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Trackside with the 2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Hangout trackside with McLaren's gorgeous "everyday supercar," the 641-horsepower 650S Coupe and Spider.

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Antuan Goodwin
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1 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

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.

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2 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Though based on the MP-12C's platform, the 2015 650S features a host of performance and amenity upgrades to make it both more track- and street-worthy.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Let's start beneath the skin. Like the MP-12C, the 650S is starts with a carbon-fiber monocoque tub that encases the driver and a single passenger.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

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.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

The 650S' construction keeps the weight close to the ground. Even the engine is mounted so low in the chassis that the exhaust must be routed up and over the rear suspension.

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6 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

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.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

The front end has been redesigned, echoing the fascia of the P1 hypercar. Interestingly, the shape of the 650S' headlamps mirror the red "swoosh" of the McLaren logo.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

With the engine mounted rear-amidships, the space ahead of the carbon fiber driver tub is dedicated to storage space and the crash crumple zone.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

The cabin features a narrow floating center console that puts all of the controls within easy reach for the driver.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

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.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

The approximately 7-inch center touchscreen uses a portrait orientation. Though it's based on the Android mobile OS, the bespoke software uses a simplified interface.

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12 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Being based on Android means that the various functions are technically apps. Fortunately, everything loaded quickly and the system seemed stable during my limited testing.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Navigation features on-board maps. I found that the portrait orientation works well for navigation.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Simplified white and orange on black graphics are easy enough to read and understand at a glance.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

When I say all of the functions are apps, I mean all of them. Even the rear camera is an app that's automatically launched when putting the 650S into reverse.

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16 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Drivers can also manually call up the rear view camera at any time via the 650S' app menu, even while driving froward.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Audio is piped through a Meridian premium surround system.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

It has the WiFis. Tethering the 650S to your smartphone via WiFi or Bluetooth allows it to connect to the internet. We're told that McLaren will also eventually allow the driver to install car apps.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

We're told that McLaren's dihedral doors add both visual drama and allow a bit of extra leg clearance when swinging your feet over the wide doorsills.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

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.

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21 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

The 650S features an adaptive suspension with three different settings: Normal, Sport, and Track. Tied into those modes are settings for the traction control and steering systems.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

The exhaust tips exit the chassis high in the rear valance, between the tail lights.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

The 650S features a unique front spoiler that has been aerodynamically matched to the revised active aero program out back. The new chin spoiler adds even more downforce than the MP-12C.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Carbon ceramic brakes are now standard. These massive stoppers shave off speed like hitting a brick wall.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Rear-mid engine mounting means that the front end doesn't need massive intakes or ventilation.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Large side intakes provide breathing air for the 641 horsepower, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine and the massive radiators that cool them.

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27 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

500 pound-feet of torque flow through the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission on the way to the rear wheels. The top speed is up to 207 mph.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Even the wing mirror stalks have been aerodynamically shaped.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

A single, massive wiper cover the entire windshield. Fun fact: the 650S's windshield is longer from cowl to roof than it is wide.

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30 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

I wouldn't advise driving it like this. No, it won't take off; it's just unsafe.

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2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

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.

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32 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Okay, that's enough tech for now. Let's just enjoy the pretty pictures of this gorgeous supercar.

2015-mclaren-650s-33.jpg
33 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Okay, that's enough tech for now. Let's just enjoy the pretty pictures of this gorgeous supercar.

2015-mclaren-650s-34.jpg
34 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Okay, that's enough tech for now. Let's just enjoy the pretty pictures of this gorgeous supercar.

2015-mclaren-650s-19.jpg
35 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Okay, that's enough tech for now. Let's just enjoy the pretty pictures of this gorgeous supercar.

2015-mclaren-650s-40.jpg
36 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Okay, that's enough tech for now. Let's just enjoy the pretty pictures of this gorgeous supercar.

2015-mclaren-650s-41.jpg
37 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Okay, that's enough tech for now. Let's just enjoy the pretty pictures of this gorgeous supercar.

2015-mclaren-650s-42.jpg
38 of 38 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 McLaren 650S (pictures)

Okay, that's enough tech for now. Let's just enjoy the pretty pictures of this gorgeous supercar.

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