks great too, especially with the striking new

  • aurora blue paint.

  • Now, there is quite a good reason that I'm starting here at the track. McLaren might

  • say it's not a stripped out special, but let me talk you through some of the performance

  • figures the 650S has to offer. The 3.8-litre twin-turbo engine has got new pistons and

  • cylinder heads, it's got more boost pressure for the twin turbos so it now produces 641bhp

  • and 768nm of torque.

  • To give you the kind of performance that offers, it does 0-62mph in just six-seconds flat,

  • an goes on to 207mph. It also does 0-100mph in just 5.7 seconds - .7 slower than the P1

  • which has significantly more power.

  • So, here we are in the pit-lane, let's go and find out what it's like.

  • The 650S is available as both a coupe and a spyder - that's the drop-top that we tried

  • around Ascari. The helmets were for our safety, but that also meant I couldn't hear much in

  • the cockpit.

  • It really does feel like 641 brake horse power. Everything happens so fast that you've just

  • got to try and keep up with it. The shift times for the gearbox, the seven-speed auto(matic),

  • have been improved even further and there's a cylinder cut system to make the exhaust

  • sound even louder in sport or track mode.

  • I'm in track mode at the moment for the powertrain and the gearbox, and it's the most extreme

  • mode there is. You really can feel how nailed down the car is to the road - it's so stable

  • at high speeds. Even when you're going through these tight corners, you just can't feel it

  • move around at all despite all that performance. It's really impressive.

  • Starting at the track was definitely the way to feel all those chassis changes at work,

  • but what's the 650S like on the road?

  • As we've already seen at Ascari, the 650S has some serious firepower. The performance

  • figures are intimidating. McLaren also say that here, driving on the road, it's even

  • more comfortable than a 12C. The engineers last night told me they did a lot of work

  • over 12-months working on the damping and they fitted new dampers which Chris Goodwin

  • told me are similar to the ones fitted to the P1 project. They allow for a stiffer side-wall

  • of tyre to be fitted and stiffer front and rear springs without any loss in ride-comfort.

  • The 650S is very refined for a car of this type and to increase the level of creature

  • comfort on the inside - although the cabin is very similar to the 12C - every 650S comes

  • with an Alcantara steering wheel, and Alcantara here on the dash and the roof lining.

  • The car we're driving has some optional leather trim, but I've seen one of the ones with Alcantara

  • and it looks fantastic. There is also the option of some bucket racing seats that are

  • completely made of carbon. They save about 15 kilos in weight, they're very similar to

  • the seats in the P1 and are really, really cracking - a must have option in my opinion.

  • But forgetting all that, what's the 650S like on the road? Well, the difference in performance

  • between this and a 12C is less pronounced here on the road - you can't quite feel the

  • extra power and that's mainly because it's so fast, the moments that you actually have

  • a spare road in front of you where you can actually release full-throttle, but make no

  • mistake, the 650S is a seriously quick car. The 12C Spyder was probably one of the quickest

  • cars I've ever driven on the road, and the 650S retains that same almighty acceleration.

  • As soon as you hear that turbo induction woosh and suck up above about 3-and-a-half thousand

  • RPM, it just disappears up the road.

  • It feels like the 650S has everything turned up ever so slightly, so there's more grip,

  • more noise, more power and more pace. The brakes are better than before and offer far

  • more natural feel. The steering is superb, but the car rarely feels playful - it's much

  • more of a serious driving tool.

McLaren are on a real mission at the moment and after receiving rave reviews for the P1

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McLaren 650S review

  • 88 3
    hohoyao posted on 2015/04/10
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