2015 McLaren 650S Spider

It's got a 641-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine tucked into its lightweight carbon fiber chassis in a mid-engine, rear-drive configuration. The 2015 McLaren 650S is one of the most exciting new supercars to launch this year, but at the 2014 New York auto show, we were more interested in its dashboard.

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Vertical orientation

McLaren has oriented the central infotainment display vertically. This configuration allows for a narrower center stack, bringing the two seats closer to the center of the vehicle.

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Android-powered

McLaren tells us that its consumers are more comfortable with a vertical, more smartphone-like interface, which is appropriate because the software powering the infotainment is a bespoke version of the Android mobile OS.

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Monochromatic

The simple, mostly monochromatic interface puts navigation, media, apps, and telephony at the driver's fingertips.

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Rear camera

The display also integrates with the optional rear camera. Although the camera's view is very clear, it doesn't seem to take the best advantage of the screen space.

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Settings menu

In the settings menu, hints of the infotainment system's Android roots begin to show, but so does deep integration with the Meridian premium audio system.

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Onboard navigation

Interestingly, the McLaren seems to have not one, but two different navigation software systems. The main maps system features onboard maps and is unique to the McLaren.

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Android roots

Deeper in the menu system, you can gain access to Android's Google Maps software and the Android Web browser, if you've connected the vehicle to the Web via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

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Digital manual

McLaren has also produced the 650S' entire instruction manual digitally within the touchscreen infotainment interface.

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Drive mode controls

Below the infotainment system are the controls for adjusting the vehicle's performance. There are dials for selecting the normal, sport, and track settings for the power train and suspension systems. Buttons adjust the aerodynamics, launch control, winter traction mode, and other functions.

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Transmission controls

Farther down the center stack are the pull lever for the parking brake and the buttons for selecting the transmission mode. There's drive, neutral, and reverse, but no dedicated parking button.

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Instrument cluster

The instrumentation is simple and clear, centered around a large tachometer dial and a digital speedometer. Flanking the center are a pair of small LCDs that display more information.

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Information display

The LCD on the left is configurable to display vehicle information, voice command information, and more.

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Information control

A stalk on the steering column is how drivers interact with the instrument cluster display. There are also stalks for the ride height, the cruise control, and lights and signals.

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Climate controls

You may have noticed that the center stack lacks climate controls. Each door's armrest integrates the buttons and displays for the 650S' dual-zone climate control. It looks very cool and the controls are very easy to use this way.

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Premium audio

The 650S also features a Meridian surround-sound audio system, but you're probably more interested in the tones of the optional Sport Exhaust.

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Ride height adjust

At the touch of a button, the 650S' suspension can be raised, lifting the ride height and allowing the Spider to clear speedbumps and steep driveways.

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Rear end

The rear wing is active, moving up and down to provide the best combination of downforce and aerodynamics. Beneath the wing, this example features the rear camera and park distance sensors.

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Headlamps

The headlamps echo the "swoosh" from the McLaren logo.

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Vertical doors

The Spider's two doors open with a trick vertical hinge, swinging up and out of the way.

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2015 McLaren 650S Coupe

If all works out according to plan, I should find myself behind the wheel of the 2015 650S in just a few weeks, so stay tuned for driving impressions.

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