2015 McLaren 650S Spider Review

How to Become an Instant Celebrity.

Win a reality television game show, make a sex tape or create a viral YouTube video. In this wondrous modern age, there are several ways to become instantly famous.

But all of that sounds like too much work, effort and embarrassment. There has to be an easier way to become famous, right? Well, yes there is. But like many problems in life, it involves throwing some cash around. Actually, make that a lot of cash.

For the tidy sum of $282,625, you too can be the owner of a 2015 McLaren 650S Spider, a British born supercar that turns heads everywhere it goes.

It’s Got the Look

To tussle with the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini, a car cannot simply blend into traffic. It needs in-your-face, dramatic styling that screams “Hey look! I’m special!” An example of being too conservative can be found with McLaren’s last supercar, the MP4-12C. Although it had the right wedge shape, some of the other details were kind of bland and boring. It didn’t look special enough.

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With the 650S, McLaren changed all that. The front end uses design cues found on the P1 hypercar, like the signature crescent headlights, and the rear of the 650 features a very distinct tail light treatment. People may not know it’s a McLaren, but they definitely know it’s something extraordinary, even finished in Storm Gray paint like my test car.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Lamborghini Huracan Video Review

It Gets the Attention

2015 McLaren 650S Spider-7If you’re an introvert, don’t buy this car – especially if you live anywhere near a city. Everywhere the 650S goes, a flock of gawkers and amateur photographers follow. Kids with cellphone cameras litter the sidewalks, creating impromptu parades during trips to the grocery store for milk. The most mundane task suddenly becomes an ordeal – especially if it involves any time spent outside of the car. Me? I relish in it, because meeting new people is great. But not everyone appreciates total strangers approaching them with child-like grins on their faces.

As soon as one of the butterfly doors opens, a crowd of people are soon to descend, armed full of a multitude of questions that need answering. “How fast is it?” “What’s the power?” “How much is it?”

The 650S truly is a beacon that even the most disinterested eyes are drawn too. It’s as subtle as taking out an ant hill with a howitzer. And don’t even think about refueling the car when running late – trips to the gas station become mini car meets.

It’s Got the Sound

Supercars are never quiet and the 650S is no exception. With a 3.8-liter turbocharged V8 mounted mid-ship, the 650S is loud from the moment the start button is depressed. If driven like a commuter car, it can actually remain somewhat quiet. But get on the throttle, and the back of the car erupts in a symphony of frantic V8 wails, turbocharger whooshes and exhaust explosions.

2015 McLaren 650S Spider-62015 McLaren 650S Spider-6

The 650S may not be the best-sounding car on the road, but the sheer volume of its racket and addicting turbo blasts make up for it. The rear window can even be lowered with or without the roof up to allow more sound to get into the cabin. Just be warned that hard braking will cause a wave of heat to pour into the car from the engine bay when the window is down.

It’s Got the Power

2015 McLaren 650S Spider-6The 650S Spider unleashes 641 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque to the back wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. McLaren claims the 650S droptop can go from zero to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds, while the sprint to 100 mph happens in 5.8 seconds. These numbers are destined to obliterate competitors at the racetrack, but a lot of these cars never make it to the track and wind up mostly being driven on regular roads and public highways. I’ve driven a lot of high-performance vehicles, but not many feature the insane acceleration and never-ending stream of power pouring from the McLaren. After the slightest of delays, boosts builds and propels the 650S forward with sport bike-like ferocity.

The problem is, I could rarely experience this unadulterated speed or joy. Even if there was some way to come to a complete stop in the middle of the freeway and then launch the car, in just over three seconds, I would be breaking the law. Another two seconds after that, I’m risking losing my license for a long, long time. Now, this didn’t hold me back from having some fun in the car, as I did, and the proof can be found in my observed fuel economy average of 10.4 mpg.

SEE ALSO: 2013 McLaren MP4-12C Review – Video

Still, what’s the point of all this power and performance if it can’t be used on a daily basis? Simply put, as long as you know what the car is capable of and make sure everyone else is aware, it’s almost worth it. Part of owning a supercar is making sure everyone else knows it a supercar. One funny thing I noticed is the number of people who attempt to race the 650S as I’m cruising to work; as if their 8-year-old Nissan Maxima would actually have a chance against this 204 mph rocket.

2015 McLaren 650S Spider-4

It’s Got the Right Moves

Weighing around 3,000 lbs, the McLaren is easy enough to maneuver around town and it’s surprisingly spacious and livable. The transmission is amazingly smooth in full automatic mode and lacks any dual-clutch jerkiness.

Steering response borders on maniacal, as full attention is required on the freeway since the smallest input can send the McLaren in another direction. As well, the far larger rear tires fight with the skinny front tires on highways when stuck in ruts left by trucks that have had their way with the asphalt.

But find a nice smooth, twisting piece of blacktop, and the 650S shows an inclining of what it can do. Suffice to say, in the right hands, the 650S is most likely an automotive atomic bomb on the track.

The Verdict: 2015 McLaren 650S Spider Review

Is this McLaren perfect? No. The infotainment unit feels like an afterthought and the back-up camera is slower to respond than a part-time high school fast food worker. But who cares?

A supercar in the purest sense of the word, the 650S is flashy, loud and fast. Forget America’s got Talent, if you want to be an instant celebrity, just buy one of these cars.

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  • Mark S

    Very cool car, but the 570S would be plenty of car for me. Amazing how this British brand manages to play in the big leagues without an FCA, VAG etc. behind it.