We first saw the 2015 McLaren 650S at its unveiling at the 2014
Geneva auto show. Later, I got to fiddle with its cabin tech at the 2014
New York auto show. And now, I find myself trackside with the "everyday
supercar" at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
A lightweight aluminum subframe is grafted onto the rear to hold the engine and gearbox and suspension components bolted on at each end. Structurally, the 650S is now complete; there is no difference between the Coupe and the droptop Spider.
If there's a trade-off to mounting the engine deep in the chassis, it's that you can't really admire it beneath the glass as with other supercars. Particularly, the 650S Spider, where you can only see hints of the intake manifold through the small glass hatch. Form over function.
The narrow center console allows the driver and the passenger to be seated closer to the centerline of the vehicle for better weight distribution. Climate controls for each side of the cabin have been located on the door armrest.
The rear spoiler features active aerodynamics, moving up and down to meet the moment's downforce and air-braking needs. The system is more proactive than the MP-12C's aero and will even add downforce when cresting a hill at speed.
McLaren says the the 650S is more hardcore than the MP-12C when its powertrain and suspension are in their "Track" settings. The automaker also says that the supercar is more sedate and easier to live with day to day when in its softest "Normal" settings.