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McLaren 650S First Drive

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Far More than the Sum of its Improvements
by Noah Joseph

McLaren had quite a lead to follow when it launched the MP4-12C three years ago. The legendary McLaren F1 remains a benchmark to this day, and the SLR it built for Mercedes was no slouch, either.

Engine: Twin-Turbo 3.8L V8

Transmission: 7-speed Dual-Clutch

Horsepower: 641 hp at 7250 rpm

Torque: 500 lb-ft of torque at 6000 rpm

0-60 mph: 2.9 seconds

Price: $265,500 for the Coupe and $280,225 for the Spider

The MP4-12C lived up to expectations by most accounts, with two arguable exceptions: the name and the styling. McLaren set about rectifying the former when it dropped the MP4 from the name, but the 12C is abstract at best and a misnomer at worst. Its styling, meanwhile, was finalized before Frank Stephenson came on board and lacks the visual flair of rivals like the Ferrari 458 Italia and Lamborghini Gallardo/Huracan.

The new 650S goes a long way towards rectifying both those shortcomings. Its alphanumeric nameplate may not be as evocative as other supercar handles, but with the 650 representing its metric output and an S for Sport, makes a lot more sense. Its exterior styling, meanwhile, is not just an improvement – it actually stands to inspire kids to pin pictures to their bedroom wall. Penned by the same talent behind the Ferrari F430 and Maserati MC12, it adopts the nose of the P1 and the tail of the 12C GT3 to dramatic effect.

McLaren has also upped the power and refined the aerodynamics, but since its launch less than a month ago, we suspected there was more to the 650S than just a list of upgrades. We headed to southern Spain to find out first hand.
Read the complete McLaren 650S Review at