The McLaren 650S is a step closer to perfectionWhen the MP4-12C came out, many thought it was a little soulless compared to the rival cars from Ferrari. With the 650S however, McLaren has tried to answer its critics.
[MUSIC] Bruce McLaren died trying to go faster. Faster than he had ever been before, faster. Than the other team. He had that racer's mindset that meant he wasn't happy unless he was in the lead. It's a mindset that carried on with his company, McLaren, and it's why the 650S exists. The 12C, or to use its original name the McLaren MP4-12C, was McLaren's first go at a sensible road car. The F1 of course was it's first proper go for the road plus it was a little mad. Anyway, the 12C was lorded as being a brilliant car even by me, but many said it felt a little soulless. A touch floored and a bit wanting. Mclaren was on it's way to making something golden but, It needed a bit more and that what it reckons the six fifty S is. Here's a vital statistic the six fifty S is three point eight liter twin turbo V eight pushes out six hundred and forty one break horse power or six hundred fifty PX if you live in Europe. It also manages five hundred. Pounds versus torque. Now that's a bit of a way off of the 12C. That managed 616 brake horsepower and 413 pounds foot. Speaking of the 12C, it wasn't a slow car. Note the 62 took 3.1 seconds [NOISE] His top speed is 207 miles per hour. In comparison the 650s will hit 62 in 3 seconds dead and its top speed is also 207 miles an hour. But, this isn't really all about top speed because the boys from [INAUDIBLE]. Looking to be fiddling far more than you'll ever know. Yes, there's the look of it which borrows from the P one hyper car a fair bit, but there's also using dampers similar to those found on said P one so there's that. The suspension has been fiddled with as has the steering to make the six fifty S a little sharper, a little harder and more soulful. And the car that came before. My car's taken a Silicon Valley approach in the six feet Fifty S. There were things about the twelve C that needed fixing or upgrading or just found a little bit wanting. It could be adjusted to make a better car but they couldn't be fixed with mere software, no, they needed proper hardware engineering. And so that's exactly what Mclaren. McLaren's done. It's how the car world works, but I feel with McLaren there's a bit more to it. There's the impression that the next big thing, the next fix, is waiting in the wings. There won't be such a thing as the perfect car. And I like that. The brazen ability to look back and go, no! It can be better. And that's something old Bruce lived by, now at McLaren's UK HQ there's this thing called the boulevard and along it are important race winning McLaren's from year's gone by and at the top of it there's a little red Austin seven. That car was bought from Bruce by his motor cycle champ dad. So his son could go hill climbing, unsurprisingly Bruce was very, very talented. So to get a competitive edge on the hill he started fiddling with his Austin 7 doing things like tripping the suspension for an extra couple of tempers. As he got better his motor sport career well took off, it's well documented. He was an exacting man. He had very high standards. And one day, he was out testing one of his new cars, and he was quite irked to see that the fuel filler cap hadn't been replaced by his pit crew. It was flapping about in the wind. Now, initially, he was quite annoyed by this It's a Mad Max take it well. If I drive really quickly, the wind will go over the car and push it down. So we went quicker but the wind didn't push the cap down. All it did was make it waggle more, it was just flapping all over the place and this when Bruce learned all about aero dynamics. Dynamics. He figured there was another air flow underneath the flap and that's what was causing all the, you know, flappiness. When he got back to the pit, he leapt out of the car, took some shears to it and made his own aerodynamic adjustments. And then instantly started putting in better lap time. I like to think there was a similar eureka moment when the 650-S became a thing. Someone went but if we do this, and lo, MClaren decided it was better. Now to put the car in context the twelve C was an incredible bit of kit. It wasn't showy or flashy, though, it didn't scream money as say a Ferrari does. [MUSIC] It was the start of a long journey for Mclaren. The P1 was a massive leap, so the 650S should be leagues above. The 12c was a stunning car. It was brilliant. I enjoyed It was everything I'd hoped it would be. Yes, people didn't think it was as good as a Ferrari, or what have you. And maybe it was lacking in a few areas. Now, I've heard that