McLaren 650S Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Car Review

McLaren 650S review

Published: 13 Jan 2015


What is it like to drive?

Choose a middle gear, settle into middle revs, and prepare to be flabbergasted. Floor the throttle and the McLaren’s newfound surge is stupefying, a mountain of mid-range turbo’d torque that blends into a cascade of glass-sharp power searing towards 8500rpm. This is performance at a level well beyond any V8 Ferrari or V10 Lambo. And McLaren’s engine now lacks little in progressive throttle response or aggressive sounds.

But impressive as it is, the engine isn’t the best bit. The chassis is. The steering reveals more feel than ever, and the roll-control system is responsible for stunning responsiveness and balance through slow corners or fast. You can tune various powertrain and chassis parameters via dash knobs, and they usefully alter the car’s character to suit the road (or track). Bumps and corrugations don’t slow you down. The stability control and brake-steer setups have a steely resolution to clamp the car rigidly to the path you’ve steered. 

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Switch to the Track mode and body control is even tighter, and the tail swishes around under power, even (a little) under lift. It’s the thing only the greatest supercars can do: working with you, dancing around the edges of grip.

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