The 650S stands for serious horsepower! The suffix “S” in a motorcar’s nomenclature usually stands for “sport”, on occasion for “speed” or “special”. But in the instance of the latest road-going McLaren sports car, S may well stand for “Serious”. We attended its local launch at Melrose Arch, Johannesburg.
McLaren 650S PowerThis is a seriously serious supercar, and not just in terms of its bald performance figures, which are amongst the very best in the world. And quite apart from an increase in horsepower to 650 (hence the name), which translates to about 487 kW, and 678 Nm of torque at 6 000 rpm.
That high-revving torque peak illustrates that the 3,8-litre twin-turbo V8 motor has been profiled for a seriously high output, and the overall weight of the car speaks volumes of McLaren’s intent to keep the car as light as possible. Its 1 330 kg dry weight is achieved despite a specification that is extremely luxurious, and includes all the creature comforts you’d expect to find in a luxury sedan.
Standard featuresAmongst these are air-conditioning (actually a must in this type of mid-engined monster these days), IRIS satellite navigation, Bluetooth telephony, audio streaming, voice control and a rear parking camera. The cabin is trimmed in Alcantara, black in the case of the launch car on display at the 650S’s first South African viewing at Melrose Arch late last week.
In total, it is said that 25 per cent of the 650S’s components are new (compared to those on the MP4-12C)
The new everyday supercar?“The big deal for me, regards the 650S,” said Daytona CEO Justin Divaris, “ is that these ultimate supercar performance figures have been achieved in a fully-equipped car. This is no stripped-out machine intended only for track days, or hot publicity laps at the Nurburgring.”
Indeed, the car on which the 650S is based, the MP4-12C, (a car we adore at Cars.co.za - ed) is noted most often for its benign mix of driveability, with suspension able to deal with speed-bumps and Jo’burg potholes, while endowing the supercar with the fine chassis balance for which McLarens are renowned. Divaris says this car has lost none of its commuter utility (if need be) and yet it has taken chassis balance and grip to new dimensions.
Carbon ceramic brakes are fitted, along with Pirelli P Zero Corsa rubber in 235/35 R19 sizing at the front and 305/30 R20 sizing at the rear. The rims are also bespoke 650S items to go with the visual upgrade this car enjoys, boasting some styling cues to be found on the much more exclusive (and expensive) P1. Yes, while the MP4-12C might be criticized for its rather conservative styling, that barb won’t be directed the way of the 650S. The appearance changes are not just cosmetic either, as McLaren’s CEO Mike Flewitt says : “ the optimised aerodynamics on this car increase the already high level of driver involvement to be found on the stock 12C.”
Okay, okay, so it’s trick, and McLaren’s boffins are expected to deliver the best. What are the numbers, bubba?