It might cost the same as a flat in Woking, but the McLaren 650S Coupe is certainly a lot more fun
British supercar-maker McLaren will lead the UK charge at next week’s Geneva Motor Show with its new 200mph stunner.
The McLaren 650S Coupe and open-topped Spider, with an electrically-retractable hardtop, make their global debuts on Tuesday at the extravaganza, which marks the launch of the car world’s spring collection.
The first of the 650S Coupes rolled off the line at the company’s high-tech factory in Woking, Surrey, this week — just in time for the new ’14’ plate change.
It costs £195,250 on the road — which could buy you a flat in the Woking area, but is arguably a lot more fun. The wind-in-the hair 650S Spider starts at £215,250.
Speed demon: The new McLaren 650S
And it’s no slouch, accelerating from rest to 62mph in just three seconds and powering on to 124mph — where legally permitted, such as test tracks and German de-restricted autobahns — in just 8.4 seconds. It’ll hit 186mph in 25.4 seconds.
Top speed is 207mph — nearly three times the legal UK motorway speed limit — and it will cover a standing quarter mile (400m) in a mere 10.5 seconds, or just long enough to lose your licence.
This performance puts the latest model a full second quicker than the iconic McLaren F1 road car to 124mph, and 0.6 sec faster over the standing quarter mile.
It’s also half a second quicker than the McLaren 12C, which continues in production, as well as being remarkably frugal for its amazing performance, averaging 24.2mpg. The design is inspired by the McLaren P1 — costing a mere £866,000 but now sold out — and continues the similar family ‘face’. So, at a quarter of the price, you could say it’s the poor millionaire’s P1.
Despite its performance, the 650S boasts a high level of luxury including fixed-back carbon racing seats, satnav, a rear parking camera and luxury Alcantara trim throughout the interior.
There’s also Bluetooth telephony, DAB digital radio and voice control as standard.
McLaren Automotive’s chief executive officer, Mike Flewitt, said: ‘The McLaren 650S represents 50 years of road and racing car know-how. Everything we’ve learnt from the 12C and the McLaren P1 has gone into this car, creating a car with the widest breadth of capabilities of any production supercar.
‘It’s also a new benchmark in pure driving excitement.’
Fear not. Rolls-Royce hasn’t given up the ghost. In fact at Geneva it will unveil the second generation of the Ghost, the smaller ‘baby’ luxury limousine for exclusive owners who prefer to drive themselves rather than being ferried around by their chauffeurs.
Rival Bentley, meanwhile, will launch a new range of luxury options and specification updates to its Continental family of luxury grand tourers, including its Continental GT Speed.
The new Flying Spur widens its appeal by receiving Bentley’s ‘powerful yet efficient’ four-litre twin turbo V8 engine.
At the more modest end of the spectrum, Nissan will unveil its funky new Juke. And Ford will be taking the wraps off its facelifted Focus which has had a bit of a nip-and-tuck on its bonnet and front bumper.
Geneva might not be the biggest motor show in the world, but it’s arguably the most prestigious — and certainly so in Europe — because it takes place on neutral Swiss territory and keeps the mighty Germans and effervescent French egos in check.
There are, for example, very strict rules on stand size.
As a result, the entire show could probably fit into the space occupied by just one of the major car-makers — BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Volkswagen Group — at the Frankfurt show.
But my, don’t the Swiss milk it? The city’s hotels ramp up their prices astronomically for the duration, insisting that visitors book a minimum of three nights — regardless of whether they stay that long.
Mini’s new Clubman is to get six conventional doors — two on each side as well as the rear pair of ‘barn doors’. Hurrah!
But why the celebration? It seems that for the first-generation Clubman (of the modern era), Mini’s parent company BMW decided two doors — one each side — wasn’t enough. But it couldn’t quite fit in four.
So it devised what it called a ‘clubdoor’, essentially a half-door that opens only on one side, to let rear passengers slide in and out.
So what’s the problem? Well, the Mini may be a British brand, built in Oxford, but its designers are in Munich and they put that half-door on the right-hand side.
Mini’s new Clubman is much more practical
Stunning interiors make driving in the Clubman a pleasure
That’s all very well for Europeans and Americans who drive on the right and whose passengers could step out safely out on to the pavement. But no fun for us poor Britons and others who drive on the left, such as in India and Japan, who would have to disembark into the flow of traffic.
No more. The new version, on show at Geneva, is bigger but sleeker than the present and should be available next year from around £15,000.
The third generation of Audi’s TT coupe will also be unveiled in Switzerland — and it is certain to be a far cry from the original minimalist, Bauhaus-inspired bullet that stunned the world.
The designer of that artwork — Peter Schreyer — went off to work his magic for Korean car-maker Kia, whose line-up he has transformed.
Expect the new TT to arrive in showrooms this side of the Channel later this year, priced from £25,000.