McLaren has surprised the world by releasing full details and images of its latest supercar ahead of the Geneva Auto Show next month. The new 641 hp 650S appears to reside in a special place somewhere between McLaren’s “affordable” 12C and the stratospheric supercar realm of the million dollar P1.
The 650S, which receives its less than original name from the new 641 hp V8, doesn't seem to deliver much in the way of aesthetic surprises.
“Everything we learned from the 12C and P1 has gone into the design and development of the 650S,” says McLaren CEO, Mike Flewitt.
The 650S’ nose certainly carries over design traits from the P1 while the roofline, cabin treatment, dihedral doors and massive engine intakes are straight from the 12C. The engine cover and lines leading towards to the car’s integrated spoiler/airbrake are also remarkably similar to the 12C. The side mirrors on the other hand have definitely received some attention. Overall the car appears heavier and more substantial than the 12C but not as extreme in execution as the P1.
But even though the 12C and 650S deliver similar drag coefficient figures, the latter is reportedly capable of a 24 percent increase in downforce. McLaren has upped the these figures by adding a new integrated front splitter that not only helps push the nose down but also redirects air to special door blades behind the front wheels, further increasing forward grip. These aerodynamic additions, plus the additional horsepower should give the new McLaren a definitive handling advantage over the 12C on the track.
Beneath the new supercar’s transparent engine cover resides an updated and more powerful version of McLaren’s award winning and much loved twin-turbo V8. The newly tweaked M838T engine develops a healthy 641 hp versus the 12C’s 616 hp, a welcome power increase, but nowhere near the 903 hybrid-horsepower output of the P1.
Keeping traction to the road and the car between the ditches will be the job of the new 5-spoke lightweight forged alloy wheels. The 650S’ bespoke Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires were developed in partner with the Italian tire manufacturer and designed to offer optimal handling under both road and track situations.
Performance figures for the 650S (the "S" stands for Sport) unfortunately won’t be available until Geneva, but the company has confirmed that further development of the firm’s sublime Pro Active Chassis Control (PCC) suspension setup is part of the package. According to McLaren the new PCC system has been recalibrated for the 650S, with special attention paid to “Sport Mode” in order to provide drivers a more engaging experience.
But while tweaks to the car’s handling, gearbox and drivability are important it’s the updated active rear spoiler that steals the show. Whereas the airbrake/spoiler in the 12C was activated under hard braking, the revised wing system in the 650S now participates when it senses that increased downforce is required.
The 650S interior receives similar design treatments to its 12C stablemate. Carbon fiber accents populate the interior and steering wheel, and on the info-tech front, there's an IRIS sat-nav system with Bluetooth telephony, a DAB digital radio, wireless tethering, audio streaming and voice control as standard. Optional amenities include P1 inspired fixed-back carbon racing seats, a rear parking camera and a more extensively carbon fiber saturated interior for those who just can’t get enough. Open top goodies for the Spider version are sure to make their way into the mix just like the 12C.
The global reveal of the McLaren 650S Coupé and Spider will take place March 4th, 2014 at the 84th International Geneva Motor Show. Watch for Gizmag’s full coverage of the Show and more on the 650S next month.