the 650S Is what it could have been if it was left simmering for a little longer. That's what's been said about it and I'm inclined to agree because what's McLaren done is it's given it more feeling. It is a once more with feeling kind of car, the steering's been adjusted and the dampers are those fairly similar inspired by The P1 project. The front end, yes it does add the look for the P1, yes, that's now a family face, but McLaren being McLaren, it's not just there to be pretty, it's functional, the carbon fiber bits and all the grooves and what have you That's fair to add down force to the car, this now has way more front end grip than the twelve C did, not that the twelve C needed more grip because it handled unbelievably well. But this now means that it'll grow round corners quicker than your eyes can possibly imagine. You may have noticed down the side of the car there's Two carbon fiber sills. Those aren't there just to put the 650 S badge on. No, those help guide air down the side of the car to make it extra slippery. The spoiler's been fiddled with as well. Now it's already awesome because well it's a spoiler that goes up and down. You can use it as an air brake, so when you're really tonking it And then slam on the anchors. It'll raise up completely it'll go pretty much vertical from where I've been sitting. Only down side to that is when that does happen it completely covers the rear windows. So you can't actually see out the back so if someone is quite close to you. Brake quite hard, by the time the spoiler goes down they might be a closer than you'd imagine. It's a thinking car, it thinks for you, it works for you, to flatter you to make sure you can get the best out of it at any given moment. Twin that with McLaren's amazing ride- one of the best things about the 12 C was it's eerily serene ride. [NOISE] And you could easily I recon just thimble around in one of these day to day. It shouldn't be much of an issue. Currently it's been tuned to be a little bit closer to track cause in the 12 C it didn't offer quite as much super car seatedness as some of us would have liked. I was Let's talk about the way this car delivers its power. Press the active button, press manual, and then the car goes into your control. So I now have control of the gears. The gearbox is super sharp, super quick. Put it in third, find a straight bit. Jesus Christ, [LAUGH] Good Lord, this thing is fast. Mclaren doesn't do ceiling, it doesn't do big, shiny, flashy, and [UNKNOWN]. It doesn't do, it doesn't do it the Italian, the Ferrari thing it's all, everything is very beautiful, it feels very lovely. It's all done, because on the Ferrari we have all this great emotion, great passion, and all that. And I'm not saying the Clarion doesn't have passion, doesn't have emotion, far from it. But it derives its passion, its emotion not from artistic flair and artisanal wonderfulness. It derives it from being the best engine Car out from going quicker than the other guy. This is a function car, it's not a form over function. The function dictates the form and it happens to be that the form is bloody pretty. There is nothing on this car that doesn't need to be here and the interior reflects This car would appeal to a very certain type of person and I would bet any money that it's probably engineers. Engineers absolutely love these things. One is always going to be incrementally faster than the other. One is always going to have fans that the other doesn't have. There's always going to be storm supporters. What [UNKNOWN] is that there's that little race going on. The Ferrari Three is pushing the McLaren and the McLaren is pushing Ferrari. The, each one ups the game just a little further each time. So they can say, but we're faster than the other guy because what that means the end product will please everybody. I'm not sure what anyone's expecting other than brilliance from a company like McLaren but still. The 650S isn't the only way you can get your Mclaren road car kicks. If you're one of the lucky few who has the keys to a P1 then good for you. Or there's the 675 long-tail which has 666 brake horse power and a slightly longer spoiler then the 650S or the 911 fighting sport series might be the one for you And all of them, without a doubt, a brilliant two. McClarren, just like Bruce, simply wants to be faster, be better than the other guys. Unlike Bruce though, he's unlikely to die trying. Bruce McClarren himself had this to say on that very topic To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one's ability, for I feel that life is achievement, not in years alone. And you can hardly say that Bruce McLaren or McLaren itself Has hardly achieved anything, can you. [MUSIC]