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Eye-catching McLaren 650S Spider uses race-bred tech (pictures)

The McLaren 650S takes advantage of carbon fiber and race-level drivetrain technology, yet still proves very manageable on the road.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 22 Josh Miller/CNET

McLaren's latest sports car, the 650S, builds on its previous MP4-12C and P1 models.

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The 650S is designed to be extraordinarily capable on the track but comfortable on public roads.

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McLaren incorporates its logo styling into the headlight apertures.

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With its retractable hard top, the 650S Spider becomes a roadster in 17 seconds.

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The 650S is formatted as a midengine, rear-wheel-drive car.

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Doors open up and out, but you will likely hit your head more than once.

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Side air intakes help feed the two large turbos.

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McLaren fits the 650S with an adaptive suspension, adding comfort and cornering capability.

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The rear of the car has an active air brake, which deploys when braking from speeds over 60 mph.

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The engine isn't accessible for owners.

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The exhaust ports sit high in the rear.

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Even with 641 horsepower, the 650S is remarkably manageable on the roads.

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The cockpit has room for just two people and their mobile phones.

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The only storage area is behind the console.

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A big tachometer dominates the instrument cluster, and shows a helpful digital speed display.

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Paddle shifters on the steering wheel are necessary for manual gear selection.

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The 650S comes with a seven-speed automated manual gearbox.

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Climate controls are integrated with the door handles on either side.

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The Iris infotainment system, built on the Android OS, comes standard.

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The navigation system offers guidance and live traffic, but had trouble keeping track of the car.

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McLaren includes a limited set of apps,  but the driver must bring in the data connection as a USB dongle or tethered smartphone.

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The audio source menu automatically shows devices plugged into the car's USB port.

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