Set to be offered in both Coupe and Spider guise, the new McLaren 650S is, as its name suggests, a 650hp supercar that sits between the 12C and P1.
S, says McLaren, stands for, you guessed it, Sport: “underlining the focus and developments made to handling, transmission, drivability and engagement”.
Although it’s derived from the 12C, the 650S gets a new P1-inspired front end, complete with full LED headlights. A new bumper incorporates an improved front splitter whose additional downforce improves turn-in steering feel.
The blades behind the doors are unique, as is the GT3-inspired three-piece rear bumper and, although the shape is just as slippery through the air as the 12C, the 650S actually generates 24% more downforce.
There are special 650S five-spoke forged alloys; not only that, Pirelli has also developed a special P Zero Corsa tyre, branded ‘MC1’, for the 650S.
Other improvements over the 12C include a rear Airbrake that pops up whenever the car reckons more downforce would be advantageous – on the 12C, it only rises under braking.
The ProActive Chassis Control also allows ride and handling to be adjusted independently of the drivetrain. The Normal/Sport/Track settings for both chassis and drivetrain have also been recalibrated.
“The updates are especially noticeable in Sport mode,” says McLaren.
The firm stresses the 650S does not replace the 12C, but instead shows what a fast moving company it is. “Everything we’ve learnt from the 12C and the McLaren P1 has gone into the design and development of the McLaren 650S,” says McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt.
We’ll find out more when the 650S Coupe is revealed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show on 4 March. For now, let us know what you think – and also, what you think it’ll cost, given how a base 12C retails at £168,500…