McLaren 650s Spider

Another legend by the Brits

"For all the zappers around, here's a fact: 650S is faster than a Ferrari 458 and a Lamborghini Huracan!"

"What took me off my toes in a 650S is the loud hissing rumble" said Ershad

"The Spider behaves exactly like a coupe"

"It's a model that sits in between the 12C and sold-out P1"

I haven't seen many McLarens in town and that's because they aren't many out there. The name itself is a legend and has a long association with one of the world's most thrilling sport that we see on TV - the Formula 1.

Brits were quite successful in the Formula 1 arena and when they got into producing street cars with Formula one technology, things didn't go quite well. It all started with the company's first car, the McLaren F1, which was the fastest production car until 2005 when Bugatti Veyron overtook the spot. Over the course, there were attempts to see out projects like M81 Mustang and Maverick. The next major project was the SLR which was McLaren Mercedes "collaboration". And then the 12C arrived in 2011 as their second production car after the F1. Better known as MP4 12C, the car was certainly not a gamble rather a reminder to the world that McLaren is back. After two years, the limited production P1 was unveiled in Geneva.

So that's the history part. Today, we present you our experience with the latest member of McLaren family - the all new 650S. It's a model that sits in between the 12C and sold-out P1. Our tester was an open top Spider variant with a striking Tarocco Orange skin. For all the zappers around, here's a fact: 650S is faster than a Ferrari 458 and a Lamborghini Huracan!

Driving Impressions
0 to 100kph in just three seconds is what the tech sheets read while in our test we managed to lose a couple of seconds. I bet things would look better with a track driver and new rubbers. Out tester was built on the 12C with an addition of 25 percent new components. The front is inspired by the McLaren P1, so the design of headlights looks very similar to the shape of McLaren logo. The design team had a philosophy to chart which was "form follows function". The 650S offers a better downforce than 12C thanks to its aerodynamic design and a P1 derived integrated front splitter.

The car uses the same carbon fiber monocell chassis seen in the coupe version and so it feels very light. The open top Spyder adds an extra 40kg (which is minimal compare to any cars in the segment) that's coming from the retractable hard top and roof mechanism. The two-piece retractable hard top can be automatically operated in less than 17 seconds at any speed up to 30km/h.

The 650S still shares the same twin-turbo 3.8 liter V8 of the 12C. The engine has been upgraded with new pistons and heads. It has a revised valve timing with bigger intercoolers transmitting power to the rear wheels though an updated 7 speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Hence, the output gets an extra 25hp to reach 650hp along with 680 Nm of torque. We ticked a figure of 200 kph plus in just 9 seconds which pretty much is the best I've done!

Carbon ceramic discs with forged aluminum hubs are a show stopper and something which was always reminded to the driver. I had to push the pedals very hard for even the slightest of braking but then how can I miss out the fact that I was honing a street legal F1 car? It's part of the package. On the move, 650S was always a stiff ride which was contributed to by the proactive chassis control suspensions. Those stiff springs in the front and rear can make you feel as if you are driving a race car as the response directs.

We didn't notice any compromise in the inside, unlike other sports cars. Premium leather with an orange beading, usage of graphite and wood and a touchscreen in the center console wraps almost everything. And yes, the new variant has got electric adjustments for the steering column and seating positions.

What took me off my toes in the 650S is the loud hissing rumble. Open the top, turn off the stereo and push down the throttle as hard as you can with the Sport mode selected - such power that it makes my head hit the seat. The torque kicks in to maximum in the mid-range and so the excitement starts after we tick three digit speeds. There are different modes namely Normal, Sport and Track for suspension and powertrain options. Now as we know it's quick off the line, we sited our doubts in the handling part. The car felt lighter with a carbon chassis and with so much power in offering, naturally, I am concerned about it. Forget about braking in straight lines; the 650S stood firm and stable even on corners and bends. It's all because of the combination of those strong carbon ceramic brakes and rear spoiler that pops up when required.

With wider tires and power adequately distributed to all four wheels, road grip was something of a given. There's a rear window that acts as a wind deflector to reduce cabin noise. It needed an awful lot of space for turning circles. It took me a little time to get used to entering and exiting the car through those swing action doors. Also be aware that it's impossible to park a 650S in a parallel parking area because of the doors that rise upwards which can easily hit the car in the next lane. The overall ride was engaging while the steering gave me the best of confidence with instant response in high speeds.

With the hard roof down, the Spider behaves exactly like a coupe and there's a wonder why more buyers will go for it. There's drama and a lot of uproar when the roofs are down and it behaves exactly like a coupe when they are closed. It may not drive like a daily ride in the city due those little issues related to the swing doors, and the heavy braking thrust needed for even the most nimble stops and had a tendency to keep the aggression checked in speed limited roads. However, the 650S is a beautiful beast once you ride out of city limits with no speed cameras. It reminds you of McLaren's Formula one pedigree and when I tell you that its faster than a Ferrari 458 and a Lamborghini Huracan, isn't that something!?

Pros: glitzy style and design, superb handling, powerful engine, hissing engine roar
Cons: rear visibility, driver entry/exit tight, swing doors need a lot of space in parking spots, very expensive
Rivals: Ferrari 458, Lamborghini Huracan
Engine: 3.8 liter twin turbo V8, 650 hp, 678 Nm
Transmission: 7 Speed SSG with Pre-Cog, RWD
Performance: 0-100 kph: 3 sec, 12.5 L /100 km, Top speed: 330 kph
Weight: 1468 kg 

4.5 STARS 

Drivetrain Layout

Longitudinal Mid-Engine, RWD

Engine Configuration

V8 Twin Turbo / 3799cc

Engine HP / rpm

650 / 7250

Torque Nm / rpm

678 / 6000


7 Speed SSG

Dry Weight (kg )


Body Structure

Carbon Fiber MonoCell with Aluminium Front and Rear Frames


Active Aerodynamics

McLaren Airbrake


ProActive Chassis Control


Carbon Ceramic Discs with Forged Aluminium Hubs (F 394mm/R 380mm)


ProActive Chassis Control modes

Normal / Sport / Track

Powertrain Modes

Winter / Normal / Sport / Track


Maximum speed

329 km/h



0-100 kph

3.0 s*


Engine: 3.80 liter biturbo V8, 641bhp @ 7250pm, 500lb ft @ 6000rpm
Performance: 2.9secs 0-100kph, 333kph (Coupe) 329kph (Spider), 11.7L/100
Transmission: seven speed dual clutch, rear wheel drive
Coupe: 1428kg
Spider: 1468kg

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