McLaren revealed its new 650S, in both Coupe and Spider variations, at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The new design joins the range as an additional model alongside the 12C and P1, and learns from both models technically and stylistically.
The 650S badge designation refers to the power output – 641 bhp, – of the British-built McLaren M838T twin turbo V8 engine. ‘S’ stands for ‘Sport’. With a dry weight of 1330kg, the car achieves a power-to-weight ratio of 493 bhp per tonne.
Performance-wise, the latest addition to the McLaren range accelerates to 62mph from rest in 3.0 seconds and can reach 124mph in 8.4 seconds. The standing quarter mile (400m) takes 10.5 seconds, and top speed is 207 mph.
According to McLaren, the aerodynamic performance of the 650S is also as efficient as the 12C, even achieving the same drag coefficient figure. Downforce levels are increased by 24 per cent produced at 150mph.
As with the 12C, and the limited edition P1, the 650S models use a Formula 1-inspired carbon-fibre chassis. Weighing 75kg, the MonoCell forms the centre of the car.
In terms of the vehicle’s exterior styling, McLaren’s Design Director Frank Stephenson explains he wanted to share the design language of the McLaren P1 – “our new family face” – and take advantage of new technology, such as full LED lights, while working with the engineering demands to create both an efficient and effective car design. “The LEDs give a lot more freedom in design. As we did with the McLaren P1, we also wanted to reflect the McLaren ‘speed marque’ logo as a new headlamp signature.” The LEDs perform all lighting functions, including dipped and main beam, and direction indicators.
The large front splitter, front air intakes and door blades behind the front wheels are all inspired by the style of the P1. According to Stephenson, they also improve ‘visual drama’. “These are dramatic cars to drive. I want to reflect that in the new design.”
The custom side intakes fitted to the 650S feed large radiators which help provide the cooling requirements of the mid-mounted engine.
At the rear, a new three-piece bumper reflects the design of the 12C GT3 racing car, and accentuates the large rear diffuser. The engine bay, fully visible on both the Coupe and Spider models, features machined alloy engine oil and coolant caps to enhance the visual appeal.
The McLaren Airbrake has also been re-tweaked. The newly developed system means the Airbrake deploys whenever the car senses extra downforce is required, such as when decelerating or when going over a sharp crest at speed, rather than simply under braking or when manually operated in ‘Aero’ mode.
In a straight line, under hard acceleration, the Airbrake automatically lowers, to minimise drag, similar to the DRS function in Formula 1.