The modern McLaren family of hyper sports cars now grows to include the breathtaking new McLaren 650S that made its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Joining the precision-driving MP4-12C and the crazy hybrid-electric P1, the 650C will sit in the middle of the McLaren lineup in price and performance.
Though the MP4-12C has won over critics and buyers alike with its perfect execution of a balance between modern stability-controlling performance and raw driving thrills, it’s always been a little boring to look at when compared with the best from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Mercedes-Benz. It could be said that the car never quite got a character all its own, rather looking “like a sports car should look.”
Not so with the purposeful new 650S, which borrows some styling cues from the P1, especially in its ground-hugging front end, then applies them to the older MP4-12C’s more-staid design. The overall impression is sleek in the vein of the Audi R8, though doesn’t look too derivative of that masterpiece of design.
The “650” in the car’s name refers to 650 metric horsepower, or 641 horsepower by U.S. measurements. All that thrust comes courtesy of the same 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 found in McLaren’s other roadgoing cars. You won’t find the P1’s electric motor here, but at least the extra power allows for neck-snapping acceleration from 0-60 in less than 3 seconds.
Next month’s Geneva show will bring a simultaneous launch of both coupe and convertible versions of the 650S. While McLaren will reportedly sell the MP4-12C alongside the new 650S, at least at first, though most buyers will probably opt for the latter thanks to its chassis enhancements, extra power and more-striking design.
Pricing is expected to start at just shy of $300,000 when the 650S goes on sale by the end of 2014, though it may be on sale in time for Summer if McLaren can get hustling.