McLaren 650S makes quick start
Strong demand for McLaren's 650S Coupe and 650S Spider has allowed the British supercar maker to cease production of the cars' predecessors, the 12C and 12C Spider.
The 650S keeps the same carbon fiber chassis as the 12C but incorporates many changes designed to improve performance and driver involvement. These include new engine components and active dampers. In styling terms the 650S is closer to the recently launched P1 hypercar, especially up front.
By copying the appearance of the P1 hypercar's nose McLaren has made sure the 650S addresses criticism that its predecessor, the 12C, did not look dramatic enough for a supercar. Approximately 15 percent of the engine parts on the 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 powerplant have been changed, including new cylinder heads and pistons, to deliver 650 hp.
Where will the 650S achieve conquest sales?
The Ferrari 458 may be the most obvious rival, but McLaren says it wins most customers from Porsche, even though there is a big price gap between the two marques. “People who know and understand Porsche can relate to what we do in terms of technology,” McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt said. “We're less of a fashion statement than Ferrari and Lamborghini.”
What comes next?
McLaren will launch a cheaper supercar next year, code-named P13, which the firm expects to boost volumes to 3,500 to 4,000 units by 2016.
The 650S starts at about 237,700 euros, which is nearly 20,000 euros more than the 12C. However, that includes equipment that was previously optional, such as carbon ceramic brake discs and a navigation system.
Base price: 195,250 pounds (UK) for the coupe
Where built: Woking, England
Platform: Carbon-fiber monocell chassis (as on 12C and P1)
Lowest CO2 emissions: 275g/km
Main rivals: Ferrari 458, Porsche 911, Lamborghini Huracan
McLaren aims to build an exclusive brand with good residual values, which is why it intends to cap sales of the 650S. Overall, it expects to sell between 1,400 and 1,500 vehicles of all types this year, much the same as in 2013.
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You can reach Nick Gibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org.