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Driven: McLaren 650s Coupe Review

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DRIVEN: McLaren 650s Coupe Review

Here is our first drive review of the McLaren 650s Coupe.

What’s the McLaren 650s Coupe all about?

The McLaren 650s is McLaren’s best value supercar. The 650s is the next generation of the 12C, and has been developed using lessons learnt in the McLaren P1 project.

McLaren 650s 2014 SMMT (25)

The 650s uses a 3.8-litre V8 twin turbo engine that puts out 641bhp, 678Nm of torque, and can do 0-60 is 3 seconds flat. The supercar will top out at 207 mph on a straight, and uses a 7 speed, dual clutch, gearbox that shifts instantly. Let’s see how all these figures work out on the road.

McLaren 650s 2014 SMMT (34)

How does it drive?

Driving the 650s is possibly the best driving experience you can get for the money, everything about this car is near perfect. Sitting inside the car, the pedals and steering wheel sit dead straight in front of you, and ergonomically feel well placed. You hit the start button, the V8 sparks up, your toes curl, and you are good to go. One click on the right shift paddle and you’re in first gear, the handbrake releases itself, and you’re off. Getting in and driving the McLaren couldn’t be easier.

McLaren 650s Coupe Review Review

The straight line performance of the McLaren 650s is monstrous. To give you an idea of just how crazy the performance is, 0-100mph in the car takes just 5.7 seconds, and 0-186mph in just 25.4 seconds. Behind the wheel, when you put the car to full throttle, it accelerates faster than you can react. It just grips and goes, then when you are at the top of the rev range the gear change is instant, and you’re off again. Its acceleration feels relentless.

McLaren 650s Coupe Review Review

The McLaren has a few different drive programs that manage how the car behaves. So, depending if you are on the road or track, you can harshen things up or soften them down a little. Even with the car in the most comfortable mode you are still firmly glued to the road in the corners, and overall the ride quality is reasonably comfortable for a supercar. The steering feels very lively in your hands, enabling you to sense the level of grip available on the road.

External Track SMMT 2014-0001

The 650s comes with carbon ceramic brakes as standard, which have immense stopping power and work very nicely with the car. McLaren have finely tuned the brake pedal feel in the 650s; the pedal is very hard, and the brake modulation is consistent throughout the range. This advanced adjustment actually plays a big part in your overall awareness of what the car is doing at all times, allowing you to feel everything through the wheel and pedals.

McLaren 650s 2014 SMMT (48)

So the McLaren 650s clearly has top shelf supercar performance, and to make that power a lot more usable, McLaren have put careful planning into the visibility from the driver’s perspective. From the driving seat the forwards visibility is as good as it comes, and looking backwards over both shoulders is also very good because of the large rear window and adjustable rear spoiler. Also, if you want to hear more of that V8, you can drop the rear window down for a bit more drama; I doubt you would ever get tired of that noise.

What’s it like inside?

Inside the McLaren there is a very minimal design concept. There is a clear race car feel to the McLaren, as you would expect. The dials and the steering wheel are very well designed and have a special look and feel about them.

The 650s features a P1 style entertainment system that is neatly housed in the central partitioning console in the car. The heating controls for each half of the 650s are fitted to the doors; one for the passenger and another for the driver, and it actually works really well and frees up precious space on the centre console.

However, the most impressive thing inside the 650s is in the boot; the 3.8-litre V8. There is a glass window on the rear section of the car allowing you to look in from time to time and make sure it’s still there.

McLaren 650s 2014 SMMT (39)

The Experience

The McLaren 650s delivers, and then exceeds the full supercar experience. Starting with the looks, the car is very exotic and exciting to look at, sitting just inches from the ground it is clear that the 650s means business. Getting into any car with scissor doors always feels impressive, and is a constant reminder that you are going to experience something different to most cars.

McLaren 650s 2014 SMMT (22)

The driving experience is insane, it’s brutally fast, and simple to use for your average driver, but the 650s will also challenge the professional driver at all levels.

Verdict

The McLaren 650s is quite possibly the ultimate supercar package. It’s beautifully designed, perfectly engineered and brilliantly well packaged together. We knew McLaren had done a great job moving from the 12C generation to the 650s, but who would have thought it would have been this good?

McLaren 650s Coupe Review Review

Video Highlights

Specification

McLaren 650s Coupe

  • Price: £195,250
  • Engine: 3.8-litre V8 Twin Turbo
  • Power: 641bhp
  • Torque: 678Nm
  • Transmission: 7 Speed Dual clutch – Seamless Shift 
  • 0-62mph: 3.0 Seconds
  • 0-124mph: 8.4 Seconds
  • Top speed: 207mph
  • Weight: 1,428kg
  • Economy combined: 24.2mpg
  • CO2: 275g/km

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Author: Paul Hadley

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