McLaren 650S:- brings race engineering to the road...
McLaren fits the 650S Spider with an open differential, relying on a corner braking system to assist in the turns. Power steering uses hydraulic fluid pressurized by an electric pump, allowing multiple steering programs. And instead of big displacement, McLaren makes the 650S Spider's power with high compression and forced induction.
Sitting behind the cabin is a 3.8-liter V-8, its variable valve timing and twin turbos bringing output up to 641 horsepower at 7,250rpm and 500 pound-feet of torque at 6,000rpm. The heat waves I saw when looking in the rearview mirror emanating from this engine were thick enough that I considered using it to make blackened catfish. McLaren's big push with the 650S Spider is to make an everyday supercar, and in that I found it only partially successful.
The slash-opening doors require a couple of yoga poses to get in and out of the seats, and the upraised doors inevitably bash novice getter-inners' heads. The firm ride will have you longing for the Mercedes-Benz back in your driveway when out on a grocery run, as will the very limited cargo space under the bonnet. On the flip side, McLaren equips the 650S Spider with useful tech amenities. A touchscreen sits portrait-style, just like your smartphone, in the narrow center console, while the inner door handles hold each side's climate controls.
The touchscreen shows the Iris infotainment system, which includes typical features such as navigation, hands-free phone and stereo controls, but also adds native apps and connectivity. The navigation system comes with multiple map views and offers traffic avoidance routing. I had a wide range of voices, in multiple languages, to choose from for turn guidance, reflecting McLaren's global presence.
However, the 650S Spider's GPS antenna must not be very robust, or the navigation system lacks dead reckoning, as it frequently had my location off by a block or more. The 650S Spider lacked its own data connection, but invited me to tether it to my iPhone through Bluetooth or plug in a USB data dongle. The current roster of apps includes TuneIn Internet radio, a Web browser, online maps and weather. However, as Iris is built on Android, McLaren should easily be able to add new apps to existing cars.
Music plays through a Meridian audio system, with four speakers standard but upgradable to seven. Although I can't say I listened to this system much, as the engine note became the star of this show.