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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
1
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
2
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
3
of 21

Monochromatic

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

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
4
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
5
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
6
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
7
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
8
of 21

Digital manual

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

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
9
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
10
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
11
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
12
of 21

Information display

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

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
13
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
14
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
15
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
16
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
17
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
18
of 21

Headlamps

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

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
19
of 21

Vertical doors

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

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
20
of 21

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Antuan Goodwin/CNET
21
of 21
Up Next

2019 Toyota RAV4 SUV debuts in NY with trick AWD, fresh tech