2015 McLaren 650S – Exotic Redefined

Posted by: Bernard Winkelmann onJune 24th, 2015

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The go pedal is a beautiful piece of machined aluminium. It is the connection between your foot and the heart of the 650S. Power delivery is very interesting. Forgive me in advance as I am going to get a little technical here.

A typical high horsepower turbo car will usually have some lag and then an immediate bang of power that rushes the engine to redline as you tip in the throttle. The power usually starts to level out and even drop off the closer you get to that redline. Through the magic of torque management, McLaren seems to remove the lag and gives you what feels like an exponential power curve. The initial bite doesn’t hint at any lag and then the power builds furiously the higher you go through the power curve. There is no big bang and drop off. It makes for a very predictable power delivery that doesn’t have you slamming on the brakes because you didn’t expect the car to lunge when the turbos finally spool.

The 650S is one of the few cars with a Dual Clutch gear box that makes 500 lbft of torque that doesn’t cost 7 figures. Now this is just a guess, but I think they do this by not giving you full power in the lower gears. Engine mapping is done on a gear by gear basis. This saves the transmission from exploding, which is a good thing. Also, it feels to me that they have refined the gear changes. In Track mode, I was expecting the shifts to hit hard. They didn’t. Shift were fast as expected from a DCT, but no harshness. This was also probably done to save the transmission. McLaren has done the sensible thing by using computers to manage the torque. It’s like getting a cake and eating it too.

All this programming is evident when driving at slow speeds through play ground zones and past police stations. The car is as smooth as any other car out there. The Auto mode in the transmission knows what gear to be in and clutch take up is super smooth.

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